Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Sherri. Sherri Wonders, “What is the difference between a rainforest and a jungle?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Sherri!
Do you have vivid dreams at night? We love dreams—they can take us anywhere in the world while we sleep. One night, we could dive to the depths of the ocean. The next, we might walk the Great Wall of China. We could even end up in the largest jungle in the world!
Most people have never been in a real jungle. But we know all about them from books we’ve read and movies we’ve seen. They tend to form in tropical areas, especially near the equator. Most can be found in Central America, northern South America, western Africa, and Southeast Asia. Jungles are very specific types of dense forests that are part of the tropical rainforest ecosystem.
What’s the difference between jungles and tropical rainforests? True rainforests have a thick tree canopy. It blocks most sunlight from reaching the ground. As a result, there are few trees and little undergrowth at ground level in a rainforest. It’s much easier to walk through a rainforest than a jungle.
In contrast, the tree canopy in a jungle is much thinner. It allows plenty of light to reach the ground. These areas also experience warm temperatures and plenty of rainfall.This allows vines, grasses, flowers, shrubs, and mosses to thrive on the jungle floor. Often, you’ll find jungle areas within rainforests. They’re common along the edges of rivers or in areas where trees have fallen.
Jungles are home to a huge variety of life. They contain more species of plants, insects, and animals per acre than anywhere else on Earth. In fact, jungles are home to more than half the plant and animal species on the planet.
What kind of animals call jungles home? You’ll find snakes, monkeys, baboons, chimpanzees, and macaws in this habitat. There are also parrots, crocodiles, and big cats.
Would you like to visit the world’s largest jungle? If so, you’ll need to head to South America. The jungle areas of the Amazon rainforest are some of the wildest, densest on Earth. They’re also home to the greatest variety of plant and animal species found anywhere!
Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2