THIS PLACE IS HOT, HOT, HOT!
In this tropical rain forest habitat, weeks of heavy rain are punctuated with short but intense dry seasons. The temperature hovers around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit most of the year, often with 90% humidity.
Rivers, marshes, swamps, and wetlands are a vital part of West Africa, mixing in with dense lowland forests that merge into mangroves along the coast. It’s a rich haven for wildlife, especially amphibians, reptiles, and water-loving mammals.
FOREST FOR THE TREES
The forests of West Africa are among the most diverse places on Earth. The warm and humid climate is perfect for the luxuriant forest vegetation that grows there, including tree and plant species that are unique to this area.
countries that contain sections of West African forest
inches of rain per year
plant and animal species native to the area
WEST AFRICAN DWARF CROCODILE
At five feet in length, this is one of the smallest crocodile species. The rain forest, dense swamps, and slow-moving rivers of West Africa provide this petite croc with the perfect habitat, as it forages at night and feeds mostly on small animals like crabs, snails, frogs, and fish.
As with other crocodile species, female West African dwarf crocodiles are attentive mothers. After mating, a female lays her eggs in a mound of leaf litter, where the consistent temperature allows them to incubate. She guards her nest and watches over her hatchlings when they emerge.
CROCS IN THE TREES
This dwarf croc is surprisingly agile, and excellent at making use of camouflage. During the day, it hides in the water, but if the sun shines, it slides up onto a log to bask. Most amazing is that this croc has been seen hanging out in the lower branches of trees!
ON THE NOSE
How can you tell a crocodile from an alligator? Crocodiles have a more pointed snout, which is shaped like a "V," while alligators have a rounded snout, shaped like a "U."
FLOATING FIG TREE
Like other figs—Ficus species—the floating fig tree Ficus cyathistipula bears fruit several times a year and provides a ready supply of food for a wide variety of animals. The tree relies on something else for its own survival: the tiny fig wasp, which is its only pollinator.