Rainforest Food Chain Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Elizabeth Foster

Elizabeth has been involved with tutoring since high school and has a B.A. in Classics.

Food chains show how animals and plants rely on each other for food. In this lesson, you'll learn how plants and animals in the rainforest are connected in food chains.

Do you know any rainforest plants and animals? Maybe you can name trees, macaws, poisonous frogs, or big cats, like jaguars. But these aren't the only animals that live in the rainforest.

The poison dart frog is one rainforest animal
Poison dart frog

In this lesson, you'll learn about the different plants and animals in rainforests and how they're connected in food chains.

Food Chains

Think about an actual chain. If you're wearing a necklace or a bracelet with a chain, look at it. A chain is made of many links. A food chain is a series of links just like a real chain. But in a food chain, each part of the chain is a plant or an animal, not a piece of metal. Imagine a food chain as a chain that stretches up and down. Each plant or animal in the food chain eats the one below it and is eaten by the one above it.

The very bottom of the food chain is the soil. The soil contains important nutrients that plants need to grow.

Moving up to the next level, there are plants that grow in the soil. Many types of flowers and trees grow in the rainforest.

The next level on top of that has animals that eat the plants, like bugs and small birds. For example, Choresine beetles eat the plants on the rainforest floor.

Even higher up on the food chain are bigger animals that eat the smaller animals. A food chain may have many different animals that eat other animals. For example, poison dart frogs eat Choresine beetles.

The top of the food chain is the animal that nothing else eats. In this food chain, the snakes are at the top. Snakes eat the frogs. When the snakes die, their bodies rot and turn back into dirt. This links the end of the chain back to the beginning.

A rainforest food chain, from bottom to top
Rainforest food chain

Another Rainforest Food Chain

The first example had 5 levels: dirt, plants, beetles, frogs, and snakes. Here's another example of a different food chain. This food chain is a little longer.

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