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Underwater gardeners: Pacu

Pacu fish are one of the main distributors of tropical seed in South America. They have powerful jaws and strong teeth that can crack open hard rainforest nuts and take them to new locations. This process is crucial to rainforest survival through diversity and regeneration.

Gentle parents: African dwarf crocodile

Despite a fearsome repetition as dangerous animals, crocodiles make gentle parents. They construct river-side nest using decaying plant material that generates heat as it decomposes, just like a compost heap at home.

Shell Shock: South Asian Box Turtle

Thousands of south Asian box turtles are hunted every year in Southern Asia to meet huge demand for food and the international pet trade, as well as for prized ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine. The wild population now risks extinction, worsened by their slow reproduction that cannot replace those being taken fast enough.

Monkey medicine: Giant African millipede

Monkeys use these extraordinary millipedes as a natural remedy to repel pests living in their skin. Monkeys roll and bite captured millipedes to release defensive toxins. These toxins usually deter predators by their smell and taste, but not monkeys, which rub the millipedes over their bodies to spread the natural insecticide.

Disappearing ducks: Madagascar teal

There are only 1,500 Madagascar teal living in the wild. They look similar to a female Mallard found in the UK (Anas platyrhynchos), but are instead threatened with extinction. They were once one of the island’s most common inhabitants.

Canopy feeders: Turaco

These remarkable birds live in African trees eating forest fruit. They are well adapted to canopy life with long tails for balance and a special fourth toe that rotates to help them cling to branches.

Family tales: Goeldi’s monkeys

Goeldi’s monkeys live in family groups of six to eight in South American rainforests. The parents and siblings keep close, rarely moving more than 15m apart (45’). Goeldi’s use a range of scents and almost 50 high-pitched calls to stay in touch and alert one another to food and predators.

The giant millipede

In the wild, people have observed animals using natural substances in order to make themselves feel better.

Poison jewels: the dart frogs

These South American frogs are brightly coloured and highly poisonous. The colour alone deters many predators, but when threatened, these frogs also release deadly poisons through their skin.

Dwarf crocodiles

Since the age of the dinosaurs, crocodiles have been around and are more fascinating than most people give them credit for.

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