Tropical grasslands, also known as savannas, are found in hot parts of the world with dry and rainy seasons. Unlike many plants, grass can survive periods of drought by becoming dormant.
During the dry season, the grass looks dry, parched and lifeless. When the rains come, though, the grass springs to life, becoming lush and green.
Savannas are found in Africa, South America, India, and Australia. They lie between the subtropical deserts and the tropical rainforests of these countries. Savannas are home to many grazing animals, such as wildebeests, antelopes, gazelles, and zebras. Many large predators live and hunt here, as well, including cheetahs, wild dogs, lions, leopards, and hyenas.
The savanna is a crucial part of the world’s grassland ecosystems, characterized by vast expanses of grasses interspersed with scattered trees and shrubs. This biome strikes a delicate balance between the forest and desert, acting as an ecological bridge between the two. Unlike denser forests, the savanna’s sparse tree growth allows for a significant amount of sunlight, nurturing the growth of various grass species.
These grasses, in turn, support a plethora of herbivorous wildlife such as zebras, elephants, and antelopes, who migrate across the savanna in search of fresh pastures. Predators like lions and cheetahs, meanwhile, take advantage of the expansive, open spaces for hunting. Despite the challenges posed by alternating wet and dry seasons, savannas maintain an impressive biodiversity, contributing significantly to the health and diversity of global grassland ecosystems.
The savanna is home to many types of animals. African Elephants, lions, and zebras live here. These animals move across the savanna looking for food and water. This movement is called migration. Some animals, like lions, eat the migrating animals. There are also many types of birds in the savanna. All these animals together make the savanna a very important place for wildlife in Africa.
Fire ecology plays a vital role in the life cycle of savannas. Fires in these grassland ecosystems, often ignited by lightning or human activity, serve to maintain the balance between grasses and trees. They stop too many trees from growing and help grasses grow. Some plants need fire to grow. After a fire, new plants grow that animals like to eat. Even though fires can be harmful, they are good for savannas in the long run.
Desertification is a problem for savannas. Things like overgrazing and climate change can cause it. It hurts the balance between grasses and trees and makes the soil poor. This makes it hard for animals to live there. Desertification also hurts people who live off the savanna.
The savanna is a special kind of biome with trees and grass. It is between forests and deserts and near the equator. It has a wet season and a dry season. There are many different kinds of plants and species of animals in savannas. Keeping savannas healthy is important for life on Earth.
Many animals move around the savanna to find food and water. This is called migration. Wildebeests and zebras do this a lot. They move to wet areas when it’s dry and to green areas when it rains. Predators like lions follow these animals. Migration is important for life in the savanna.
Savannas are full of different kinds of life. There are many animals, like elephants and lions. There are also many plants, like grasses and trees. The wet and dry seasons help different kinds of life to grow. Because of all these different kinds of life, savannas are important for the world’s environment.
Animals and plants in savannas have special features to live there. Elephants and giraffes have long trunks and necks to reach food. Some plants can reach deep water with their roots. Many animals move to find food and water. Some plants can survive fires. These special features help life in savannas keep going.
- Grazing animals, including wildebeests, migrate in search of green grass.
- The weather in the Savanna is hot year-round. Fires are common during the dry season.
- Only a few drought-resistant trees grow here, including eucalyptus, acacia, and the baobab tree, which soaks up and stores water in its spongy trunk.
- During a wildfire, birds and large animals run to safety, while small burrowing mammals dig deep into the Earth. Instead of fleeing, the fork-tailed drongo birds fly toward the fire, catching insects attempting to escape the flames.
- Savannas make up half of Africa and much of South America, India, and Australia.
- Drought: a period of little or no rainfall
- Dormant: to become inactive
- Parched: dried out, withered
- Lush: thick, healthy
Visit the University of California Santa Barbara to learn more about tropical grasslands.
Question: Do the animals in the savannas help each other?
Answer: As in all biomes, some animals are producers and some consumers. All help each other. Grazing animals eat the grasses and predators feed on the grazers. Dung beetles eat the poop left behind by both grazers and predators. They also bury some of the poop in the ground. This poop helps keep the soil fertile so more grass can grow.