A Quick Guide to Animal Habitats
There are literally millions of species of animals in the world and this makes for extremely diverse animal habitats. Animals can be found just about anywhere--habitats include mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, wetlands, ponds, arctic regions, deserts, forests, woodlands, valleys, grasslands, prairies, tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, and more.
Let’s take a look at a few of these habitats:
Arctic seas and tundra make animal habitats for creatures as tiny as krill (a type of shrimp) to the largest of whales. The Arctic is blessed with the presence of all types of fish, water birds (including penguins), seals and whales. Ducks and geese migrate to Antarctica in huge numbers. The largest land animal is the caribou (reindeer) but you can find foxes, weasels, and other mammals feeding off of the tundra. Bears are also present--both brown bears and the beautiful, white polar bears, who hunt for seals. The Arctic is really a beautiful environment where you will find an abundance of animals.
Because coniferous forests are found in areas with very cold winters, you won’t find as many creatures living there as in other animal habitats. Many animals who summer in the Arctic region move south to spend the winter in coniferous forests. These forests are full of cone-bearing trees, and many animals, such as deer or moose, feed on the tree bark and bushes which grow in the forest. You can see often see their marks and missing bark if you are observant when you walk through the woods.
Other animals you will find in coniferous forest habitat are wolverines, foxes, wolves, bears and lynxes. Hares grow thick winter coats and some even change their coloring to white so they can blend in with the snow. Voles and other small animals live underground, while others, like bears, hibernate all winter. Birds, such as woodpeckers, grouse, hawks, owls or crossbills make their habitat in the coniferous forest year-round. So do tiny birds such as chickadees.
Animal habitats also consist of temperate forests. These types of forests can be Mediterranean, with scrub-like vegetation, or they can consist of rainforests, or deciduous forests. These animal habitats are quite varied with the Mediterranean having many wildflowers to attract birds. This land has often been over-grazed by sheep and goat farmers. It is found across Europe. Temperate rainforests dominate the animal habitat of the Pacific Northwest, while deciduous forests provide animal shelter and food throughout the East Coast of the United States.
The largest grassland animal habitats are in Africa, where grass provides living conditions for buffalos, antelopes, zebras, and other plant-eaters. Grasslanders need to be very fast runners or very cunning to elude predators. Birds are abundant in grasslands, and you will find habitat for such unusual birds as the ostrich, who does not fly. There are both temperate and tropical grasslands.
Tropical grasslands are known as savannahs and host a variety of animals, including buffalo, giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, leopards, lions, gazelles, elephants, and many other popular species. It might surprise you to know that termites are one of the most plentiful animals in tropical grasslands.
It takes very unusual animals who are adaptable to live in the hot and dry dessert. Lizards can survive even the hottest days and at night other animals such as kangaroo rats and grasshopper mice appear. These animals have adapted to the rough life of such deserts as those in the Southwestern United States. Most animals which live in the desert do not need to drink very much water. They often can obtain what they need from plants or prey.
No matter where you live in the world, you will find some kind of animal habitats. Mammals, reptiles, birds and insects exist everywhere. Explore your backyard or local parks to identify habitat nearby.