Grasslands

(savanna)

Location of Tropical Grasslands

Tropical grasslands are located near the equator. They cover much of Africa as well as large areas of Australia, South America, and India.

Organism Adaptations

Animals that live in the savannas are wildebeest, warthogs, elephants, zebras, rhinos, gazelles, hyenas, cheetahs,lions, leopards, ostrich, mouse birds, starlings, and weavers.

Behavioral Adaptations

Speed: Predators and prey are able to reach very fast speeds because of the animals around them that could potentially kill them for food. For example, Gazelles can barely exceed 40 miles per hour and they must avoid Cheetahs which reach 65 miles per hour or more.

Nesting behavior: Because of the lack of trees, animals must nest on or below the ground. Bird species try to hide their eggs as much as possible.

Camouflage: Grasslands lack trees , rocks, and other structures to hide behind, so they are able to hide while in plain sight.

Burrowing Behavior: Lacking the protection of trees, animals must cope with extreme weather. To do so, many species dig tunnels or burrows that provides them protection.

Dominant Vegetation

Nearly half of Africa consists of savanna, stretching from the tropical forests to the deserts. The change of rainfall amounts and soil conditions favor certain grass species over others, for example, red oat grass dominates on drier, well-drained soils in Kenya’s Laikipia plateau and the Serengeti plains. The dominant grass in nearby Uganda is lemon grass. Common trees include massive Baobabs.


Meteorological Elements

A seasonal change happens between wet tropical air masses and dry tropical air masses. As a result, there is a very wet season and a very dry season. Trade winds dominate during the dry season. It gets a little cooler during this dry season but then it becomes very hot just before the wet season.

Other Abiotic Factors

Weather- The average day during the winter-dry season is cool, but never gets cold. The summer-rainy season is humid and very wet.


Climate- Savannas are normally warm all year round, they’re not a desert because they have slightly more vegetation than deserts. There is not enough rainfall to be considered a rain forest and it is not dry enough to be considered a desert.


Soil- During the dry season the soil becomes infertile and many of the shrubs and dry grasses die off.



Water availability- water is scarce during the winter dry season but during the summer months there is plenty of water which allows shrubs and small grasses to grow.