GRASSSLANDS

WE HAVE GRASS

General info

A grassland is a region where there is enough annual rainfall in which it is great enough to support grasses, and in some areas a few trees. Drought and fires prevent many trees and forests from growing. They can be found in North America, South America, Eurasia, and Africa. In the American prairie for January is 20 degrees Fahrenheit. In July its average is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter it could get as low as -40 Fahrenheit and in the summer up to 70. There is a growing season and a dormant season. The growing season lasts anywhere from 100-175 days and there is no frost. In the dormant season it is really cold so nothing can grow. The rainfall can vary between the types of the grassland. In temperate grasslands the rain could average out between 10 and 30 inches. In tropical and sub-tropical grasslands it could be between 35 and 60.

Plant life

About half the different plants include different types of grass.


Indian grass

It prefers deep moist soil but can also function on dry slopes. It works in mutualism with some Animals. The birds and mammals get food to eat from the grass and once it is digested and excreted the waste provide transport for the seeds of the grass.


Wild lupine

It prefers moist soil but could withstand dry soil. It is harmful to eat for it contains toxins


Showy milkweed

Found in North America and can grow up to four feet tall. Livestock don’t eat it for it is very bitter and poisonous to them. They are interdependent with the monarch butterflies for they feed on the toxins that the milkweed makes to help protect themselves. The butterflies end up pollinating the milkweed.


Sweet Coneflower

It can get between 1 and 4 feet tall. It does not require much water to survive and does not require any determined amount of sunlight. They are not toxic unlike most other plants.


Spiderwort

These bloom in late spring and are found in drier soils. They last a day after blooming before they die and are quick to decompose.

Food Web

Animals

Badger

The badger is a solitary creature and fiercely guards its territory. Its mating season is in August and September. They hibernate during the winter. Badgers can live up to 20 years. It mainly eats small mammals. They are one of the only animals that can kill and eat rattlesnakes.

Rattlesnake

A venomous snake with a rattle at the end of its tail. They get between 15 and 24 inches long. They feed on rodents, rabbits, squirrels and other various small animals. They hibernate during the winter

Lion

They live in prides of several lions. Male lions have manes. The female lions do most of the hunting for the pride. They will prey on antelopes, zebras, wildebeest and other large animals. They are found in Africa.

Zebra

A species of horse that has black and white stripes. They eat only grass and are found in Africa. Nobody knows why zebras are striped. They are a social animal and communicate through ear positioning, tails and sounds.

Hyenas

Dog-like animals found in the African savanna though they can survive in deserts, and tropical rainforests.


Predator Prey relations

Badger eating the rattlesnake

Lions preying on zebras

Cheetahs preying on Gazelles

Box turtles preying on Garter Snakes

Competition occurs between the different plants for resources like water and sunlight since they are scarce in the grasslands. It also occurs between Box Turtles and the Garter Snakes, they compete for a lot of the same food items.

Threats

Soil in the grassland is rich in nutrients and almost anything can grow there. One quarter of the earth was once covered in grasslands but a lot of it has been turned into farms. In the United Stated only about 5% of the original prairie remains. Continued global warming can cause rainfall patterns to change turning the grasslands into desert. Poor farming practices ruin the soil and turn grasslands into barren lifeless places. We can fix it by rotating agricultural crops to prevent sapping up nutrients in the soil on the grasslands. We could conduct dry season burning to restore calcium to soil that builds up in the dry grasses.

The Cheetah and the Oryx are two endangered species in the grasslands.