The Grasslands biome is an immense expanses of rolling grassy plains sometimes sprinkled with a few stunted and isolated trees and shrubs. The limited amount of rainfall restricts the growth of large amounts of trees whilst there is still enough precipitation to not be a desert.
The type of grassland plants that flourish in this environment are primarily determined by the latitude, soil and local climactic conditions. Grasslands are estimated to cover about 25% of the earths surface.
Grasslands Biome Locations
Grasslands biomes can be found between the forests and deserts of the world. They are present on all continents apart from Antarctica and can be located in the middle latitudes of our planet and stretching across the interiors of the continents.
Temperate grasslands can be found to the north of the Tropic of Cancer and south of the Tropic of Capricorn whilst more tropical grasslands can be found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
These large expanses of grasses come in a number of different forms and can be subdivided into temperate or tropical grasslands. The drier temperate grassland regions may be found in regions such as the steppes of Eurasia, the prairies of North America, the pampas of South America and the veld of South Africa.
The more tropical grasslands can be found in areas such as the savanna of Central Africa, the llanos of Colombia and Venezuela, the central plains of Australia, the highland campos of Brazil and the Indian Deccan Plateau.
Grasslands Plants and Animals
The Grassland biome can support a large range of mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects.
- Large numbers of animals make their homes in the grasslands. Many eat the grasses and other plants. They include:
- Large mammals such as antelope zebra, gazelles, bison, elephants, giraffes, rhinoceros, wild horses and kangaroos.
- Small mammals such as hares and rodents
- Flightless birds such as emus and ostriches
- Birds such as eagles, geese, weaver birds
- Insects such as locusts, dung beetles
- Insect eaters such as anteaters and armadillos
- Large carnivores such as cheetahs, lions, wild dogs, hyenas, vultures and coyotes
- Reptiles such as rattlesnakes and cobras
The grasslands are very open and offer very little shelter to larger animals and so they will tend to seek safety in large herds. Smaller animals which may have to escape danger are also provided with powerful legs so that they can escape danger by running fast. Even smaller animals will find safety by retreating into small burrows in the ground. Savanna type grasslands tend to support a larger amount of wildlife than the more temperate grasslands due to the greater amount of shelter and protection they can offer.