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Land Biomes: Savannas

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Savanna

Zebra in the Savanna

Credit: Gary M. Stolz, USFWS
Biomes are the world's major habitats. These habitats are identified by the vegetation and animals that populate them. The location of each biome is determined by the regional climate.

Savannas

The savanna biome consists of areas of open grassland with very few trees. There are two types of savannas, tropical and semi-tropical savannas. A savanna is one type of grassland biome.

Climate

The savanna climate varies according to the season. In the dry season temperatures can be either extremely hot or cool. In the wet season temperatures are warm. Savannas are typically dry receiving less than 30 inches of rain on average per year.

Tropical savannas may receive as much as 50 inches of rain in the wet season, but as little as 4 inches during the dry season. The dry climate combined with the extreme heat in the dry season makes savannas ripe areas for grass and brush fires.

Location

Grasslands are located on every continent with the exception of Antarctica. Some locations of savannas include:
    Africa - Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia
    Australia
    Central America - Belize and Honduras
    South America - Venezuela and Columbia
    Southern Asia

Vegetation

Savannas are often described as areas of grasslands with dispersed singular or clusters of trees. The lack of water makes savannas a difficult place for tall plants such as trees to grow. Grasses and trees that grow in the savanna have adapted to life with little water and hot temperatures.

Grasses, for example, grow quickly in the wet season when water is abundant and turn brown in the dry season to conserve water. Due to frequent fires, grasses also stay close to the ground. Some examples of vegetation in the savanna include: wild grasses, shrubs, baobab trees, and acacia trees.

Wildlife

Savannas are home to many large land animals including elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinoceros, buffalo, lions, leopards and cheetahs. Other animals include baboons, crocodiles, antelopes, meerkats, ants, kangaroos, ostriches and snakes.

Many of the savanna animals rely on speed for survival, as the vast open areas provide little means of escape from quick predators. If the prey is too slow, it becomes dinner. If the predator is not fast enough, it goes hungry. Camouflage is also very important to animals of the savanna. Predators often need to blend in with their environment in order to sneak up on unsuspecting prey. On the other hand, prey may use this same technique as a defense mechanism to conceal themselves from predators.

Land Biomes

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