The environment where plants, animals and other organisms around the world live is known as a habitat. It is an environment where certain species can find food, make shelter, find mates to reproduce while seeking protection from predators too..
There are five major habitats that every place on Earth can be classed as. They are :
· aquatic habitat or water habitat.
· forest habitat,
· grassland habitat,
· desert habitat
· polar/tundra habitat.
Forest ,grassland and desert habitat are commonly called Terrestrial or Land habitat .
Habitat examples include:
The aquatic biome (environment) includes ocean habitats and other marine habitats. Some of the most famous aquatic habitat examples that you may have heard of include the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific Ocean and the Amazon River.
Examples of Aquatic habitat are:
The ocean habitat is filled with saltwater, but some other aquatic habitats like rivers and ponds are filled with fresh water.
Over 70% of the planet's surface is covered with water with the majority of that being saltwater from the oceans and seas.
Because the aquatic habitats are normally so large, the sea life in them can vary greatly depending on the water's temperature and composition.
Warm water can have vibrant tropical fish and beautiful coral reefs, whereas cold water is a vastly different habitat and the fish tend to be less colourful. Different plants grow in different aquatic habitats too, which means there is a huge variety of food chains and life cycles that you find in them. For example, while the Pacific Ocean is one of the largest aquatic habitats in the world and home to thousands of different species, the polar water is extremely cold and so this Polar aquatic habitat has fewer species living in it.
Aquatic Region Facts for Kids
· The water temperatures in aquatic habitats vary depending on their location. The polar region's water can be below 0°C while in tropical areas, it can be up to 30°C. This causes a huge variation in aquatic life, plants and animals found in these habitats.
· There are 5 oceans: Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Southern.
- Creatures that live in aquatic habitats can breathe underwater, usually by using gills (for example, like fish).
- There are some animals however that cannot breathe underwater. The majority of marine mammals found in aquatic habitats hold their breath for long periods of time instead, and surface when they need air. Whales have blowholes they breathe out of.
- Plants and grasses can also grow underwater and there are some that are onlyfound in aquatic habitats.
- A lot of creatures found in the aquatic habitats feed on the aquatic plants and tiny organisms called plankton too.
- Some marine life you can find in aquatic habitats include fish, shellfish, whales, dolphins, sharks, seahorses, turtles and jellyfish.
Forests and woodlands are habitats covered by trees. Some of the most famous forest habitat examples that you may have heard of include the Amazon Rainforest, Redwood National Park and Sherwood Forest.
The difference between woodlands and forests is the tree density, however, the two habitats have a lot of similarities and so are both classed as forest habitats.
Woodland habitats are usually more open in comparison to forests and have gaps in between trees that allow light to reach the surface. Alternatively, forests tend to be denser and the forest floor is usually dark and shaded because of this.
· Forest habitats also provide great shelter for animals within the tree roots, trunks and branches.
· Animals that can be found in forests and woodlands include large animals like bears, moose and deer. Smaller animals include birds, squirrels, hedgehogs, raccoons and rabbits.
Grassland habitats are covered by grasses with very few trees or shrubs.
The 2 types of grasslands are tropical grasslands known as savannas and temperate grasslands.
Grassland habitats go through both dry and rainy seasons.
Grassland Region Facts for Kids
· Grassland habitats cover more than 40% of the Earth's landmass. They are large open areas with grass being the dominant feature.
· They can be found around the world and go by different names such as prairies, savannas, steppes or pampas, depending on their climate.
· Tropical grasslands are found near the equator. They stay relatively hot throughout the year. African savannas are examples of tropical grasslands.
· Temperate grasslands are a greater distance from the equator and can get extremely cold during the winter. They can be found in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
· Animals have adapted to grassland habitats that don't offer many places to hide. For example, lions hunt in packs, and smaller animals like meerkats and prairie dogs have adapted to live underground so they can better avoid their predators.
· Similarly, some grassland animals live in herds for protection. Zebras and antelopes are examples of this. Living and grazing in herds offer protection in large numbers and it lets them look for predators like lions and cheetahs.
Deserts habitats are known to be the driest areas on the planet and have very little rain. There are many famous desert habitat examples that you may have already heard of, including: the Sahara Desert, the Gobi Desert and the Namib Desert.
Deserts are difficult to survive in and animals and plants must be able to conserve water. Many have special adaptions that make it easier to do this.
There are great contrasting temperatures in desert habitats that go from the hottest temperatures in the world in the day time, to very cold and sometimes even below freezing at night. This is another factor that animals and plants found in these habitats have had to adapt to.
Desert Region Facts for Kids
· The Sahara Desert is the biggest hot desert in the world measuring 9.4 million square kilometres.
· The Gobi Desert in China is the biggest cold desert in the world measuring 1.3 million square kilometres.
· Deserts don't get much rain so animals and plant life have adapted to conserve water and many do not require much in order to survive.
Tundra / Polar Habitat
The tundra or polar habitats are found at the very top and bottom of the planet. They are very cold regions covered in snow and ice. The Arctic and Antarctic areas are examples of polar or tundra habitats.
The low temperatures make it extremely difficult for vegetation to grow and they have long, dark winters where they see no sun at all, as well as long Summers where it hardly ever gets dark.
Polar Region Facts for Kids
· There are 2 polar regions on Earth. The Arctic habitat in the north and the Antarctic habitat in the south.
· There are only 2 seasons in a polar or tundra habitat. Summer lasts for six months, and so does Winter. It is very cold all year-round but during the Summer months, it is light for 24 hours. Winter in the polar regions is the opposite, with it almost always being dark for six months straight.
· The tundra makes up a large amount of the polar habitats total area. It thaws enough for plants, moss and short grass to grow but most tree roots are unable to penetrate the frozen soil.
· · Animals that can be found in the antarctic habitats include emperor penguins, chinstrap penguins, wandering albatross, killer whales, dusky dolphins, elephant seals and crabeater seals.
· · Global warming is the biggest danger to the tundra/polar habitats with the melting of the ice caps causing the sea levels to rise, certain species to become extinct and many creatures finding it very hard to hunt.