Grasslands are areas where grasses are dominant and water is scarce. You can find grasslands around the world, such as in North America’s Great Plains, Africa savannas, Asia’s steppes, Australia’s rangelands. They are examples of famous grassland ecosystems around the world.
Savanna is one of the types of grasslands in Africa, you can explore the characteristics of animals that live in savanna biome. Thee are some characteristics that make them specialized to live there.
Talking about the animals inhabiting grasslands, they are not only herbivores. There are also carnivorous predators that will make the ecosystem balance. The food chain simply starts with the herbivores eating the plants and ended up eaten by the predators.
Let’s see the top 7 animals inhabiting grasslands.
- Swift Fox
Unlike other species of foxes, swift foxes use their dens throughout the year. They use their dens for raising their young, and as shelter from predators in a place that provides no space to hide. Swift foxes are able to clock for more than 60 kilometers per hour.
This speed helps them to reach their shelter, specifically in moments of danger. Unfortunately, the population of swift foxes keeps declining due to over-hunting and also severe winters and drought. So far, the reintroduction process is being held to help reverse the trend.
- Prairie Rattlesnake
This snake gets its name from the rings on its tail which knock together when it is agitated. This is also the only venomous snake compared with the other Canadian prairies. It is able to detect its prey by using its smell-and-heat-sensing membrane, which is its tongue.
This snake is even able to do that from 30 meters away! Because it is cold-blooded creature, this prairie rattlesnake needs to hibernate inside their caves and abandoned mammals burrows to be able to survive during the cold winter in the grassland areas.
Rattlesnake is also considered as one of the most dangerous animals in Canada. Make sure you stay away from this animal when you go there.
- Black-footed Ferret
This black-footed ferret depends exclusively on the black-tailed prairie dog for its food and shelter. This is also the only ferret species native to North America.
Unfortunately, the population of black-footed ferret keeps declining due to habitat loss and limited food sources. This species is pushed into complete extinction.
The black-footed ferret are carnivores which feed on prairie dog. Do you know that it consumes about 763 prairie dogs every year? Squirrels, small rodents and cottontail rabbits are also parts of its diet. Cottontail rabbit is a cute creature ever. Get to know all things about cottontail rabbit, one of the black-footed ferret’s prey.
- Burrowing Owl
This bird is a small and sturdy bird. Unlike other owl species, the burrowing owl nests in an abandoned underground burrow. It protects itself by mimicking the hiss of rattlesnake.
Its size is much smaller than a pigeon. Unfortunately, this burrowing owl is considered as one of the most endangered birds in western Canada. Burrowing owl is also one of the animals to see in Australia. Make sure you see this owl when you go there.
The burrowing owls consume mostly on small creatures, such as grasshoppers and beetles. They make 90 percent of the owls’ diet. Besides, they also consume small rodents, such as mice and voles, frogs, toad, snakes, small birds and dead animals.
Owl is always interesting to be learned. If you are interested, you might want to explore the popular breeds of owl around the world. They are famous as they are amazing!
- Mormon Metalmark Butterfly
This is one of the insects inhabiting the grasslands habitat. This insect relies on the branched umbrella-plant as its source of food and host for laying eggs as well.
There are two known populations of this butterfly in Canada. The southern mountain population can be found in the southern inferior of British Columbia, while the other one is the prairie population is the threatened ones. Unfortunately, due to habitat loss and threat to agriculture of the umbrella plant, the species of butterfly is classified as the endangered one.
- Ferruginous Hawk
This hawk species is considered as the handsome and the largest hawk in North America. This hawk is a great help for most landowners as they can devour almost 500 small mammals, including the prairie dogs and squirrels.
However, due to habitat loss and declining source of food, the population of this bird keeps declining as well. It is put in the “threatened” list. Some efforts have been made to protect its population, such as human-made nesting structures and some other protections.
- Black-tailed Prairie Dogs
This animal is the key animal in the grassland ecosystem as some other predators depend on this animal. The black-tailed prairie dogs are the important sources of food for various predators.
Not only becoming the source of food, their abandoned burrows are also useful for some animals, such as the black-footed ferret that use it as shelter.
Unfortunately, the population of this animal keeps declining and is responsible for the declining population of the black-footed ferret extinction as well.