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146

habitat

OLogy Series
place
card
146

habitat

OLogy Series
place

Animals and plants are usually adapted to survive best in particular environments, known as their habitats. For example, an Amazon river fish couldn't survive in the freezing waters of the Arctic Ocean. A habitat is a place where an animal or plant lives and grows. Over time, animals and plants develop features to help them meet the challenges of their environments.

Be It Ever So Frigid, There's No Place Like Home
Animals that live near the North and South Poles have to survive in extremely chilly temperatures. The Arctic and Antarctic seas are alive with interesting animals, including whales, giant sponges, and tiny shrimp-like creatures called krill. In the Arctic, polar bears, bearded and ringed seals, and walruses spend much of their lives on the ice. The Antarctic is home to both penguins and leopard seals that feed on the penguins. Animals that live in polar habitats have developed characteristics that enable them to deal with the freezing temperatures. Polar bears and caribou have thick fur. The ears and tail of the arctic fox are very short, preventing them from losing too much body heat. Many species, including seals and penguins, have layers of body fat that help insulate them from the cold. What kind of habitat would you like to live in?

Which one of these living organisms threatens habitats all around the world?

porcupines

people

weeds

Are you right?

Correct!

People are destroying habitats all over the world, including habitats in the United States. An animal's habitat is its home, so when people chop down forests, they are cutting down a bird's nest or a monkey's source of food.

About 1 percent of Earth's land surface is desert.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

About 19 percent of Earth's land is made up of desert. The Sahara Desert alone is about the same size as the continental U.S.

The only purpose of an animal's habitat is to provide a place where an animal can go to sleep.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

A habitat is more than just a cozy place where animals sleep. Habitats provide food, water, and shelter for living organisms. That's why it's important to protect them.

habitat
What it is: the place where a plant or animal lives and the resources an animal uses to survive
Where: throughout the entire planet
Types of habitats: tropical rain forest, savanna, desert, tundra, taiga, open ocean, and coral reefs
Characteristics: many things define a habitat, such as: What kinds of plants live there? Is the climate hot or cold? Is the ground rocky or sandy?

Image credits: Laura Friedman.