Sign In / Sign Out
- ASU Home
- My ASU
- Colleges and Schools
- Map and Locations
Burrow: a hole an animal makes in the ground and uses as its home... more
Herbivore: an animal that eats only plants.
Incubate: to sit on an egg to keep it warm until the offspring inside is big enough to hatch.
Predator: an animal that eats other animals to survive. For example, a lion is a predator... more
It's easy to see for a long distance on a grassland - as long as you're taller than the grass. Unfortunately, this means that for big animals, hiding from predators that would like to eat them isn’t easy. Large grassland herbivores have two main tactics to keep safe: they join herds and they are very, very fast.
Because herds make it harder for a predator to get a meal, they're always on the lookout for lone animals. Getting separated from the herd can mean death.
To be fast, an animal can either take big steps or it can move its legs very fast. Herd animals do both. Many are adapted to stand on the tips of their toes to lengthen their stride.
You may be wondering whether small animals have as much trouble protecting themselves from predators as herd animals. Can't a little animal simply hide in the grass? Well, yes, but predators have keen ears and noses and it's just as hard to see a predator coming as it is for them to see you.
For real safety, many small grassland animals move underground into their burrows. Burrows provide a safe place to raise young and hide from predators, fire and bad weather. They also provide a place to store food for the future. Some burrowing animals even dig to find their food, which is often insects, worms or plant roots.
All sorts of grassland animals dig burrows, including insects, small mammals, reptiles like tortoises, and even a few birds. Even more animals use existing burrows that they might modify a bit. But even in burrows, some predators, like snakes, can find small animals.
Birds on the grasslands have the same problem as any other animal: how can they stay alive in a land with few trees when other animals want to have them for dinner?
Birds have a great advantage, though. They can fly. This can keep them safe from predators, unless they run into a raptor or owl.
The most dangerous time for a grassland bird is the time it spends on the ground. However, there aren’t very many trees in grasslands, so most grassland birds must come to the ground to sleep, to eat, and to mate and raise the next generation.
Dr. Biology. (2014, March 01). Animals of the Grassland. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/animals-grassland
Dr. Biology. "Animals of the Grassland". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 01 March, 2014. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/animals-grassland
Dr. Biology. "Animals of the Grassland". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 01 Mar 2014. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 18 Oct 2018. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/animals-grassland
Many predatory birds live in grasslands, like this secretary bird from Africa.