Grasslands are dry biomes in which grass is the dominant plant. There are two major types of grassland biome: temperate grasslands include plains and prairies; tropical grasslands are also known as savannah. Both types of grasslands are home to large animals, such as giraffe and bison, as well as much smaller animals such as worms.
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The temperate grasslands cover large areas of Central Asia, North America, Australia, Central Europe and South America. The temperate grasslands are also known as prairies and plains; they contain fertile ground that often has been converted for use as agricultural grounds. The tropical savannah is mostly covered by grasses, with a small amount of trees and shrubs interspersed around the area. The tropical savannah receives seasonal rainfall in regions including Eastern Africa, Northern Australia and Southern Brazil.
Large animals, many of which are fast moving herbivores, are usually found in grasslands. In North America the temperate grassland biome is the natural habit of bison that would follow the melting snow north through the spring to maintain a diet of fresh young grass to eat. In the tropical savannah large animals, including the rhinoceros and giraffe, can be found along with the African elephant. The giraffe stands between 9 and 13 feet as an average, growing for around ten years after birth to be able to reach leaves and fruit on trees in the savannah. Other large animals have adapted to the grassland environment by maintaining fast speeds to evade predators who hunt in the grasslands. Fast-moving animals, such as the gazelle and zebra, are often hunted in the tropical savannah by predators, including the lion. Kangaroos live in the Australian tropical savannah.
A large number of insects inhabit the grassland biomes of the world. These insects are useful pollinators of grasses and other plants in the biomes. Insects found in the grasslands include beetles, grasshoppers and stick insects. These insects also supply a food source for other animals found in the grasslands, such as birds. Another prevalent insect in the grassland biome is the butterfly, with monarch butterflies that feed on plant matter as larvae and as adults using the biome as a natural habitat.
An important animal to the grassland biomes is the earthworm, which helps maintain a healthy soil structure within the biomes. As a decomposer, the worm eats decomposing plant and animal matter before returning it to the soil as faeces. A number of birds can also be found in the grasslands, such as the sparrow and owl. Small animals, including the rabbit, mice and voles, also make their homes in grassland biomes.
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