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Savanna Grasslands Biome: Definition, Examples & Quiz

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Taught by

Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

The world is composed of many types of biomes. In this lesson we are going to explore the savanna grassland biome. Our goal is to gain an understanding of the biome's characteristics, locations, and inhabitants.

Definition of Savanna Grasslands Biome

Biomes are large, naturally occurring communities of plants and animals occupying a major habitat. The savanna grasslands are terrestrial biomes characterized by vast open spaces containing occasional small shrubs and trees. All savanna grassland biomes are found within thirty degrees of the equator and are often located between tropical rain forests and deserts. They are found in Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America.

Savannas have warm temperatures year-round and typically have two seasons consisting of a long dry winter season and a very rainy summer. For this reason, plants found in the savanna grasslands have adapted to survive long periods of drought, and animals are normally those with long legs that serve well for migrations of great distances to move as the weather changes.

Examples of Savanna Grasslands

When you hear the word 'savanna,' you probably think of wide open spaces in Africa with lions, zebras, and elephants. While those are typical things found in savannas, there are actually many diverse savannas throughout the world with a wide range of plant and wildlife. Some of the most well-known savannas include the Serengeti plains of Tanzania, The vast Acacia plains of east Africa, the savannas of Venezuela, and the Australian Savanna.

The Serengeti Plains

The Serengeti plains are probably one of the most famous savannas in the world. They are found in Tanzania and are home to all of the big carnivores and herbivores such as elephants, lions, and giraffes. The Serengeti is composed of wide expanses of tall grass and very few trees. There is not enough year-round rainfall in this type of environment to support forests of trees.

A herd of wildebeest in the vast Serengeti savanna grassland.
Image of the Serengeti.

The Acacia Plains

The Acacia plains are found in Kenya, Africa. They are characterized by vast areas of open grassland dotted with Acacia trees. This dry environment serves as a feeding ground for wildebeests and giraffes as part of their seasonal migration. It changes from an arid dry area in one season to lush green grasslands during the rainy period.

Acacia trees are found all throughout the savanna grasslands of Kenya.
Image of Acacia trees.

South America Savannas

The savannas of South America are not as familiar to most of us as those of Africa, but they do exist. The savanna biome of Venezuela encompasses a vast area of the Orinoco basin and is home to a variety of grasses and animals including capybara and marshdeer. These savannas flourish greatly during the rainy season and become sparse areas of dry cracked soil in the dry season.

Fascinating animals such as this capybara can be found in the Venezuelan savanna grassland.
A picture of a capybara.

Australia Savannas

Australia is also home to a large savanna grassland area. It is located in the northern part of the continent and is home to eucalyptus trees and vast areas of grass as well as a variety of wildlife.

The savanna grasslands of northern Australia.
Photo of the Australian savanna.

Summary of Savanna Grassland Biomes

As you can see, savanna grasslands are very diverse biomes and are home to many unique plants and animals that are adapted to live there. These fascinating biomes are characterized by large areas of grassland with few trees and experience a very dry season for half of the year and a rainy season for the other half.

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