Surely if they ask you about the animals that live in this biome, some scenes from The Lion King come to mind, from where you can get a lot of information to answer this question. However, apart from lions like Simba, meerkats like Timon, and warthogs like Pumbaa, what else can you tell us?
The African savanna
The savanna is a biome found in tropical and subtropical areas , in regions such as the central part of Africa, the best known, Asia, Australia and South America. They are usually transitional areas between jungles and semi-deserts.
It is characterized by the predominance of herbaceous vegetation and an arboreal-shrub layer in which the arboreal part has little coverage, either because the trees are small or because they are widely dispersed, facilitating that the herbaceous layer is continuous and large. height.
A typical feature is the alternation between a wet and a dry season , although they are mainly environments of dry tropical climates.
There is a great variety of animals that inhabit the savannah and that vary depending on the area where the biome is located. In the case of the African savanna, the one that really concerns our article and with which people are most familiar, is the habitat that is home to a great variety of animal species. These are the two main types of animals of the African savanna , according to their diet.
Herbivores of the African savanna
Many of the animals that we find in the African savannah are large herbivores, which is due to these large amounts of herbaceous stratum that occur in the savannah and the adaptation of these animals to feed on very varied plants. These animals also migrate during the dry season. As a general rule, the offspring of these herbivorous animals are very precocious and develop quickly, for example, they walk shortly after birth. In addition, the herd protects them from predators. Some examples of herbivorous animals of the African savanna are:
These animals have developed a multitude of strategies to avoid predators, such as the great speed of gazelles and ostriches, the great height of giraffes that allows them to see predators from great distances, or the size and strength of the elephant. that keeps potential hunting animals away.
Predators of the African savannah
Of course, where there are a large number of herbivorous animals, there will be predators. In the savannah there is also a great variety of predators such as the following:
- Wild dogs
- Black mamba
The latter, the black mamba, is highly feared and rightly so, as it is the most poisonous snake in Africa. These predatory animals , like herbivores, developed strategies to avoid them, they have also adopted strategies to counteract those of herbivores. A clear example is the great speed that the cheetah can reach , the fastest animal in the world on land, although it cannot maintain this speed for a long time chasing its prey. Another example is that of lions and hyenas, carnivores that, due to their condition of social animals, hunt in groups the weakest animals and are far from the herd and the protection it provides.
Most of the best known animals in the African savannah belong to the group of mammals. Some of the mammals of the savannah are:
- Primates, such as the legged monkey, the vervet, or baboons.
- Herbivorous ungulates, previously discussed, such as zebras, antelopes, impalas, African elk, giraffe, gazelle, wildebeest, rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo or hippopotamus.
- Carnivores such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, foxes or mongooses, such as the famous meerkats.
- Insectivores that base their diets, above all, on ingesting termites such as the aardvark, the giant pangolin or the land wolf.
- The warthog or warthog, which is in fact the Pumbaa wild boar from The Lion King.
In the African savanna we can also find various species of birds such as:
- Birds of the group of ratites, such as ostrich, the great running bird.
- The Sagittarius, a bird of prey that hunts from the ground.
- The characteristic scavenger birds such as the marabou, some vultures, such as the white-backed vulture or the shadowy Egyptian vulture.
- Mouse birds.
- Weavers, who make their nests with long stems from the herbaceous layer, such as the masked weaver or the white-headed buffalo weaver, whose name comes from their habit of accompanying and following African buffaloes during their journeys.
- Common quelea, considered a pest in agriculture comparable to the effect locusts cause on it.
Some representatives of this group of cold-blooded animals that can be found in these ecosystems are the following species of reptiles of the savannah :
- Tortuga sulcata.
- African crocodile. Although it lives in rivers, lakes, ponds, and forest swamps in western and central Africa, it also makes forays into the dry savannas.
- Snakes like the black mamba, previously mentioned.
Last but not least, since the savannah is mostly inhabited by them, are the insects, which during the dry season also migrate long distances, as they feed on the vegetation in the area.
Among the most important insects in the savanna are ants, grasshoppers and termites, which sometimes build high-rise termite mounds, as we can see in the image below. But in this group we also find the most dangerous mosquitoes in the world, transmitting serious diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. Flies also stand out, such as the tsetse fly, which kills a large part of the cattle and transmits Trypanosoma gambiense , the cause of “sleeping sickness”. Other insects that can be found in the African savanna are beetles, such as the dung beetle, crickets or horseflies.