Almost 30% of the Earth is land. On these continents and islands are hundreds of unique terrestrial habitats where plants, animals, and other organisms survive adversity every single day. In this blog from Covenant Wildlife Removal, you’ll learn about the main types of land habitats and what creatures call them home.
More importantly, you’ll discover the value and necessity of the various environments and what you can do to help save those in decline.
Discovering the Terrestrial Habitats of the World
What are Terrestrial Habitats?
A habitat is an environment where plants, animals, and other organisms live. Therefore, a terrestrial habitat is a place where creatures live on land. There are also aquatic and transitional habitats (a mix of land and water) where wildlife dwells.
There is no official total number of habitats. This is probably because there are many different ecosystems on Earth, ranging from the size of a cell to an entire continent. However, each unique habitat is defined by not only the plants and animals living there but the environmental factors, such as climate and terrain.
In the following sections, we will explore six of the primary terrestrial habitats of the world. Soon, you’ll have a better understanding of what makes each habitat different from the others and why the animals there thrive best in their respective habitat.
Forest is a general term describing a terrestrial habitat of mostly trees and undergrowth. There are three main types of forests.
Coniferous forests are found in climates that experience very short summers and prolonged, chilly winters. The animals and plants in a coniferous forest have particular adaptations that allow them to live in frigid weather for most of the year. This is where you find endless lands of evergreen trees.
The animals who brave the cold coniferous forests include:
- Grizzly bears
- Garter snakes
In deciduous forests, you’ll find the trees that change according to the season. Here, animals may hibernate or move to other areas during the cold winters but can enjoy the warmth of summer.
The deciduous forest is home to the following animals and more:
Tropical rainforests have a vast diversity of plants and animals because of the ideal hot and humid conditions. As you may assume, rainforests receive lots of rainfall throughout the year, allowing the trees to grow tall and abundantly. Therefore, the floor of such a forest is quite damp and dark, where fascinating plants and animals thrive.
Some of the animals you can spot in this terrestrial habitat include:
- Tree frogs
- Tropical birds
- Boa Constrictors
Forests are found all over the world. While coniferous forests mainly dominate the northern hemisphere, like in Canada, Alaska, and some of Russia, tropical rainforests are typically found in the warmest climates near the equator. Deciduous forests are most abundant in cool and rainy regions, like some of the United States, Europe, and western Asia.
Not all deserts are hot. By definition, deserts form in the driest regions of the world. Compared to other terrestrial habitats, the desert is often barren. However, the plants and animals in these arid regions adapt to receiving minimal water. Succulents thrive in the desert by storing water in their plant tissues. Similarly, the animals of the desert are often most active in the nighttime when temperatures are less extreme.
A few of the animals in extreme desert habitats are:
- Snow leopard
Some of the most famous deserts are the hot Sahara desert in North Africa and the chilly Gobi Desert in western China. We also have deserts in the United States, like the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sonoran Desert.
Grasslands are regions where rainfall is not frequent enough to grow a vast forest. However, rain is also not so scarce to form a desert environment. Therefore, the dominant vegetation is various species of grass. You’ll find many large grazing animals and other unique critters in the world’s grasslands.
The following incredible creatures call grasslands their home:
- Prairie dogs
There are two primary types of grasslands, tropical and temperate. Tropical grasslands include sub-Saharan savannas in Africa and northern Australia. Examples of temperate grasslands are North American prairies and the Eurasian steppes.
High above the world most familiar to us are cold and rocky terrestrial habitats. These are the mountains where plants are scarce, and animals must adapt to high elevations, steep slopes, and lack of abundant food sources. Much of the wildlife residing in mountain habitats have hooves to navigate the slick, rocky terrain. On the peaks of mountains, you may spot the following fascinating creatures and more:
- Bighorn sheep
- Brown, grizzly, and black bears
- Mountain goats
In the United States, we have the Appalachian Mountains, Rocky Mountains, and Sierra Nevada mountain range. The tallest mountain in the world is Mount Everest in the Himalayas, where red pandas and musk deer thrive at lower elevations. In western South America are the Andes, and the Atlas Mountains extend across northwestern Africa.
The tundra is some of the northernmost terrestrial habitats. In the winter, they appear snowy and lifeless. However, the snow melts in the summer to reveal meadows alive with quick-growing shrubs. The animals here face a harsh climate with a lack of food but have developed adaptations to survive.
The resilient creatures dwelling in the Earth’s tundra include:
- Arctic hares
- Polar bears
- Arctic foxes
- Snowy owls
Near the North and South poles are lands covered in ice and snow. Remarkably, several animals call the Polar ice their home. These incredible creatures bear freezing temperatures and limited nutrition virtually all year long.
- Musk Ox
- Snow geese
Conserving Our Terrestrial Habitats
It’s almost unbelievable how the animals of our world can thrive in just about any terrestrial habitat. Unfortunately, many of these precious creatures are threatened by the gradual loss of their unique environments. And arguably, humans are the main culprit to blame.
These animals and ecosystems are more than just fascinating. Each habitat has more value than we even know. Perhaps you have heard of the polar bears struggling to keep up with the melting ice caps. Or maybe you’ve learned about the extreme loss of several key rainforest species.
All over the planet, terrestrial habitats are diminishing. As a result, we are losing essential species. But that’s not all. This is also one of the main reasons more and more animals are showing up on your property or in your home. For example, an increasing number of bats nest in Alabama homes as the years go on. Their natural habitats are in decline, so they survive by finding the next best place to live.
Similar cases occur with all kinds of animals. So, what can we do to help?
Spread the Word about Terrestrial Habitats
Spread the word and spread the love. It’s contagious! Start talking about conserving our precious lands and the creatures dwelling in them, and others will begin to understand and want to help, too.
Donate Your Time or Money
There are many websites to donate money to research projects and other conservation efforts. You can also volunteer your time to help clean up habitats or get involved in different ways.
Make The Right Choices for the Terrestrial Habitats
You can begin making smarter choices in your daily life that will help in the greater effort to save the terrestrial habitats of our planet. For instance, buying local and organic foods decreases the demand for large commercial farms overtaking valuable habitats.
Another way to save the animals and their natural environments is to respect the critters that wander onto your property or home. One of the best ways to do this is by leaving them be and hiring humane wildlife removal services, like Covenant Wildlife. We do everything we can to treat the critters with kindness and respect while removing them from your property and returning them to their proper homes.
Covenant Wildlife Cares
Animals deserve to be treated with care. That’s precisely our goal here at Covenant Wildlife Removal. Our team is experienced and skilled in the craft of removing creatures of all kinds from Alabama homes.
If you have any animals causing trouble on your property or indoors, make the right choice and reach out to Covenant Wildlife. And if you don’t live in our service areas, we encourage you to call your local humane wildlife removal company to ensure the safety of these precious creatures.