What are the types of terrestrial habitats? Learning concepts Grade 5
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Habitat of Animals

Concept: Terrestrial Habitats of Animals-I

What is a Habitat?

A place where an organism lives and grows is called its habitat. Living organisms depend on shelter, food and water in their habitats.

The environmental conditions like temperature, light, weather, humidity, topography vary from one habitat to other.

Let us now look into the different terrestrial habitats and how animals living in such habitats have adapted themselves.

Terrestrial habitat:

The habitats that occur on land are called terrestrial habitats. Terrestrial habitats are classified as follows—

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1. Polar regions:

  • Polar regions are characterised by extremely low temperatures.
  • Animals there are adapted to survive in extremely cold conditions.
  • They usually have the following characteristics—
    1. A thick skin with a layer of blubber underneath.
    2. A thick fur as an external covering.
    3. Short limbs and ears to reduce the loss of heat from the body.
    4. Strong senses of smell and hearing.

Examples: Two polar animals and their adaptations are described below—

2. Deserts:

  • In the desert, the daytime is too hot while it becomes very cold at night.
  • Deserts receive very little rainfall throughout the year.Animals there are adapted to survive in extremely cold conditions.
  • Vegetation in such regions is sparse, with only xerophytic plants that survive in dry and hot conditions.
  • Animals living in the desert have dull body colour, which helps them blend well with their surroundings.
  • The presence of thick skin reduces the loss of water through sweating.
  • They have a keen sense of smell, sight and hearing.

Examples: Three desert animals and their adaptations are described below—

  • Animals like Dorcas gazelle are adapted to survive without drinking and urinating.
  • They meet their need for water from the food they eat.
  • The urine is changed into hard urine pellets, which they excrete out of their body.
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    • Kangaroos lack normal sweat glands.
    • They cool their body parts and limbs by spit baths.
    • They have a network of special blood vessels in their limbs, allowing them to reduce their body temperatures by evaporating the saliva they put on their limbs while licking them.
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    • Meerkats have natural sunglasses. The dark black coloured patches around their eyes enable them to absorb the sunlight and prevent it from getting reflected in their eyes.
    • Addax antelope can change the colour of its body covering.
    • It turns white in summers to reflect the maximum sunlight and brown in winters when the temperature prevailing is not as hot as summers.
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    3. Mountains:

    • Mountains have varying climatic conditions.
    • With the increase in the altitudes, the temperature decreases and the areas are often covered with snow showing significantly little vegetation.
    • At lower altitudes, the temperature varies with seasons and these regions are inhabited by a variety of plant and animal species.
    • The mountain animals have the following characteristics in common—
      1. Animals generally hide in shades in the mountains.
      2. They have typically massive bodies.
      3. The outer layer of the body of animals is covered with fur, which protects them from cold conditions.
      4. The limbs of these animals are accompanied by strong hooves, which enables them to walk and climb the rocky mountain surfaces.
      5. The animals are adapted to migrate based on seasonal changes.

    Examples: Some mountain animals and their adaptations are described below—

    a) Mountain bear:

    • They have a sharp sense of smell and sight.
    • Their claws are curved to climb trees and logs.
    • The mouth is modified to pick berries and fruits.
    • Their 1st, 2nd and 3rd premolar are reduced, and this arrangement helps them in eating and stripping leaves.
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    b) Yaks:

    • Yaks have two layers of fur, which enables them to survive in cold climatic conditions.
    • They develop strong hooves and horns that help them walk on surfaces covered with snow.
    • They often use their horns to break the ice and find plants for eating.
    • They have a large chest, and the lungs can take in air properly despite the low level of oxygen in the mountains.
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    c) Snow owl:

    • The body of the snow owl is round-shaped, which helps conserve the body heat.
    • Their body is covered with thick feathers allowing them to survive in cold environmental conditions.
    • They are white-coloured, which helps them camouflage with their surroundings.
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    d) Snow leopard:

    • The body of the snow leopard is covered with thick fur including its paws which enables it to walk on snow.
    • The body is covered by a layer of fat beneath the skin that helps maintain the optimum body temperature.
    • The snow leopard has a round body with small ears. It helps in reducing the loss of body heat.
    • The feet of the snow leopard are big and flat, which enables it to walk on snow without sinking into it.
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    New Words:

    Hooves: The hard foot of animals like horses, yaks, goats etc.

    Blubber: The excessive layer of fat.

    Urine: The fluid excreted by the body, which includes excessive salts and other substances that are not required by the body.

    Saliva: The liquid secreted by the salivary glands in our mouth which plays a vital role in digestion.


    Did You Know?

    • Animals that live in the desert are called xerocoles.
    • Animals in the desert have less fat covering on their bodies, which keeps their body cool.
    • Rodents in the desert go in an inactive mode during the scorching months.
    • Mountain goats can jump up to 12 feet in one leap.
    • Mountain gorillas can eat all day long.

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