Sensational Savanna Animals: Definitions And Examples Listed For Kids

Shirin Biswas
Feb 29, 2024 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
Herd of giraffes on the rim.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.8 Min

When it comes to the animals in the savanna regions of our world, we can never get enough information!

The predators, ungulates and scavengers that live in these areas are absolutely fascinating. The expansive array of animals that live in the African savanna to this day are living testaments of the glory of savanna regions!

While the extremely dry and hot seasons may make these areas uninhabitable for human beings, the fact remains that the ecosystem of these regions has been able to sustain a fairly large number of species of animals. Both prey and predators can thrive in the savannas. To learn more about the climate of savannas, the plants, bushes and trees, as well as the animals and birds that live in these areas, keep reading!

If you enjoy this article, why not also check out animals in Arizona and animals with adaptations.

What is a savanna?

A savanna is essentially a biome that consists of grasslands and shrub lands. The grasslands in the savanna regions of the world house one of the most diverse sets of wildlife in the world. This is because the habitat range and environment of a savanna are fantastic for a large range of grazing animals.

The savanna regions of the world and the grasslands that are contained within these regions are characterized by a mostly dry and arid ecosystem. The abundance of trees and grasses in a savanna grassland makes it easy for many animals to survive with considerable levels of comfort and enough food. Another characteristic of savannas, in addition to grasslands, is the dry season that lasts almost throughout the year. There are only two pronounced seasons in savannas. The first is the dry season, during which different species of animals make use of the methods that they have adapted to, through years of evolution.

The dry season is the longest in savannas, and since the temperatures are quite high around this time of the year, animal species of the savanna biomes in Africa, South America, northern Australia and India migrate throughout the expanse of the land in order to find food and the right choice of grasses. The other season is the wet season, which is relatively shorter than the other. During the wet season, new grasses and plants grow in these savannas and open the opportunity for all animals to indulge in some post-rainfall feasts.

While the rainfall in the largest savannas, such as those in Africa and South America, only amounts to about 9.8 in (24.8 cm) on an average, it can hardly be denied that nature and its ecosystems are able to sustain themselves in the savannas. Over the last few decades, animals have also adapted to make sure that they can keep up with the environmental conditions of the biome in which they live.

The savanna grasslands have continued to be the natural habitat of many animal species over the decades, mainly because these areas have the perfect environment and plains to ensure that every animal gets the kind of nutrition that it requires to survive in the wild. The grasses and plants that can be found in a savanna grassland are quite diverse. Like human beings, who are picky about the kind of food they prefer, even animals have preferences of grasses, shrubs or plants that they would like to have as lunch. Nature is built in such a way that Grass Zebras prefer different foods to those loved by elephants and giraffes.

The kind of grass that tastes nice to one animal species of the savanna can be inedible to other animals of different species. This is because the palates of the animals in savannas work in different ways. This has ensured that no less than 16 species of herbivorous animals can live in the same biomes or ecosystem at the same time. Interestingly, it is not just an animal's palate that causes it to dislike eating a certain type of plant. Another factor that greatly contributes to this is the size of the animal. Obviously, an elephant, a giraffe or a zebra are not all the same height. Because of this, the foliage that one animal species prefers, and is able to reach, is quite different from what another chooses.

Savannas are therefore very interesting, since a visit to any national park in the African savanna or South American savanna is sure not only to expose you to a calm environment, but also testify to the fact that a group of grazers and predators can survive in such places at the same time.

Where is the savanna located?

The most popular and notable savannas of the world are the African savanna, South American savanna, Northern Australian savanna and the Indian savanna.

All these places have the rainy season and dry season during different times of the year, mainly because places such as Africa, Australia and the others are located at different latitudinal and longitudinal points. While the time of the year during which the seasons occur may not remain consistent, the basic factors of the biomes remain the same. These biomes are characterized by very warm temperatures throughout the year, since a savanna is usually found near the equator. A savanna also tends to be located far from any large bodies of water, so there are no factors that would enable the temperatures to be stabilized.

Zebra head shoot.

What kind of animals live in the savanna?

The list of animals that live in the savanna, such as the African savanna, is quite extensive. Being the largest savanna in the world, this biome in Africa is home to grazers, predators and scavengers, which means that the food chain is maintained at the best level in these areas.

Whether it be a lion, a cheetah, a group of hyenas or herds of birds, giraffes, zebras, gazelles or elephants, the biome is enriched by the animals that live there in every way possible. There are quite a few hoofed animals or 'ungulates' that live among the grass and trees of the savannas, and hence, there is enough for lions or cheetahs to feed on. Science suggests that the animals of the savanna also have a varied diet. This is to say that not all predators have the same diet, and hence, it becomes easy for predators to hunt without too much competition from other animals.

Such behavior can lead to possible threats to the environment and can also bring up ugly territorial wars within a grassland itself. The magnificent range of wildlife that lives in this kind of land is able to enjoy all aspects of the wild and also avoid any conflicts, other than those that predators such as cheetahs and lions have to go through with herds of ungulates and other creatures in the process of getting food!

Why do animals live in the savanna?

Grazing animals, such as gazelles, giraffes, elephants and zebras, prefer to live in savannas because these areas have the perfect assortment of grasses and plants that can give them proper nourishment.

Predators, such as wild dogs, hyenas, lions and cheetahs, like savannas because there are plenty of animals to hunt and prey on. For them, the savanna is the perfect place to find some dinner!

Did You Know!

Animals of the savanna are usually equipped with strong legs. These strong legs help the animals when it is time to move towards other regions that have more rainfall.

Many types of birds migrate to savannas to escape harsh winters in their native habitats. A herd of elephants, giraffes or zebras can easily be spotted during safaris at national parks in African savannas. Even scavengers such as hyenas survive well in these areas, since there is plenty of food available. African savanna animals are specially equipped with different methods of cooling off. For instance, the African elephant has large ears which help the animal to cool off by increasing its surface area so there is more space for heat to escape from.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly factsfor everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for savanna animals then why not take a look at New Zealand animals, or pack animals.

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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