The Online Library of Knowledge

LET'S EXPLORE The living world

What lives on grasslands?

Bison grazing on the North American prairieBison grazing on the North American prairieLarge areas where wild grass grows naturally are called grasslands. Some areas have scattered trees as well. Grasslands are found in areas where there is just enough rainfall to stop the land becoming a desert, but not enough rainfall for a woodland or forest to grow. Grasslands are often found in the centre of continents, far from the ocean. They are known as prairies in North America, steppes in Central Asia and pampas in South America.

The steppe landscape of Central AsiaThe steppe landscape of Central Asia

Prairie dog burrowsPrairie dog burrows

Prairie dogs

On the North American prairie, hundreds of prairie dogs (kinds of squirrel) may live together in underground “towns”: a huge network of burrows. Friendly greetings are made by touching noses. A warning bark from one of the group will send the others rushing down into the safety of their burrows. Old burrows are used by other animals such as burrowing owls or rattlesnakes.

Black-tailed prairie dogs live in large groups of thousands, or even millions of individuals, called towns. The largest known town was home to as many as 400 million prairie dogs.

© 2020 Q-files Ltd. All rights reserved. Switch to Mobile