How have plants and animals adapted in the savanna ecosystem?

1 Answer
Feb 22, 2018

They have adapted to long periods without rain, to the dry heat of the savannas and to the long distances without water and little or no tree cover.


Most organisms in a savanna habitat have adapted to cope with the little moisture found in such a habitat. This has lead to most evolving energy saving methods such as having a 'high' stamina or only being active or more active when it is cool or night time in the case of many animals in the savanna. For plants, most have adapted to the arid conditions, and have developed underground stores of starches, or have decreased their surface area in water loss by growing small 'needle like' leaves.

Many plants which are present also have a feature of sorts which makes them that little harder for a herbivore to eat, such as the acacia tree has thorny branches, leaves and is tall, which help to deter herbivores- all but those like the Giraffe, which has evolved a long neck to reach these leaves and branches, as well as a long, thick tongue which is near 'impervious' to the spiny foliage.

Other animals which have adapted to the heat, include the Elephants, which have wrinkly skin, and large ears, to increase their surface area and more easily dissipate heat. They also have learnt to use mud as a way to cool down and protect their skin from the sun, as well as biting pests.
Other animals sleep or rest during the day, whether that be below ground like meerkats do or under a tree like prides of lions do.

Many herbivores like gazelles, zebras and wildebeests have adapted to be able to go long distances without little water and to be able to run quickly cross the savanna from potential predators, though not the stamina as such to keep these up for long distances, in which the african painted wild dog excels at, being able to chase its prey until it eventually collapses of exhaustion, much like how Human tribes do in Africa.

I could keep going, but I feel this may be sufficient information for your question.

Hope this helps