Tropical Grassland (Savanna Biome): Climate, Precipitation, Location, Plants, | Earth Eclipse (2023)

In the prehistoric times, forests dominated the surface of the earthHowever, human activities such as farming and deforestation led to the proliferation of grasslands biomes. The proliferation of grassland biomes is evident by the fact they are found in pretty much every continent except Antarctica. It’s estimated that grasslands biomes cover more than 20% of the earth’s surface. Grasslands biomes are categorized into two; tropical grassland biomes (savanna biome) and temperate grassland biomes. These two kinds of grasslands biomes have one thing in common; grass is their dominant natural vegetation.

Tropical grassland biome, also called savanna biome, is a terrestrial biome that features vast open spaces consisting of scattered small shrubs and trees. Savanna biomes support some of the world’s most recognizable species such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, gazelles, elephants, giraffes, wildebeests and warthogs.

Table of Contents

  • Climate
  • Precipitation
  • Location
  • Plants
  • Animals


The climate in savanna biome varies depending on the season. It has a distinct wet and dry season. The dry season comes during winter. Savanna biome receives all its rain during summer. In the dry season, most plants wither and die. Some streams and rivers also dry up. A large percentage of animals migrate over long distances to search for food.

During the wet season (summer), all plants blossom and streams and rivers flow freely. Animals migrate back to enjoy the flourishing plants. The dry season in the savanna is usually cooler.

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The savanna biome has a characteristic temperature range of 68 to 86 degree Fahrenheit or 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. The summer experiences a temperature range of 78 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. The winter experiences a temperature range of 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. According to this information, it’s easy to see why temperatures in the savanna biome do not change significantly. When temperatures do change, it’s only gradual and not drastic.

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The tropical savanna biome is characterized by two distinct seasons in regard to precipitation; the dry season and the wet season. The dry season typically occurs from October to January and typically experiences just 4 inches of rainfall. In the wet season (summer), the savanna biome experiences 20-30 inches of rainfall. Nonetheless, a lot of evaporation takes place in this biome, which is higher than the amount of precipitation.


Savanna biomes cover up to half of Africa, huge areas of Australia, South America, as well as India. In Africa, savanna biomes are predominant in East Africa, typically acacia savannas. Many are found in popular game reserves of Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. The Serengeti savanna biome in Tanzania and Masai Mara savanna biome in Kenya are the most popular savanna biomes in Africa.


Savanna biome plants have developed unique adaptations to survive in this environment of long duration of drought. They consist of long taproots that reach the water table, trunks that are able to store water, thick and strong barks to resist wild and human-instigated fires and leaves that naturally drop off during winter months in order to conserve water. Some of the grass species that flourish in the savanna biome include red oat grass, Rhodes grass, lemon grass, star grass, and a few shrubs. Some tree species are also scattered in the savanna including acacia trees, pine trees, and palm trees. Here is a deep look at some of the plant species in the savanna biome:

Senegal gum acacia

(Video) Biomes

Found in the African savanna grassland biome. It’s a small to average sized thorn tree that has the ability to grow up to 20 meters tall. Senegal gum acacia has a characteristic grey-green color, with yellow or cream-colored flowers, which grow on spikes slightly above the thorns. The flowers eventually turn to seed pods of approximately 8 inches long and 3 inches wide.

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Elephant grass

A tall grass native to Africa and grows in dense clumps of about 10 feet tall. Those growing in the African savannas are found along beds of lakes and rivers, where the soil is characteristically rich. The locals utilize this grass to feed their animals.

Umbrella thorn acacia

The umbrella thorn acacia is, by far, the most recognizable plants of the African savanna biome. Umbrella thorn acacia mainly grows in rocky ground and sand dunes of African grasslands. It thrives in areas that experience annual precipitation of as low as 4cms, and can endure temperatures of 122 degrees Fahrenheit in the day, as well as freezing night temperatures.

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Bermuda grass

Bermuda grass loves the sun. It flourishes in open spaces characterized by lots of disturbances such as fire, grazing, and flooding. This grass has also been found growing in the understories of open woodland and orchards, as well as in pastures. When temperatures dip, it immediately turns brown. It acquires a scintillating green color throughout the year in warmer tropics if southern Bermuda.

River Bushwillow

This tree species love warm and dry climate. River Bushwillow can grow up to 35 feet tall. The tree branches grow exponentially at an upright angle. It has developed incredible adaptations such a thick bark to shield itself from natural and human instigated forest fires, hydrophilic root system to reach the depths of the water table and dropping of leaves during dry spells to conserve water and energy.

Manketti tree

This tree thrives in the African savanna biome. The area that it grows is filled with other tree species. Also, its habitat doesn’t get enough rainfall, so it can’t be considered as a prairie. The manketti tree likes hot and dry climates characterized by low quantities of rainfall. It predominantly grows in sand dunes and wooden hills. Manketti typically grows upwards. It has the ability to grow up to 15 to 20 meters tall.

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Other trees and fruits found in the savanna biome include abal, baobab, beech, marula, raising bush, common guarri, wild melon and monkey orange.


There is a huge diversity of animals existing in the savanna biome, and they vary depending on the geographic location of the biome. Animals that live in the African savanna include herbivores such as buffalos, zebras, wildebeests, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, warthogs, elands, gazelles, impalas, kudu, and oryx.

The savanna biome is also home to carnivores, which thrive due to the abundance of herbivores. Examples of carnivores found in this savanna biome include lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, servals, jackals and wild dogs.

During the rainy seasons, reproduction is rampant, and so animals are abundant. However, the rainy season occurs only half the year. When the dry season knocks, surface water from rainfall is rapidly absorbed into the ground by the soils. At this time, the competition for water is so intense that most birds and animal migrate elsewhere in search of the precious commodity. The migration may be long distances or nearby depending on the intensity of the drought. The dry season is also characterized by wildfires. Most insects die in these fires due to the inability to escape fast enough.

Animals and birds, on the other hand, are always able to run fast enough before fire catches up with them. Small burrowing animals are also able to survive incidences of wildfires despite the fact that they cannot outrun the flames. They dig deep into the earth and stay there until the flames have died down. Certain birds like Fork-tailed Dragons never escape the fires. In fact, they fly close to the fires. For these bird species, wildfire is a perfect opportunity to get food. They catch the fleeing insects.

(Video) Seasons

Photo by: pixabay


Where are tropical savanna biomes located? ›

c) Tropical Savannas are found in Australia and South America, but the largest tropical savannas are found in Central and East Africa.

Where is the tropical grassland biome located? ›

Tropical grasslands include the hot savannas of sub-Saharan Africa and northern Australia. Rainfall can vary across grasslands from season to season and year to year, ranging from 25.4 too 101.6 centimeters (10 to 40 inches) annually.

What is the climate of a tropical savanna? ›

Climate: A tropical wet and dry climate predominates in areas covered by savanna growth. Mean monthly temperatures are at or above 64° F and annual precipitation averages between 30 and 50 inches. For at least five months of the year, during the dry season, less than 4 inches a month are received.

What is the climate in tropical grasslands? ›

Tropical grasslands have dry and wet seasons that remain warm all the time. Temperate grasslands have cold winters and warm summers with some rain. The grasses die back to their roots annually and the soil and the sod protect the roots and the new buds from the cold of winter or dry conditions.

What plants are in a savanna? ›

PLANTS: The savanna is dominated by grasses such as Rhodes grass, red oats grass, star grass, lemon grass, and some shrubs. Most savanna grass is coarse and grows in patches with interspersed areas of bare ground. You won't see many trees in the savanna because of little rainfall.

Where is savanna grassland located? ›

The largest areas of savanna are found in Africa, South America, Australia, India, the Myanmar (Burma)–Thailand region in Asia, and Madagascar.

Are there seasons in the savanna? ›

Savannas are highly seasonal systems, meaning they alternate between a wet season with heavy rainfalls and a dry season with little to no rainfall. During the wet season, grazers enjoy bountiful plant growth.

Is the savanna hot or dry? ›

In general, savannas grow in tropical regions 8° to 20° from the Equator. Conditions are warm to hot in all seasons, but significant rainfall occurs for only a few months each year—about October to March in the Southern Hemisphere and April to September in the Northern Hemisphere.

Is the savanna biome cold? ›

Unlike the prairies in North America and steppes in Eurasia, which would feature cold winters, savannahs are mostly located in areas having warm to hot climates, such as those in Africa, Australia, Thailand, South America and India.

Which plant is found in grassland? ›

PLANTS: Grasses dominate temperate grasslands. Trees and large shrubs are rarely found in grassland areas. There are many species of grasses that live in this biome, including, purple needlegrass, wild oats, foxtail, ryegrass, and buffalo grass.

What are the 4 types of grasslands? ›

Types of Grassland ecosystems
  • Desert Grasslands.
  • Flooded Grasslands.
  • Montane Grasslands.
  • Tropical Grasslands.
  • Temperate Grasslands.

What do savanna animals eat? ›

Many types of grazing mammals are found in the savanna. Grazing animals are animals that eat grass. Grazing animals live there because large amounts of grass covers the land. Zebras, wildebeests, elephants, giraffes, ostriches, gazelles and buffalo are all grazing animals.

How do savanna plants survive? ›

Plant Adaptations

In trees, most savanna adaptations are to drought--long tap roots to reach the deep water table, thick bark for resistance to annual fires (thus palms are prominent in many areas), deciduousness to avoid moisture loss during the dry season, and use of the trunk as a water-storage organ (as in baobab).

What eats plants in the savanna? ›

Because the savanna is so rich in grasses and tree life, many large herbivores (plant eaters) live here and congregate in large herds. These include zebras, wildebeests, elephants, giraffes, ostriches, gazelles, and buffalo. Of course, where you have lots of herbivores, there must be predators.

What biome is savanna? ›

A savanna is a rolling grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees, which can be found between a tropical rainforest and desert biome. Not enough rain falls on a savanna to support forests. Savannas are also known as tropical grasslands.

What savanna means? ›

: a treeless plain especially in Florida. : a tropical or subtropical grassland (as of eastern Africa or northern South America) containing scattered trees and drought-resistant undergrowth. : a temperate grassland with scattered trees (such as oaks)

What is savanna and examples? ›

Some examples of savanna habitat are the East African plains, the South American pampas, and the open woodlands of northern Australia. The savanna is home to large herds of grazing wildlife and the predators that follow them.

Does it snow in the savanna? ›

Also in Savannah there is a 50% chance of precipitation being drier than usual. Other areas in Georgia have 33-40% of precipitation being drier than usual. Savannah averages zero inches of snow a year.

Does the desert have 4 seasons? ›

There are four types of deserts: subtropical deserts are hot and dry year-round; coastal deserts have cool winters and warm summers; cold winter deserts have long, dry summers and low rainfall in the winter; polar deserts are cold year-round.

Is a savanna a desert? ›

No, savannas are not deserts; this is because they are a transitional biome between deserts and rainforests. Desert biomes have arid conditions with low precipitation and clear skies, which is not the case with the savanna.

Can the desert be cold? ›

People often use the adjectives “hot,” “dry,” and “empty” to describe deserts, but these words do not tell the whole story. Although some deserts are very hot, with daytime temperatures as high as 54°C (130°F), other deserts have cold winters or are cold year-round.

How do savannah fires start? ›

These fires are usually lit by cattle farmers as part of their traditional management of the Savannas where their animals graze. Some fires are started to stimulate new growth of nutritious grass for their animals, others are used to control the numbers of parasitic ticks or manage the growth of thorny scrub.

Do people live in savanna? ›

Many peoples live in the savannahs: the Nubians in the upper Sudanese Nubia, the Kualngo and the Akan in the Ivory Coast, the Bushmen and the Hottentots in Namibia. The Masai The best known people of this habitat are the Masai.

What is savanna made of? ›

Savanna is naturally brewed, matured and made from the Granny Smith Apples grown in the Elgin area in the Westen Cape of South Africa.

How is a savanna formed? ›

Savannas can result from either climate, soil conditions, animal behavior, or agricultural practices, which limit the occurrence of trees. Humans create savannas by burning the grasslands and felling the trees in order to plant crops.

What causes a savanna? ›

Savannas are the tropical version of the temperate grasslands. Most savannas are caused by climatic patterns where there is a strong dry season for a large part of the year. Few trees survive in these regions, but most savannas do have some form of trees that scatter the landscape.

Is there water in the savanna? ›

Savannas typically get very little rain – about 4 inches (100 mm) of rain – in the dry season, and they will often not get any rainfall at all for many months. This is a long time for plants to go without water, which is why you don't see many trees. However, the wet season gets lots of rain.

What kind of soil is in the savanna? ›

The savannas are grasslands that have several months of dryness, followed by a rainy season. A majority of the soils in this area are Alfisols and Ultisols. These soils are very old and low in fertility, but since there is a dry season, more of the nutrients can stay in place.

Is the savanna grassland hot? ›

Because it is in the tropical latitudes that is still hot enough. The savanna climate has a temperature range of 68° to 86° F (20° - 30° C). In the winter, it is usually about 68° to 78° F (20° - 25° C). In the summer the temperature ranges from 78° to 86° F (25° - 30° C).

What food grows in grasslands? ›

The productivity of grasslands makes them suitable for grazing and crop growing. All the major food grains corn, wheat, oats, barley, millet, rye and sorghum are produced in grasslands. Grazing grasslands eg sheep and cattle also produces food including meat and milk.

Does the grassland have flowers? ›

Flowers include asters, blazing stars, coneflowers, goldenrods, sunflowers, clovers, psoraleas, and wild indigos. Precipitation in the temperate grasslands usually occurs in the late spring and early summer.

What trees are in grasslands? ›

Trees that grow on the North American prairie include red oaks, Burr oaks and plains cottonwoods. Many of these trees mark where homesteads were many years ago. The North American prairie has enough precipitation to support grasses, but generally not many trees, since drought and fire inhibit their growth.

What are 5 characteristics of grasslands? ›

key characteristics of the grassland ecosystem:
  • Limited annual rainfall.
  • The dry climate throughout the year.
  • Lack of nutrients in the soil.
  • Grasslands are prone to drought and uncertain precipitation.
  • Frequent fire due to semi-arid climate and flash lighting.
  • Poor vegetation growth dominated by grasses.
24 Apr 2020

What are grasslands 6? ›

A large area of land covered mainly with trees and plants is called a forest. And a large area of grass covered land used for grazing is called grassland. There are few trees or places for animals to hide in grassland habitats.

Who is the largest animal in world? ›

The Antarctic blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus ssp. Intermedia) is the biggest animal on the planet, weighing up to 400,000 pounds (approximately 33 elephants) and reaching up to 98 feet in length.

What do grassland animals eat? ›

Grazers like zebra and wildebeest eat grass and little else. Browsers like dik-diks and giraffes nibble on leaves and shrubs—collectively called “browse”. Some animals, like elephants and impala, go for both.

Why is fire important for grasslands? ›

Fire is a natural part of the grassland ecosystem and helps maintain its health and vigor. It warms up the soil and reduces the leaf litter that accumulates each year, allowing sunlight to penetrate.

What countries have tropical savanna? ›

Tropical savannas extend throughout the majority of northern South America (Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana).

What countries are savanna biomes? ›

  • Africa: Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, and Namibia.
  • Australia.
  • Central America: Belize and Honduras.
  • South America: Venezuela and Columbia.
  • Southern Asia.

What countries have a savannah biome? ›

It covers Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D'ivore, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, and South Africa.

Which animals lives in savannah? ›

The African savannah, the savannah with which most people are familiar, is home to a wide variety of animals. A short list of some of those animals includes wildebeest, warthogs, elephants, zebras, rhinos, gazelles, hyenas, cheetahs, lions, leopards, ostrich, mousebirds, starlings, and weavers.

What is an example of a savanna? ›

Some examples of savanna habitat are the East African plains, the South American pampas, and the open woodlands of northern Australia. The savanna is home to large herds of grazing wildlife and the predators that follow them.

What is a savanna for kids? ›

Savannahs are flat grasslands with scattered trees and shrubs. They're usually found near to the equator (the halfway point between the north and south parts of the Earth). This part of the world gets more direct sunlight than anywhere else, so the temperature is warm, all year round!


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