The African Savanna

Africa's tropical savanna is much warmer than the American prairie. Broad areas of coarse grass grow here, along with low shrubs and small, scattered trees.

Giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, ostriches, African elephants, and a host of other animals coexist here. They feed on different parts of the grasslands. After feasting on an area, the animals move on, seeking fresh supplies of food.

The savanna has predators too. Lions and hyenas are especially dangerous to other animals.

NATURE STATS

A Really Big Bird

The ostrich is the world's biggest bird. It grows up to 9 feet (275 cm) tall. These native African birds cannot fly, but they can run up to 44 miles per hour (70 km/h).Now that's fast!

GET ACTIVE!

Zoo Safari

The next time you visit a zoo, note which animals come from the African savanna. See who in your group catches sight of the most savanna animals.

Also check out the type of enclosure the animals have. Forty years ago, small cages with bars were common in zoos. In recent decades, American zoos have made enclosures more like the animals'natural habitats. Landscaping similar to where the animal lives in nature makes the animals more comfortable. And it helps us understand these creatures and their habitats better.

Zoos do more than simply display animals. Many zoos support captive breeding programs for species that are threatened or endangered. Zoos also encourage conservation and teach people to respect the environment.

Find out what educational programs your local zoo has for kids. These programs not only teach you about animals, but they're lots of fun.

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