Terrestrial Habitats

Habitat is referred to locations in a natural ecosystem where different plants and animals live together. A habitat also encompasses different abiotic factors such as landscape, water, slope etc. Habitats clubbed together creates an ecosystem in which a community of organisms engages in interaction with other species as well as the environment. 

Terrestrial Habitat Meaning

Terrestrial habitats are geolocations such as grasslands and deserts, and includes man-made habitation. Such habitats are predominantly located on land. Man-made habitats can be biosphere or national parks. 

Let us look at various types of terrestrial habitats before discussing other topics like what are terrestrial animals.

Types of Terrestrial Habitats 

The adaptation of terrestrial animals and plants are dependent on the type of habitat they live in. 

Terrestrial habitats are mainly of four types –

1. Forests 

It has a dense tree population with significantly high precipitation. Tropical rainforests are home to several different types of animal species. However, habitat features vary across tropical deciduous forests, temperate deciduous forests and coastal coniferous forests among others. 

2. Grasslands 

Grasslands are divided into savannas, prairies and tundra. Precipitation varies across these grasslands and trees are usually very scarce.

3. Deserts 

Deserts receive very less rainfall, usually approximately 25 cm. Animals living in deserts are largely nocturnal and forage for food at night. 

4. Mountains 

Mountainous ecosystem comprises different ecologies such as forest regions, valleys, meadows and peaks.

Terrestrial Habitat Plants 

Before proceeding with the characteristics, let us take a look at what are terrestrial plants. 

Plants that grow on or from land are called terrestrial plants. It is categorised based on physical conditions. Those are –

  1. Mesophyte 

Mesophytes grow on moist temperatures and retain the characteristics of a well-developed root, shoot and vascular system.  

  1. Xerophyte 

Xerophytes grow in a hot and dry habitat, usually common in deserts. Their stems are fleshy and thick for storing water. The small leaves also help in reducing transpiration. 

Terrestrial Habitat Animals 

Let us revisit what are terrestrial animals before moving forward with various characteristics. 

Animals living predominantly over land are terrestrial animals. Terrestrial animals adopt various characteristics based on their habitat. Those are –

  1. Desert Animals 

Desert animals like camel and rodents have thick skin, and also have organs for water storage.

  1. Aerial Animals 

Aerial animals have streamlined bodies and forelimbs which have developed as wings. 

  1. Arboreal Animals 

Arboreal animals such as squirrels and chameleons have a curved body that helps in climbing and a muscular chest for moving between branches.

  1. Fossorial Animals 

These are burrowing animals like rats and rabbits, which have short forelimbs, and the head is in the form of a snout.

  1. Cursorial Animals 

Cursorial animals like deer and horses live and move on hard open ground. They usually have strong legs with locomotion being digitigrade.

Did You Know?

Grassland biomes are home to some of the largest animals. Such biomes include savannas and temperate grasslands. It is home to large grazing animals like bison, elephants, and rhinoceros, among others. The vegetation of grassland is favourable for both small and large herbivores. 

Test Yourself 

i. How Does Adaptation Help Animals? 

(a)  To survive in their habitats 

(b) To stay safe from predators 

(c)  To hunt for food 

(d) All of the above 

ii.  Which Among the Following is an Example of Terrestrial Habitat?

(a)  Deciduous forest 

(b)  Tropical rainforests 

(c)  Deserts 

(d) All of the above 

[To check your answer, see the solution mentioned at the end of the article]

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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are some Examples of Terrestrial Animals?

Ans. Terrestrial animals are varied. Some of those are – giraffes, spiders, snakes, monkeys, lions, flies, cows, ants, cats and dogs, among others.

2. What are some Characteristics of Terrestrial Animals?

Ans. The characteristics of terrestrial animals usually vary with the place of their habitation.

some characteristics are - (i) open space animals have strong limbs, (ii) burrowing animals have short forelimbs, (iii) arboreal animals have curved ribs, (iv) aerial animals have hollow and spongy bones, (v) desert animals have thick skin to prevent water loss.

3. What is a Terrestrial Habitat?

Ans. Terrestrial habitats may be naturally occurring such as grasslands, forests, deserts, wetlands and shorelines among others. 


i. (d) All of the above 

ii. (d) All of the above