What Animals Live In The Taiga?

What Animals Live In The Taiga?

A taiga landscape in Russia.

The taiga or boreal forests is a biome characterized by coniferous forests with pines, larches, and spruces as the dominant vegetation. In North America, the taiga biome encompasses Alaska, large parts of inland Canada, and northern extremes of continental US. In Eurasia, the taiga biome covers large parts of Finland, Sweden, Norway, coastal Iceland, Russia, northern Mongolia, northern Kazakhstan, and northern Japan.

The summer temperatures, dominant species, the length of the growing season, and other related aspects vary in the different taiga ecoregions of the world.

The harsh climate of the taiga does not allow a great diversity of species to inhabit this biome. Species living in the taiga are well adapted to survive the extreme winter temperatures. Here we present a list of «What Animals Live In The Taiga?” that includes some of the notable species of this biome. They are as follows:

18. Reptiles Of Taiga —

Very few species of reptiles inhabit the cold taiga habitat. The frigid winters and short summers offer a great challenge to the cold-blooded reptiles in the taiga. The red-sided garter snake and the European adder are two species of snakes whose range stretches as far north as the taiga regions of North America and Europe, respectively. These snakes hibernate during the winter to avoid death in the harsh environment.

17. Amphibians Of Taiga —

Like reptiles, the cold-blooded amphibians also find it difficult to inhabit the cold taiga environment. The fact that these animals cannot regulate their body temperature, unlike the warm-blooded animals, makes them easily vulnerable to winters in taiga environs. Only a few species of frogs (northern leopard frog, wood frog), toads (American and Canadian toad), and salamanders (blue-spotted salamander, Siberian salamander, and the northern two-lined salamander) are found in the taiga. Most of these amphibians hibernate underground during the winter season.

16. Fish Of Taiga —

The fish found in the water bodies of the Taiga region are less diverse in nature that those found in other warmer regions of the world. These fish are well-adapted to survive in cold water and also survive when the water at the surface remains frozen during winter. Some common fish species found in the taiga habitat include Alaska blackfish, lake and round whitefish, brook trout, Siberian taimen, walleye, white and longnose sucker, chum salmon, cisco, lake chub, lenok, etc.

15. Otters —

The North American otter and the European otter are two species of otters found in the taiga biome of North America and Europe respectively. The former is endemic to North America and is a semi-aquatic species found near coasts and waterways. They weigh between 5 and 14 kg. They possess a water repellant coat that protects them in water. The otters feed primarily on fish. However, amphibians, snails, clams, mussels, and occasionally small mammals and birds also form the prey base of these creatures.

14. Birds Of Taiga —

As per estimates, about 60% of the bird population of North America that is found north of the border of Mexico, inhabits the boreal forests or the taiga region. Many of these birds are migratory in nature, migrating southwards during the winter season to warmer grounds. The common goldeneye, common loon, common tern, herring gull, bufflehead, spruce grouse, etc., are some of the avian species that are heavily reliant on the boreal forests for their survival. Threats to these forests threaten the existence of these birds.

13. Rodents And Rabbits Of Taiga —

A large number of rodents and rabbits inhabit the taiga biome of the world. Beavers, squirrels, voles, rats, and mice being some of the rodents living in the taiga habitat. These rodents are a vital part of the food chain and are the food source for a number of taiga carnivores like weasels, minks, stoats, lynx, coyotes, and others. Among rabbits and hares that inhabit the taiga region, the snowshoe hare finds a special mention. The snowshoe hare weighs about 3-4 pounds and measures about 36 to 52 cm. These hares possess a thick brown coat in summer which turns to a white, wooly coat in winter. Like the rodents, these animals are also an important food source for a number of taiga predators.

12. American Marten —

The American marten (Martes americana) inhabits a wide range from arctic Alaska and Canada in the north to Mexico in the south. Its range also stretches from Newfoundland in eastern Canada to California in the western US. In Canada and Alaska, the marten inhabits the coniferous and mixed forests of the taiga biome. By the end of the 20th century, the population of this species was severely reduced due to indiscriminate hunting for its fur. However, intense conservation efforts helped revive the population of the American marten. Today, deforestation continue to threaten the sustained survival of this species.

11. Weasel —

Weasels are small, active predators with slender bodies and short legs. Weasels usually possess a red or brown upper coat and white bellies. Weasels feed on small mammals, especially rodents. Sometimes, weasel populations are regarded as vermins when they attack at poultry farms or rabbits in commercial warrens.

10. Mink —

The minks of North America and Europe are heavily exploited for fur. These animals are either caught from the wild or reared in mink farms for their fur. Mink killing for fur is a highly controversial subject, and the practice is a focus of many animal right activities. The minks are semiaquatic, small, carnivorous animals. Minks feed on frogs, small mammals, waterfowl, and crayfish during summer. During winter, minks prey primarily on small mammals like mice, rabbits, and shrews. Though birds of prey, coyotes, and other carnivores might occasionally predate on these creatures, their agile and secretive nature allows them to avoid most such predators on many occasions.

9. Stoat —

The stoat is a mammal of the Mustelidae family that is widely distributed across Eurasia and North America. Rodents and lagomorphs are the primary diet of this carnivorous species. Birds, amphibians, lizards, and insects are also occasionally consumed by these creatures. An opportunistic predator, the stoat searches every burrow and hole for signs of prey species. They can also climb trees to access the nests of birds. Stoats kill by damaging the spine of their prey.

8. Moose —

Moose (Alces alces) are the largest species of the deer family living today and deserves to be enlisted in the list of «What Animals Live In The Taiga?» Once widespread across the temperate and sub-arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, today the population of moose is highly reduced due to hunting and habitat destruction. Today, they occur in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, and the boreal forests of North America and Eurasia. In Eurasia, they are referred to as elk. Gray wolves and bears are the most common predators of moose. Moose are solitary creatures and meet only during the mating season. They can behave aggressively when confronted. Forbs and other non-grasses and shoots of birches and willows form the primary diet of these herbivores.

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7. Caribou —

Caribou is a large herbivore of the species Rangifer tarandus. Several subspecies, ecotypes, and populations of caribou are distributed across North America. The Peary caribou is the smallest among them while the boreal woodland caribou is the largest in size. These animals are widespread across the northern parts of US and Canada where they occupy the tundra and taiga biomes. The caribou feeds on lichens, leaves of birches and willows, grasses, and sedges.

6. Elk —

The elk (Cervus canadensis) is a large species of deer found in the taiga ecoregion of North America and Eastern Asia. The elks migrate north during spring as snow recedes, and during winter, they migrate in the opposite direction. These herbivorous species consume tree barks during winter and foliage during spring and summer. Humans exploit these species for their meat and velvety antlers. The antlers of the elk are utilized for preparing traditional medicine in parts of East Asia. Though the elks have a widespread distribution currently, indiscriminate hunting might also put its survival at stake in the future.

5. Roe Deer —

The European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and the Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) are found across the taiga region in northern Europe and Asia. The former species is found from Britain in the west to the Caucacus in the east, and from the Mediterranean region in the south to the Scandinavian region in the north. The Siberian roe deer is found in parts of northeastern Asia including Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, mountainous region of Kyrgyzstan, northeastern parts of China, and the Korean Peninsula. The roe deer feed on plant parts like leaves, roots, shoots, etc. They also

4. Lynx —

The Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) are two species of lynx that finds mention in our list of «What Animals Live In The Taiga?» These creatures inhabit the taiga belt of their respective continents. The Canada lynx is over twice the size of a domesticated cat, has a silvery-white coat, tufted ears, and ruffed face. Snowshoe hares form the biggest part of the diet of these wild cats. The Eurasian lynx is larger in size that the Canada lynx, 31 to 51 in long and 24–30 in tall. The lynx species possess a reddish or brownish coat with black spots on the fur in summer. In winter, it adorns a thick, silky, silver-gray or grayish brown fur. The Eurasian lynx feeds on a variety of mammals like hares, squirrels, rodents, red foxes, young deer species, etc.

3. Wolves And Foxes —

The gray wolf (Canis lupus), coyote (Canis latrans), and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) are all found in the taiga habitat of the world. The gray wolf is found across the taiga wilderness of North America and Eurasia, the red fox occurs in North America, North Africa, and Eurasia south of the Arctic Circle, and the coyote is found exclusively in North America. Rodents, rabbits, hares, birds, reptiles, amphibians, etc., form the prey base of these inhabitants of the taiga.

2. Bears (Brown/Black/Polar) —

Brown bear, American and Asiatic black bear, and polar bear are all found in taiga habitat across North America, Europe, and Asia. Polar bears are the northernmost of these bear species and are usually found beyond the Arctic Circle. The brown bear is a large terrestrial carnivore with a wide distribution in North America and Eurasia. It is found in parts of US (especially Alaska), Canada, Russia, China, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Carpathian region. The Asian black bear inhabits the taiga habitat of northeastern China, Russia, Taiwan, parts of Japan, and also the Himalayan mountain region in the Indian subcontinent. The North American black bear is widely distributed across the forested land in Canada and US.

1. Siberian Tiger —

One of the most iconic species of the taiga definitely finds mention in our list of «What Animals Live In The Taiga?» The endangered Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) once occupied large parts of taiga habitat in eastern Russia, north-eastern China, Korea, and Eastern Mongolia. Currently, only a small population of the Siberian tiger remains in the Primorye Province and the Sikhote Alin mountain region in far-eastern Russia. Years of indiscriminate poaching has severely reduced the Siberian tiger population. Intense conservation efforts attempted to improve the status of the Siberian tigers bore some success when the number of these tigers increased to 480-540 from 331-393 adult and subadult tigers. Siberian musk deer, Siberian roe deer, Manchurian sika deer, moose, hares, pikas, rabbits, etc., are some of the prey species of the Siberian tiger.

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habitat

A habitat is a place where an organism makes its home

Biology, Geography, Physical Geography

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A habitat is a place where an organism makes its home. A habitat meets all the environmental conditions an organism needs to survive. For an animal, that means everything it needs to find and gather food, select a mate, and successfully reproduce.

For a plant, a good habitat must provide the right combination of light, air, water, and soil. For example, the prickly pear cactus, which is adapted for sandy soil, dry climates, and bright sunlight, grows well in desert areas like the Sonoran Desert in northwest Mexico. It would not thrive in wet, cool areas with a large amount of overcast (shady) weather, like the U.S. states of Oregon or Washington.

The main components of a habitat are shelter, water, food, and space. A habitat is said to have a suitable arrangement when it has the correct amount of all of these. Sometimes, a habitat can meet some components of a suitable arrangement, but not all.

For example, a habitat for a puma could have the right amount of food (deer, porcupine, rabbits, and rodents), water (a lake, river, or spring), and shelter (trees or dens on the forest floor). The puma habitat would not have a suitable arrangement, however, if it lacks enough space for this large predator to establish its own territory. An animal might lose this component of habitat—space—when humans start building homes and businesses, pushing an animal into an area too small for it to survive.

Space

The amount of space an organism needs to thrive varies widely from species to species. For example, the common carpenter ant needs only a few square inches for an entire colony to develop tunnels, find food, and complete all the activities it needs to survive. In contrast, cougars are very solitary, territorial animals that need a large amount of space. Cougars can cover 455 square kilometers (175 square miles) of land to hunt and find a mate. A cougar could not survive in the same amount of space that a carpenter ant needs.

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Plants need space, too. Coast redwood trees, like the ones in Redwood National Park in the U.S. state of California, can reach more than 4.5 meters (15 feet) in diameter and 106 meters (350 feet) in height. A tree that massive would not have enough space to grow and thrive in a typical community park or yard.

Space is not the same as range; the range of an animal is the part of the world it inhabits. Grassland, for example, is the habitat of the giraffe, but the animal’s range is central, eastern, and southern Africa.

Food

The availability of food is a crucial part of a habitat’s suitable arrangement. For example, in the northern part of the U.S. state of Minnesota, black bears eat mostly plants, like clover, dandelions, and blueberries. If there were a drought, plants would become scarce. Even though the habitat would still have space (large forest), shelter (caves, forest floor), water (streams and lakes), and some food, it wouldn’t have enough to eat. It would no longer be a suitable arrangement.

Too much food can also disrupt a habitat. Algae is a microscopic aquatic organism that makes its own food through the process of photosynthesis. Nutrients like phosphorous contribute to the spread of algae. When a freshwater habitat has a sharp increase in phosphorous, algae “blooms,” or reproduces quickly. Algae also dies very quickly, and the decaying algae produces an algal bloom. The algal bloom can discolor the water, turning it green, red, or brown. Algal blooms can also absorb oxygen from the water, destroying the habitat of organisms like fish and plants. Excess nutrients for algae can destroy the habitat’s food chain.

Water

Water is essential to all forms of life. Every habitat must have some form of a water supply. Some organisms need a lot of water, while others need very little. For example, dromedary camels are known for their ability to carry goods and people for long distances without needing much water. Dromedary camels, which have one hump, can travel 161 kilometers (100 miles) without a drink of water. Even with very little access to water in a hot, dry climate, dromedary camels have a suitable arrangement in northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Cattails, on the other hand, are plants that grow best in wet areas, like marshes and swamps. Dense colonies of these tall, spiky plants grow directly in the mud beneath lakes, stream banks, and even neighborhood ponds. A cattail habitat’s suitable arrangement depends on water. Imagine a pond at the bottom of a dirt-covered cliff. If enough loose dirt slid down into the pond, it could fill up the pond and absorb the water, not leaving enough for the cattails to grow.

Shelter

An organism’s shelter protects it from predators and weather. Shelter also provides a space for eating, sleeping, hunting, and raising a family. Shelters come in many forms. A single tree, for example, can provide sheltered habitats for many different organisms. For a caterpillar, shelter might be the underside of a leaf. For a mushroom fungus, shelter might be the cool, damp area near tree roots. For a bald eagle, shelter may be a high perch to make a nest and watch for food.

Photograph by Sergio Molina, Your Shot

Red-Eyed Tree Frog
The red-eyed tree frogs habitat is in tropical areas from southern Mexico to northern South America. Although they are not endangered, their habitat is growing smaller. If their rainforest home continues to shrink, the red-eyed tree frog will not have the space it needs to survive.

www.nationalgeographic.org

Taiga tick — a danger to humans, a description of the lifestyle and habitat

LOCATION: Taiga, also known as coniferous or boreal forest, is the largest terrestrial biome on earth. It extends in a broad band across North America, Europe, and Asia to the southern border of the arctic tundra. It is also found at cool, high elevations in the more temperate latitudes, for example, in much of the mountainous western region of North America. Much of the taiga in North America was once covered with glaciers. As the glaciers receded, cuts and depressions were left in the landscape that have since filled with rain creating lakes and bogs.

WEATHER: Long, cold winters, and short, mild, wet summers are typical of this region. In the winter, chilly winds from the arctic cause bitterly cold weather in the taiga. The length of day also varies with the seasons. Winter days are short, while summer days are long because of the tilt of the earth on its axis. Fire is not uncommon in the taiga during the summer. Fires may seem destructive, but they actually help this biome by removing old sick trees, making room for new growth. Precipitation is relatively high in the taiga and falls as snow during the winter and rain during the summer. The total yearly precipitation in the taiga biome is 10 — 30 inches (25 — 75 cm).

PLANTS: Compared to other biomes, the taiga has less diversity in plant life. The most common type of tree found in the taiga is the conifer, or cone-bearing tree. Conifers, also known as evergreens, include pines, spruces and firs. There may also occasionally be deciduous species present, such as oak, birch, willow, or alder, in a particularly wet or disturbed area. The soil in the taiga is thin, acidic and not very nutrient rich. It also is rocky. Due to these factors, plants in the taiga have different adaptations than the plants we find around Santa Barbara.

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What is Environmental Pollution?

Pollution is the contamination of the environment by introduction of contaminants that can cause damage to environment and harm or discomfort to humans or other living species. It is the addition of another form of any substance or form of energy to the environment at a rate faster than the environment can accommodate it by dispersion, breakdown, recycling, or storage in some harmless form.

Environmental pollution is one the greatest challenges that the world is facing today. It began since industrial revolution, increasing day by day and causing irreparable damage to Mother Earth. Environmental pollution has its own causes, effects and solutions. Looking into these will help you identify the causes and what steps you can take to mitigate those effects. Broadly, environmental pollution consists of six basic types of pollution, i.e. air, water, land, soil, noise, and light.

When people think of environmental pollution, most focus on fossil fuel and carbon emissions, but there are different contributing factors. Chemical pollution in bodies of water contributes to illnesses. Electromagnetic pollution has effects on human health but is uncommonly considered in present times despite the fact we essentially expose ourselves to it on a daily basis. Taking a look at causes and effects of environmental pollution will pull any mind on a rapid downward spiral. Solutions are in the works and, if we work together across the world, there is hope remaining, at least for the time being.

The environment will continue to deteriorate until pollution practices are abandoned.

Causes of Environmental Pollution

  • Pollution from cars, trucks, and other vehicles is and has been our major environmental pollution issue for almost a century now. The problem is we did not realize this until the problem had manifested to monumental proportions.
  • Fossil fuel emissions from power plants which burn coal as fuel contributed heavily, along with vehicles burning fossil fuels, to the production of smog. Smog is the result of fossil fuel combustion combined with sunlight and heat. The result is a toxic gas which now surrounds our once pristine planet. This is known as “ozone smog” and means we have more problems down here than we do in the sky.
  • Carbon dioxide is another product from all of the vehicles on the planet as well as unreformed power plants and other industrial facilities. A continually growing population of humans and clear cutting of forests has exacerbated this problem so natural defenses are no longer present and carbon dioxide levels are on the rise.
  • Water pollution is a major issue. Many industries dump wastes into rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams in an attempt to hide wastes from EPA inspectors. These water sources feed major crops and food becomes contaminated with a variety of chemicals and bacteria, causing rampant health problems.
  • Radiation comes into play as well. This is an exceedingly nasty pollution issue and requires extensive description. Primarily, there is radiation from the sun. As the natural ozone layer around the Earth has become depleted. The sun is wonderful, but the only reason we are able to survive on this planet so close to the sun is due to the fact of natural shielding against solar radiation. As the protective ozone layer around the planet has become thinner, ultraviolet radiation has risen significantly, causing increases in skin cancers and other types of cancer in all countries, killing millions of people every year.
  • More radiation is a problem. The sun shining brightly on a naked planet is not the only source of radiation we are exposed to. Electromagnetic radiation is another insidious culprit. Once upon a time, the major concern around this type of radiation was due to high tension wires which carry huge amounts of electricity to cities. Now, we even carry sources of this radiation with us as cell phones, laptops, tablets and other wireless devices.
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Effects of Environmental Pollution

  • The polluting gases mentioned above have an interesting effect on climate. Essentially, these gases form a veil around the planet which holds heat in, increasing the overall temperature of the planet. The rise in planetary temperature, or global warming, is not immediately noticeable. However, even a rise of a few degrees Centigrade causes catastrophic changes in weather. This is happening now.
  • Pollen has increased. It is ironic, but even with fewer trees in the world; the increase of carbon dioxide emissions induces plants such as ragweed and many trees to produce more pollen than ever before. This has resulted in rampant allergies across the world, affecting the health of billions of people.
  • One of the solutions to tamp out carbon monoxide emissions from coal burning power plants was and still is to use radioactive power plants. While this does cut down on gas emissions significantly, there is radioactive waste which causes various cancers to bloom in major cities and small towns all around while destroying ecosystems entirely.
  • Global temperature has risen significantly over the years. The protective atmosphere is further being polluted by methane gas released from melting icecaps. This is causing rampant weather issues around the planet.

This all seems like a fairly bleak outlook for the planet and all the creatures on it. It is, in fact, a load of dark and very real truth. For much of it, there is little turning back. Being realistic, though solutions are in the works to combat global warming, the hope is dim. Radiation does not go away quickly either, especially in a technological age requiring more power, more gas, and intensified depletion of protective gases around the planet. We are on a significant downhill snowball ride to hell. There are things we can do. Let us take a look at some of the solutions which are currently being implemented to reduce pollution.

Solutions to Environmental Pollution

  • Gas emission pollution is being mitigated in a variety of ways with car emission control, electric and hybrid vehicles and public transportation systems. Not all major cities have successful implementation and decent public transportation in place, but the world is working on this issue constantly and we have managed to reduce emissions profoundly over the last decade. There is much catching up to do.
  • The cost of radioactive power plants is becoming apparent and the days of coal power plants are nearly dead. The radiation is a serious issue. Radioactive leakage from power plants and nuclear testing have already contaminated oceanic life to such a degree that it will take hundreds of years to return to normal. More radiation solutions are in the works with various ecologically friendly power technologies being built every day.
  • Solar power is a fantastic solution. Now that solar radiation is at a climactic peak, we can reap power from the sun using solar panel systems. These range from home systems to larger scale systems powering entire communities and cities.
  • Wind power is coming into play. This may not seem like much at first, but when you get about 100 feet off the ground, there is a great deal of wind up there. By building wind turbines to harvest natural wind energy, electricity is produced. Wind turbine power and solar power are both powerful forces against fossil fuel power and radioactive power. The one problem here is power companies. They want to stay with radioactive power plants because they actually can’t be removed. It has become the crusades of many individuals and small corporations to make the switch and there are plenty of people following this as populations cry out for help.
  • Electromagnetic radiation (ER) reduction. Once major manufacturers of computers and electronic devices realized the blatant potential for huge ER emissions directly into the eyes and brains of users, they started to implement hardware protocols to minimize risks and reduce ER production significantly. Newer devices are in the lead to knock this problem out and, fortunately, this is working.

Also, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is well aware of all leaks and tricks industries are using to dump wastes. This agency now has extremely strict protocols and testing procedures implemented against such facilities so populations are not affected. Additionally, the EPA is measuring air pollution and implementing regulatory procedures for vehicle emissions. They also monitor pollen issues and, with the help of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), they implement solutions to reduce pollen in the air.

Dropping pollen counts is a major focus for EPA and CDC activities. Asthma and other allergic conditions are flooding medical care facilities and pharmaceutical companies with serious public health problems. The response has been swift and various methods to control emissions and reduce pollen counts are in the works. Children and elderly people are at the highest risk for environmental pollution related health problems. The good news is we are directly on the horizon to cut down the causes and risks while providing practical health solutions for the general public throughout the world.

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