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From the Spring 2012 Conservationist

A puzzle showing the four components of habitat: food, water,space, shelter

Home Is Where the Habitat Is

By Gina Jack

Habitat is the area in which an animal normally lives-where it finds what it needs to survive. The amount and quality of each part of the habitat have to be just right, and they have to be arranged so that the animal can use them. If one component is out of balance, the entire puzzle may not work as it should for that species of animal.


A puzzle piece illustrating animal food sources
--The right kinds in sufficient amounts
and of good quality: grain,flowers,mice,


The edge of a pond with grasses and cardinal flower in the foreground
-Not too much and not too little; clean


A puzzle piece with open grassland and forest in the background
-Enough room to prevent overcrowding
while sharing the area with other animals


A puzzle piece with a young eagle in a nest
Eaglet (young eagle)-A place
to be safe and to raise young
near food and water

Habitats are often named for the main plants or features.

  • forests have trees
  • grasslands have grasses
  • wetlands have water-tolerant plants