Animals that live in meadows include shrews, mice, voles, foxes, deer, reptiles, salamanders, amphibians, birds, spiders and aquatic wildlife, if water is present. Meadows are fields of wildflowers and grass that are home to and food for myriad insects that the small mammals and other creatures eat.
Meadows may be present across the world in mountains, forests, coasts, plains and cultivated areas. When they bloom meadows are beautiful places with colorful flowers and butterflies.
A meadow is an ecosystem that has one or more herbaceous plant communities. Herbaceous plants are non-woody, but trees and shrubs may be present in some numbers in meadows. Plants that grow in meadows use shallow groundwater of less than about 3.3 feet deep. Meadows with wetlands are also called fens. Meadows often grow alongside streams.
In the United Kingdom, a 5.5-acre meadow may have 1 ton of insects. Just 1 acre of hay meadow may have 2.25 million spiders. If these spiders eat two insects every week, they consume about 108 million insects in six months. Consumption of insects is vitally important to the ecosystem and the world at large; if the insects were not controlled, they could become pestiferous and eat enough vegetation to denude the countryside.