What Does Habitat Mean?

habitat-mean Credit: James Warwick/The Image Bank/Getty Images

A habitat is the natural environment of a plant, animal or other organism. Every living thing has its own habitat.

A habitat must have everything a living things needs to grow and thrive. There are generally five different things a habitat must have: water, food, shelter, air and a place to raise young or reproduce.

Habitats may vary greatly in size. Large animals like lions and tigers have habitats that can stretch out for miles while small animal habitats do not extend very far in any one direction.

A community is a group of plants and animals that share the same habitat. Plants and animals learn to work together to make the best of a specific habitat and each animal has its own niche. A niche is a small part of a habitat that is occupied by only one plant or animal. Niches combine to form habitats and habitats combine to form ecosystems. Each plant and animal plays an important part in an ecosystem.

A critical habitat is one that is protected by a government. It contains one or more endangered plants and animals and hunting or otherwise harassing a plant or animal in a critical habitat is strictly forbidden. Once the protected species has increased its numbers, the habitat no longer needs protection.