Grasslands are habitats for grazing animals like buffalo, elk and whitetail deer in North America and zebra and antelope in Africa, where herds support predators like lions and cheetahs. Other large mammals living in the grasslands include the African wildebeest, giant anteater of South America and Przewalski's horse.
Coyotes, eagles, bobcats, gray wolves, wild turkeys, fly catchers, Canadian geese, crickets, prairie chickens, dung beetles, jackrabbits and ground squirrels are common to North American prairies. Prairie dogs dig huge underground tunnel systems that aerate the soil and allow water to flow beneath the ground. Mites, insect larvae, nematodes and earthworms inhabit deep soil, as much as 20 feet under the surface of undisturbed grasslands. These invertebrates break up hard soil, enrich it with urea and other fertilizers, trap minerals and water and promote plant growth. Because of their robust root and stem systems, herbaceous plants in grasslands can survive and keep growing even when nibbled on by animals.
The Pampas of South America is home to the greater rhea, which is a relative of the African ostrich. Geoffroy's cat and the maned wolf, distinctive for its very long legs that allow it to see over tall grass, also call the area home. The strong winds of the Pampas necessitate special adaptations. Many animals burrow in the ground, including one species of owl that nests in underground burrows.