Studying plants and animals in their habitat is a science known as ECOLOGY

Studying a Habitat

The habitat of an animal or plant is the type of place it choses to make its home

Examples of habitats: Pond, Garden, Wood, Meadow

The habitat of an animal needs to provide a place to make its home and breed, the correct food, shelter from the weather and protection from its enemies.

Plants make their own food by a process called photosynthesiss.
Thiis is when they make food from simple chemicals around them, (carbon dioxide from the air and water from the soil).
The energy to do this comes from the sun.

Without sunlight all plants would die

Animals rely on eating plants or other animals for their food.

Without plants all life on this planet would die.


A food chain is a list of organisms to show a simple feeding pattern within a habitat


This means that the cabbage is eaten by the slug ….
                which is eaten by the thrush.
                            .. which is eaten by the fox.

The arrows shows the transfer of food energy from one organism to the next.
The cabbage leaf gets its energy from the sun

  •   The first organism in a food chain is called a PRODUCER and is always a PLANT
  •   All other organisms in the food chain are CONSUMERS 


The animal at the top of the food chain is often a PREDATOR and is called a top carnivore


The animals which eat the plant are called HERBIVORES
The animals which eat other animals are called CARNIVORES


Animals tha hunt for their food are PREDATORS
Animals that are being hunted are the PREY

When a thrush eats a snail the thrush is a predator and the snail is the prey


Food Web
In any habitat there will be several food chains combined together to form a FOOD WEB.


A food web from a garden

Producer Producer Producer Primary Consumer Primary Consumer Primary Consumer Secondary onsumer Secndary Consumr Secondary Consumer Carnivore 


Decomposers (small animals that live in the soil, worms, beetles etc) help recycle the dead food and so provide simple chemicals for the plants to use again.
The most useful decomposers are the FUNGI and BACTERIA which help the dead plants and animals rot

The balance of nature
Life in any habitat is a delicate balance.
Changing the numbers of one animal or plant can alter that balance.

Another cat comes to live near your garden (see the food web above)
What would be the effect on the population (numbers) of other animals and plants in the garden?

The cats would eat more thrushes (and other small birds) so there will be fewer birds.
Thrushes eat slugs. As there are fewer birds the number of slugs would increase.

Slugs eat the lettuce plants so more slugs will mean less lettuce plants.



Animals and plants are often adapted to their habitats.
This means that they have special features that help them to survive.

An African elephant, for example, lives in a hot habitat and has very large ears that it flaps to keep cool.
A polar bear, on the other hand, lives in a cold habitat and has thick fur to keep warm.

Pond habitat
Here are some plants and animals that have adapted to living in a pond habitat.

  • a. Frog – The frog has webbed feet to help it swim quickly. It also has webbed feet to help it swim
  • b. Water spider – Hair-like bristles cover the abdomen, which trap air and allows the spider to breathe underwater.
  • c. Lily pad – The lily pad has a jelly-like substance on the bottom of its leaves to make it hard for insects to grab on to it