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ImageYou might think that the Arctic would be a terrible place to live. For most of the year, there is nothing but ice and cold weather. A polar bear thinks the Arctic is the perfect place to live. That’s because the Arctic is the polar bear’s natural habitat.

You might think that a tropical island is a wonderful place to be. However, a polar bear would die on a tropical island. The bear would not be able to find its favorite food—seals—in the warm waters. The bear’s layer of fat and thick, white fur would make the bear too hot. A tropical island is the natural habitat for palm trees and parrots, but not polar bears.


A habitat is a place where a plant or animal normally lives. Fish live in water. Perch are fish that live in freshwater habitats. Sharks are fish that live in saltwater habitats.

Other animals live on land. Cattle, antelopes, and buffaloes are animals that live on grasslands. Camels and kangaroo rats like the blazing hot temperature of deserts. Bats, gorillas, and elephants thrive in lush, moist rain forests.

Pine trees can live in cold, snowy habitats. Cactuses can live in hot, dry desert habitats. Water lilies live in freshwater habitats.

There are many kinds of habitats. Some habitats are along seashores. Some are high up in mountains or on flat prairies. Others are in dense forests, in sandy deserts, or in the deep sea. Different kinds of plants and animals live in different kinds of habitats.


Habitats are being destroyed around the world. As humans move into new areas, they clear the land to build on. They cut down trees for building materials and fuel. They dry out swamps for farmland. They dam rivers for electricity. The animals in the habitat must adapt to the changes or move elsewhere. If they cannot, they die. Many plants die, too.

Source: Microsoft ® Encarta