Use this page to know more about Asian Wildlife. Asia stretches from the frozen arctic in the north to the warm tropics in the south. Although much of Asia is undulating plain, it also boasts the awesome mountain range of the Himalayas, much of the interior receives little rain, but parts of India hold the world record for annual rainfall. This continent of contrasts provides many habitats, each with its own characteristic plants and animals. Many of the world¡¦s best known endangered species, such as giant pandas and tigers, live in Asia. But many less publicized, smaller animals and plants are also threatened by the steady spread of human populations.
Temperate Forest Wildlife:
Asian temperate woodlands are rich in species of broadleaved trees. Summers are mild, but winters can be cold and after the leaves have fallen, there is little food or shelter. Some animals migrate or hibernate, others, such as the Japanese Macaque, are adapted to the cold.
Japanese Emperor Butterfly:
Only the male Japanese emperor has an iridescent purple sheen, but both sexes have spotted wings. This pattern breaks up their outline, making it difficult to see where they land on sun flecked foliage. Their caterpillars are leaf green, to camouflage them on the leaves of celtis trees on which they feed.
Laving throughout most of Japan, the Japanese macaque lives in a more northerly climate than any other monkey. In winter it grows a thick coat for protection and some troops sit in hot spring to avoid the Chill of a snowstorm. Roots, buds and shoots form its winter diet.
Asia rainforests are warm all year round but they do have short dry seasons. They are festooned with lianas and epiphytes. The rainforest provides homes for animals at all levels from fruit bats in the canopy to tigers on the forest floor.
Large reptiles, such as saltwater crocodiles lie out on the shores of Rainforest Rivers in the morning sun to warm up their Bodies. Later on, when the sun gets too hot, the crocodiles return to the water to cool down.
Some fig trees, such as the banyan tree, start life as a tiny seedling that grows in the crown of another rainforest tree. The banyan tree sends aerial roots down to the ground which enmesh and kill the host tree.
The tiger spends much of its day rooming though its rainforest territory, stalking prey. Tigers love water. And to avoid the heat of the day, they cool down by basking in shallow pools
With its loud call and noisy wing beats, the rhinoceros handbill is a very noticeable rainforest inhabitant. It uses its huge bill with great dexterity to pick fruit and kill prey.
Asia has both tropical savannahs and vast plains of temperate steppes, with hot, dry summers. However, grasses and drought-resistant shrubs do grow there. Large animals have adapted to conserve moisture. Smaller ones shelter in burrows.
The Chinese lantern is a drought¡Vresistant plant. Its roots spread deep into the soil to reach any available water. New shoots appear each spring which bear flowers and edible fruits.
Herds of saiga antelopes migrate south in winter to escape severe weather. They return north in summer when the grasses are more plentiful. Saigas have a mucous¡Vlined sac in the snout that warms inhaled air in winter and filters our dust in the hot, dry summer
The tawny eagle nests in shrubs and trees by watercourses. It flies long distances over steppes and semi¡Varid deserts in search of food. The tawny eagle is a skilful hunter. But it increases its chances of getting enough food by feeding on carrion and stealing other predators prey.
The steep crags and valleys of the Himalayas provide many refuges for wildlife. Forests on the lower slopes give way to high altitude meadows and snowfields. Animals of the higher slopes, such as the yak, are adapted to survive the winters. Others migrate to warmer, lower slopes.
When in flower, rhododendrons set the mountainside ablaze with a riot of colors. Their tiny seeds are readily spread by wind or water
Domesticated for centuries, the yak is still found living wild in some parts of its mountain range. With its long, shaggy coat, a yak can survive temperatures as low as - 40„aC (40„af). It grazes on whatever plants are available, including mosses and lichens and can use snow as a source of water.
The Himalayan Griffon is a large, aggressive vulture that soars over some of the highest mountain slopes in search of food. The diet of vultures is almost entirely restricted to carrion. The Himalayan griffon¡¦s powerful hooked bill is strong enough to rip open the leathery hide of a dead yak to feast on the entrails.
Armoured Pricklenape Agama:
This lizard lives in the treetops in mountain forests. Its greenly¡Vbrown scales conceal it among twigs and leaves. Pricklenape agamas have sharp claws that give them a sure grip as they run and leap through the branches.
In summer, this hardy bat forages for insects in the forest and even up into the Arctic Circle. To survive the winter it hibernates in caves or buildings. Its distribution is dictated by the availability of suitable roost sites.
Boreal Forest Wildlife:
Just south of the arctic tundra is a vast forest of conifer trees. In Asia, this boreal forest is called the taiga. Wildflowers and animals such as the sable are adapted to exploit the brief summers and withstand the long, harsh winters.
The sable hunts all year round for nestling and rodents. It also eats shoots and berries if parley is scarce. The sable sleeps, shelters and gives birth in hollow logs or tree holes.
Narrow¡Vcrowned spruces are a characteristic feature of the taiga. Snow slides easily from their curved branches without breaking them. Norway spruce grows at the western reaches of the taiga, soon giving way to Siberian spruce. The seeds of both trees provide food for birds and rodents.
Great Grey Owl:
To find enough food, including voles, lemmings and other small rodents, the great grey owl hunts by day as well as night. It may travel far to a good source of food, but returns to the dense boreal forest to breed. It chooses a secure nest site in a tree or may use another large birds¡¦ old nest.
Not all deserts are hot all year round. Temperate deserts, such as the Gobi in Central Asia, have scorching hot summers, but icy gold winters. Nights are cold even in summer as there is no vegetation to trap the heat. To survive here animals must be adapted both to the dry environment and extremes of temperature.
Few of these desert creatures remain in the wild. A Bactrian camel has very thick woolly coat to protect it from severe cold in winter. Far stored in two humps of its back enables it to survive with little food or water for long periods of time.
Onagers live in small herds in the desert. There is little vegetation here for grazing animals but the onager can cope with eating tough desert grasses and straw. Wolves, although uncommon, are their main predators. To defend themselves, Ongers can run fast for long distances.
Like many small desert animals, these gerbils escape from temperature extremes by digging underground burrows. Living below ground also helps to conserve bodily moisture. Gerbils nibble roots, shoots, seeds and buds and drink water if it is available. In a drought, they can get sufficient moisture from the early morning dew on their food.
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