Savanna food web, chain, ecosystem and its biome

Savanna food web

The Primary consumer in the Savanna food web is Zebras and elephants. The Secondary consumers are cheetahs, hyenas, etc. The Scavengers here are vultures, hyenas, and termites. The reason hyena is present in both Secondary and Scavenger is because it gets their food by hunting in groups and also Scavenging on dead animals.

In this biome, Tall grasses are dominant and are the primary producer. The tall grasses convert energy from the Sun and minerals, and nutrients from the soil into the biomass that forms the basis of this Food Web. One of the important examples savanna food web is the one that exists in Africa.

African savanna food web

In the African savanna food web, the savanna is essential and it is a treeless plain present in a tropical or subtropical area, which is grassland found in eastern Africa, and the Northern part of Southern America.

It generally consists of scattered trees and drought-resistant flora. Some of the famous savannas are the Serengeti Plains of Tanzania, the Acacia Plains of East Africa, the savannas of Venezuela, the Sahel, south of Sahara in East Africa, and the Australian Savanna.

These tropical grasslands are found between tropical forests and deserts. This biome is found between 10° to 20 ° N and S latitudes.

These are generally hot and dry and experience moderate to low rainfall. As a result of this climate, the grasses grow tall and sharp. The chief occupation of people living here is herding and basically, these are Nomadic.

The biggest threat to the Tropical savanna food web is human activities such as converting these biomes to Pastoral lands, Agricultural activities, over-grazing, livestock, logging, and the introduction of non-native plants, etc.

The types of savannas are Tropical and Subtropical Savannas, Temperate Savannas, Mediterranean Savannas, Flooded Savannas, and Montane Savannas.

It is referred to by different names around the world such as:

  • Pampas in South America
  • Pasture,
  • Prairie in Northern America,
  • Rangeland in the USA
  • Steppe in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
  • Veld in Africa.
  • Downs in Australia
Tropical savanna food web
Tropical savanna food web by Gossipguy, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Food chains in the savanna

The Zebras and elephants graze on grasses. The Lion and cheetah eat Zebras. Mara eats pampas grass and Maned Wold hunts Mara. The Hyena hunts as well as scavenges.

There are Vultures, and termites, in Savanna that are also Scavengers. The decomposers or Detritivores are mushrooms, insects, and microorganisms.

To Summarise the Food chains in the savanna: Producers, Primary consumers, Secondary Consumers, and Scavengers.

Producers in the Savanna

The primary producers in a savanna represent a complex functional group consisting of species of different habitats, sizes, and physiological requirements. The subdivision of the primary producers into morphological types such as herbs and trees.

The herbs can be further separated into grasses and forbs, C3 and C4 photosynthetic types, nitrogen-fixing and non-fixing, deep and shallow-rooted, early and late growers and so on.

The functional group of plants is defined according to the habit and size. In Savanna ecosystems, it is vital to differentiate between Herbaceous and Ligneous plants. This is because there are plants related to different rates of organic matter production and accumulation.

The producers in the Savanna include Grass, Acacia Trees, baobab Trees etc. Here also people cultivate pearl millet, legumes, vegetable crops, fonio, African rice etc.

Primary consumers in the Savanna

Primary Consumers of the savanna or the Herbivores in Savannas comprise vertebrates and invertebrates. The vertebrates that are well known are the large native mammals – animals of browsers and grazers, which is a salient feature of many African Savannas.

Also, there are many smaller herbivorous animals in Savannas including Armadillos and porcupines. Although invertebrates such as grass-eating harvester termites are important features of savannas.

The termites, ants, and grasshoppers are neglected as components of the savanna yet these insect herbivores play an important role in the savanna process including consuming grass material and seed predation.

Primary consumers in the savanna are Ostrich, Zebra, Thomsons Gazelle, Grasshopper, Giraffes, Elephants, etc.

Secondary Consumers

Savanna’s secondary consumers are Lions, Cheetahs, Secretary Birds, Harrier Eagles, etc. Human is also part Savanna food chain and they compete with other organisms for food.


Scavengers in the savanna are Hyenas, vultures, detritivores or decomposers like Fungi, bacteria, other Microorganisms, termites, etc. Also, Black-backed Jackals are seen on the hunting grounds of a lion.

Sometimes the top predators like lions also scavenge food.


Like any other ecosystem, decomposers in the savanna play a very important role in the flow of energy. The decomposers such as Bacteria, Fungi, Earthworms, and Insects do the role of transferring the energy between producers and consumers.

Bacteria in Savanna

Bacteriareis great number colonize the savanna’s soil. The bacteria in the savannas sustain well where the temperature is above 25 degrees Celsius.

Also, bacteria such as Acidobacteria are immune to changes in the moisture of the soil. This Acidobacteria slows down when the soil has few nutrients left adaptation makes them survive in the Savannas.

The most prominent bacteria in the African Savannas are Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, Firmicutes, Gemmatimonadetes, Planctomycetes, and Verrucomicrobia.


The soils in Savanna are poor in nutrients, have frequent droughts and are very acidic. Due to these harsh conditions, fungi are less distributed than bacteria.

The common fungi found in African savannas are Sarcoscypha dudleyi, Laetiporus sulphureus, and Trametes versicolor.


We have discussed the savanna food web such as its basis of the food chain, What eats what in this biome what this biome is its reasons for its dangerous future, and the names it is called around the world.


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* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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