Georgia Habitats. Piedmont. Marsh/Swamp. Atlantic Ocean. Mountains. Coast. Georgia Habitats. The information on this slideshow will allow students to: Differentiate among the habitats of Georgia and the organisms that live in each one
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The information on this slideshow will allow students to:
The piedmont is an area of rolling hills. Piedmont means “foot of the mountain.” The piedmont has forests, lakes and rivers. Red clay gives the ground its color. It is located between the coastal plain and the mountains in the northern half of Georgia.
Raccoons can be found all over Georgia! When people move in, habitats become smaller or disappear. Raccoons have adapted to their environment. They eat fruit, acorns, insects and vegetables. They will also forage through people’s garbage cans.
The Great Horned Owl is the largest owl of the southern United States. Its "horns" are really ear tufts. It lives in wooded areas. It hunts during the night and eats rabbits, rodents, birds, fish and insects.
The Timber Rattlesnake lives in forests. It eats rodents, rabbits, squirrels, birds, other snakes, lizards and frogs. Predators are bobcats, coyotes and skunks.
The White-tailed Deer is found in all habitats, from high mountain forests to coastal marshes. It is mainly found in areas which have a mix of forest, old fields and active crop lands. The White-tailed Deer eats leaves, buds, twigs, acorns, fruits and mushrooms.
The Opossum is nocturnal (actively looking for food at night). The species is omnivorous (eating both plants and animals). Its diet includes fruits, berries, insects, crayfish, small rodents, carrion (dead animal flesh) and even human garbage.
With the arrival of European settlers, agriculture expanded quickly, with forests being cleared and cotton being grown in almost any place that was flat enough to plow. This exposed the land to erosion and leaching of nutrients, causing the valuable topsoil to wash away and leave the famous Georgia Red Clay.
Pine trees are the first to come back when a field is abandoned because they are tolerant of sunlight and dry conditions. Forestry became the main form of agriculture instead of cotton farming.
Two other types of trees that populate this area are the live oak (Georgia state tree)and hickory tree.
Kudzu was brought to the United States from Japan and was planted to help with soil erosion.
The Okefenokee Swamp is in southern Georgia and extends all the way to the Georgia-Florida state line. Few places in America can offer as varied and extensive wildlife as this southeastern swamp. Much of the wildlife is protected by law.
The Okefenokee Swamp is a true wildlife refuge. It is covered with peat (decaying plants). The peat is so thick in some areas that you can walk on top of it when you are in the water.
The cottonmouth water moccasin is the only North American poisonous water snake! It is a pit viper in
the same family as the copperhead and the rattler. This is a dangerous snake which will fight when attacked or even approach an intruder.
Alligators are the largest reptiles in North America. Alligators are carnivorous. They like shallow fresh water with mud or sandy banks. When they are not hunting they like to take sun baths.
The otter is a very smart, curious and playful animal. It loves to make slides on river banks. It eats fish, crabs and small reptiles. Alligators are their only predator in the swamp.
The Green Tree Frog (Georgiastate amphibian) is nocturnal and may gather in large numbers at night to call. It eats small insects and other invertebrates. It can be found among floating plants or in the vegetation around the water.
The Sandhill Crane is a large bird between 4-5 feet in height. They nest in fairly open places where trees do not block their vision. When frightened or sensing danger, a crane sounds its alarm cry that can be heard for miles. Their nickname is the "watchmen of the swamp."
At one time the osprey nest served as guide post to the local natives penetrating the unchartered interior. A pair will build their nest, usually in a high tree near a prairie and this area for a couple of miles in all directions will become their domain.
The ecosystem of the swamp is fire dependent. Fires generally burn lightly due to the wet nature of the swamp. Cypress trees need occasional fires to survive.
Some of the swamp is a prairie and covered with grass, moss and ferns. The Okefenokee has meat-eating plants which lure, trap and digest small animals. This specialization gives them the advantage of living in impoverished areas with little crowding from other plants.
Georgia's mountains are much older than the Rockies or even the Himalayas. The base of the Blue Ridge formed over a billion years ago, but the bulk of our mountains were created from oceanic sediments between 200 and 450 million years ago. The mountains cover the northern part of Georgia.
Largemouth Bass (Georgia state fish) are freshwater fish and generally inhabit clear, vegetated lakes, ponds and swamps. They prefer quiet, clear water and often hide in dense vegetation
along the edges of a water body. Largemouth bass eat crayfish, frogs, insects and small fishes.
Bats are a valuable and fascinating part of Georgia’s natural heritage.
They provide a beneficial service by foraging on flying insects, many of which are pests. A single bat can eat hundreds of mosquitoes in one hour!
The large number of caves formed in this area are an ideal habitat for bats.
The cardinal is a bird that lives in wooded areas. Cardinals like to eat seeds, fruits and insects. The male bird is red with a black face. The female has a red tail, wings and crest; the rest of her body is brown. Both have a red beak. It does not migrate in the winter.
The Black Bear is the smallest of the American bears but it is the largest carnivore in eastern North America. It has a large heavy body with long legs, flat feet, stout claws and a very short tail. The Black Bear is nocturnal in the summer. It is an omnivore. It can also be found in the Okefenokee Swamp.
The Georgia mountains provide a lush, thick area for a variety of plant life to grow. This mountain range originally formed by pressure, heat and water. It has been eroding for the past 400 million years. The resulting rounded mountain range has formed rich forest soils which support the most diverse plant life in the State. The types of plants growing depend on the elevation.
Two of the state flowers are found in the mountain area. Azaleas (Georgia state wildflower) can be found covering much of our state. An interesting thing about these lovely flowers is that they are actually mildly poisonous! When these flowers are eaten by animals, they can cause stomach and heart problems.
The Cherokee Rose (Georgia state flower)is also found in this area. Native American folklore says the flowers are a result of the tears shed during the “Trail of Tears.” Trees and bushes bearing fruit are also located in the mountains.
Georgia's coast is made up of sandy beaches and barrier islands. The coastline of Georgia is almost 110 miles long. The Coastal Plain is part of a low land that extends around the coast of the eastern United States from New York to Texas. In Georgia, a chain of low islands called the Sea Islands lies just off the mainland.
Sea Gulls are large birds and are usually grey or white with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.They are ground nesting carnivores. They eat crabs and small fish.
Ghost crabs live in burrows along the sandy beaches of the Eastern United States. The crabs can reach relatively large sizes of over 6 inches. They are omnivorous and will eat other crabs, clams, insects and vegetation. Feeding activity takes place at night, while burrowing occurs during the day.
The Brown Thrasher (Georgia state bird) can be seen throughout Georgia, but is most common in the southern and central portions of the state. It eats a variety of food including insects, invertebrates, small vertebrates, fruits and nuts.
The forests of Georgia's islands often are more extensive and better developed than those of other U.S. barrier islands. Canopies of Georgia's mature maritime forest
are dominated by Spanish moss and live oaks.
Other large canopy trees include southern magnolias, pines and cabbage palms. Smaller trees include the American holly and morning glory. On the beaches of the coast, sea oats grow on the dunes and help prevent erosion.
The Atlantic Ocean is made of saltwater. The Atlantic Ocean near Georgia is warmer than most oceans in the world. Georgia's offshore waters lie along the migratory route for several species of marine
animals that are unique and play important environmental roles.
The sand tiger shark is very large and has a mouthful of sharp, spike-like teeth. It can eat just about anything it wants and swallow it whole. It doesn't attack humans. It is the only shark that controls how it floats in the water by burping!
After baby loggerhead turtles hatch, they immediately make their way to the sea. The only time a female loggerhead comes ashore is to nest. She will crawl up a beach at night, dig a pit in the sand with her hind flippers, and lay between 80 and 120 eggs in the nest. Many of the eggs will be eaten or stolen by predators. After 50 to 80 days, a few tiny hatchlings will struggle out of their eggs.
Right whales (Georgia state marine mammal) can grow up to 60 feet long and weigh up to 100 tons. Whalers thought the whales were the "right" ones to hunt since they float when killed. Over hunting caused their numbers to decrease. Today, the right whale is endangered. There are only 350 left, so instead of hunting them, people often watch these acrobatic whales for pleasure.
Many types of fish live in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Georgia. Black sea bass, grouper, snapper, bluefish, tuna, amberjack, barracuda, sailfish, barracuda and mackerel are just some of the fish common to the area. Georgia has built a number of artificial reefs to attract fish and other sea life.
Gray's Reef contains both plant and animal life. The rock that forms the reef is mostly sandstone and limestone that was formed between two and five million years ago! Gray's Reef provides a home and foundation for hundreds of different species of plants and animals. Seaweed, algae and seagrass thrive on Gray's Reef.