All living things need water, air, and resources from the land to survive. They live in the places that have the things they need. For instance, some animals live in the desert and some live in wetlands. Even in one habitat, there are small niches that each living things fills. For example, a wetland has all the natural resources a painted turtle needs to survive. It has air, freshwater, and water plants, insects and small fish to eat. A painted turtle sits on a log or rock to warm its body in the sun during the day. It burrows into the sand or mud at night. It comes out of the water to lay its eggs in the sandy soil on shore. In the winter, when the pond is frozen, it will burrow into the mud at the bottom of the pond and hibernate until spring.
Many frogs live in wetlands too. Bullfrogs, green frogs, and leopard frogs can come onto land, but usually spend much of their time in the water eating insects, worms, and other small creatures. All frogs, even toads, wood frogs, and tree frogs, who spend much of their lives in the forest, come back to the water to mate and lay eggs. When it gets cold, frogs will burrow into the mud and hibernate until spring.
Ospreys and other wetland birds live and nest near water. Osprey fly over the surface of the water watching for fish. Then snatch them out of the water using their sharp talons. They’ll bring their catch to a large nest made of twigs and branches, usually found up in a tall snag (dead tree), to share with their young. In the fall, they will migrate south along the coast where they can fish in the ocean and coastal waterways.
Humans live in all habitats, using natural resources to build homes. We pull water up from underground waterways into wells or reservoirs. We raise plants and animals for food and clothing. We fish the ocean and lakes for food and sport – sometimes until the fish are almost gone. We mine for metals to make vehicles, and building supplies. We drill for oil and gas and dig for coal to heat our homes, run our cars, pave our roads, and run countless industries around the world. We cut down trees for lumber to build homes and businesses. As our population grows and resources around the world shrink, we have begun to increase our use of renewable energy, such as wind, tidal, and solar power.