First written by Mabrouk and 0 others, on Mon, 2008/01/21 - 6:51pm, and has been viewed by 3781 unique users

Habitat is the place in which a creature live. A fish habitat is the sea, and a gazelle habitat is a flat desert.

Imagine your home where you were brought up! It has running water, has a range of temperature that is not too high (+50°) or too low (-10°), has certain privacy behind walls that won't show what you're doing, has toilet and waste disposal ways. Let's assume too that you cannot live without a Cinema and a bookshop nearby.

Now imagine you move to another country. You should choose your home where there's a Cinema and bookshop nearby.

This should narrow down your search to fewer places.

This might be a ridiculous example but that area that fits your "life requirements" is what scientists call your "habitat". Scientists will try to recognize what defines it for all living creatures with whatever preferences and scale of the places they like to live in.

Of course, you know that fish cannot live out of the water. That's smart for a start, but let's do the more tricky things. For example, elephant won't live on desert's sand dunes, but Oryx (Arabic: المها) does. Camels won't living on steep rocky mountains, but Ibex (Arabic: تيتل أو بدن) does.

Now imagine you wish to look for a gazelle (Arabic: غزال), desert ostriches, a Sahara Jerboas or butterflies? Do you know how their habitat looks like? You can if you know the food type they like, range (in kilometers) away from the water they can't leave, form of places they like to sleep in, and maybe what they do when seasons change. If you know that, then you might know how their habitat looks like.

Have you ever thought how Bedouins find their camels when they miss them? They just know the camels habitat. Camels are no rock climbers (unlike Ibex who lives nowhere but rocky slopes) so they must be walking in flat wadi beds. Camels also like certain food like Acacia leaves (big beautiful desert trees with thorns that Arabs call Sayyala) or Zilla shrubs (shrubs are any small trees less than 50 cm in height) so they won't go in places where they don't grow. Any living being needs water even camels. If there are very few wells that the Bedouin knows and if the speed of a camel cannot exceed half kilometer per day (no need to hurry when they eat) then after a week they can only be within a circle of 3.5 kilometers around the water well. Not only this but they will be only in the side that has the zilla shrubs they like to eat within this circle! Smart? Yes. That's how the knowledge of a habitat works.

Habitat Destruction

Now imagine that we have a number of maps of Egypt. Each map dedicated to the show the habitat (places good for the living of) every animal and insect species that is known to live in Egypt. Imagine that we have an important species for the Fellahine that lives in the desert and we know its map of all possible habitats. Imagine also, that suddenly a planner in Ministry of Housing, decides to make 20 new cities, 5 of which are covering all the habitat areas of this species. Can we move those animals to a 'man-made' habitat (we call this a 'Zoo'), and the answer is most animals die in Zoos, so it's impossible for this animal to live in Egypt when we build cities in its habitat and the only the word is then 'extinction' (Arabic: انقراض). The Fellahine then will suddenly face major problems and will ask the help of the Government that didn't do its planning right and the Ministry of Environment will win political influence next time, they make a suggestion. Now imagine if we don't even have had those maps of habitats, and the Ministry of Environment doesn't even know that the Fellahine problems has anything to do with environmental balance went wrong!

Habitat in Science 

Now how is HABITAT defined scientifically? Below is a definition but it let me explain few terms before you go there (too simplified, please check for complete meaning elsewhere). Organism means an individual animal (or a person in humans), population means a group of same organisms, and community means group of different species populations that lives depending on each other. Now here's the definition:

  1. The area or environment where an organism or ecological community normally lives or occurs: a marine habitat.
  2. The place where a person or thing is most likely to be found.
  3. A structure that affords a controlled environment for living in extremely inhospitable locations, such as an underwater research laboratory.

But habitats vary in scale. For nomads, it's as big as an entire 10 kilometer valley and its surrounding mountains. For an ibex it could be one side of a mountain with one or two water sources.

For a microbe, it could be one human (microbes when livings on other living beings are called parasites). A Microhabitat is a very small, specialized habitat, such as a clump (7ezmah) of grass or a space between rocks.