Plants are also food for animals. Most temperate grasslands are inhabited by hares, mice, and other small rodents. These animals have sharp teeth that are able to easily gnaw through grass. Some of the familiar rodents found in the North American grasslands are prairie dogs, mice, rats, and ground squirrels. Prairie dogs are cute, burrowing rodents that live in underground communities. A dominant male heads a prairie dog family. They make their home in underground burrows that consist of several chambers and entrances. Their homes can be up to 30 feet (9 meters) long and consist of these chambers: food storage room, nesting chamber, 'bathroom', sleeping chambers, and enemy listening chambers. They usually live in communities of four or five families where they are very social and jovial to each other.
In the Eurasian steppes, rodents like mice, hamsters, gerbils, and susliks (a ground squirrel type rodent that live more like prairie dogs) make their home here. Larger rodents, such as viscachas, cavies, and chinchillas, live in the pampas. Viscachas look like giant guinea pigs, weighing in at sometimes even 15 pounds (7 kilograms). Viscachas are also burrowing animals.
The Australian grasslands are home to rodents, like the wombat and the rat kangaroo. The larger animals in the temperate grassland are grazing mammals. In North American prairies bison and pronghorn antelopes graze. In Australia, kangaroos and wallabies roam freely. Kangaroos have sharp incisors that are used to cut off tips of tough grass. Kangaroos are also marsupials, which means that the females carry their young in skin pouches until they are able to function on their own. They escape from their predators by gaining speed using quick, long bounds. In the steppes of Asia, a strange looking animal called the saiga antelope can been seen grazing in groups.
All of these herbivores have predators. Snakes, owls, foxes, and hawks hunt small rodents, rabbits, and small birds. Larger herbivores have fewer predators apart from humans. Packs of wolves and coyotes are known to hunt antelope.
Smaller rodents defend themselves from predators by living underground or by having camouflaged fur. Most of the large grazing animals stay in large, intimidating packs, like bison, or escape their predators by running and leaping, like kangaroos. In the winter, rodents store food in their underground tunnels and keep out of the cold or hibernate. Bigger animals survive the winter by growing a thicker coat and foraging for food.