Why Animals Need Soil

Soil is essential to every animal on earth. It is a critical part in providing food, water, air, and habitat to animals.  


One of the most important reasons animals depend on soil is because it allows for their food to grow. Plants are a main source of food for herbivores, omnivores and even carnivores! Plants depend on soil to provide a protected place for them to grow. As we know, plants need soil, water, and light to grow. Healthy soil is composed of roughly 45% minerals, 25% water, 25% air and 5% organic matter. Soil is rich in minerals that the plants need and soil is able to retain water which is necessary for plants in order for them to grow. When soil is healthy, plants can grow to their full potential.

Because plants are the whole diet of herbivores and part of omnivore’s diet, it is essential that they have access to an excess amount of healthy plants to consume. Without healthy soil, plants would become sparse and the animals that consume them would eventually die due to starvation. This would in turn affect carnivores as well because their herbivore meat sources would die and thus carnivore species would eventually diminish in population as well due to the reduction of food.


Animals also need clean air to survive. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, something all living creatures need in order to survive and live a healthy life.  In animals, just like in humans, cells need oxygen to survive.


Animals also depend on soil because the soil acts as a habitat for many animals; however, many animals use trees and plants for habitats as well. And, we would not have these plants if we did not have healthy soil. Some types of animals live in the ground and use the soil as their main type of housing. Examples  include prairie dogs, rabbits, rats, voles, gophers, salamanders, as well as an array of invertebrates such as earthworms, snails, beetles, and ants. These animals directly use the soil to form their homes. However most animals use plants in very different ways for their habitat. Birds will collect sticks, moss, leaves and grass to form their nest; most often their nests are located in trees and some birds, such as the xxxx,  even live in hollow trees. Many animals use small bushes, tall grass, and plants as camouflage, or their home as it is more difficult for larger animals to see them or reach them, and plants help protect them from weather


Finally, some animals depend on soil because it contains 25% water and they can absorb water from their skin. For instance, the salamander spends most of its time in the moist soil because they breathe and drink through their fragile skin. Because soil contains water and air, the salamander hardly ever has to leave the soil, thus they greatly depend on this natural compound. Other animals that have similar lifestyles as salamanders include frogs and toads.


Even though many do not realize the importance of soil every animal alive depend on it in one way or another. Soil provides habitat, water, air and food for animals. Healthy soil allows for plants to grow which provides animals with shelter and materials to build it. Soil also provides food for animals as many animals eat plants as their main source of nutrition. Plants also clean the air which is crucial in the survival of animals. Soil is an important piece in our ecosystem and cannot be replaced.


Sources: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, Growth as Naturally Intended, North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Science Made Simple