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Think of a spider’s web, with its strings joined together in different corners. A “food web” is a picture that looks very similar, except the strings of spider silk are replaced by lines or arrows, and each corner represents a type of living thing. In our diagram, the more arrows a living thing has leading away from it to other creatures, the more different types of things eat it!

Food Web
Our example shows a food web for a particular ecosystem (a specific type of place and the living things in it).  Let’s look at what eats what in the African savanna!

Producers: Savannas are grassy areas with trees spaced widely apart.  These plants use water, CO2 gas, and the energy from the sun to produce their own food.

Primary Consumers: These are living things that eat producers, so they are usually small, herbivorous animals, like the mouse, the rabbit, and the goat.

Secondary Consumers: These are animals that eat primary consumers, so they are usually mid-sized carnivores or omnivores such as the snake, the owl, the wild cat, and the jackal in this food web.

Tertiary Consumers: Animals like the lion and the kite eat secondary consumers, so they are animals who eat animals who eat other animals who eat plants.  Got it?!  These are the biggest predators in their environments, whether on land, in the air, or under water.  The wild cat can be considered both a secondary and tertiary consumer since it consumes both primary (mouse, rabbit) and secondary consumers (snake).

Check out our interesting facts about Life Cycle of Plants!

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