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group of monkeys sits near

a pool of clear water. Nearby, a water monitor slips into the water. T is large lizard is hungry. It’s looking for prey, and those monkeys look tasty. T e monkeys spot the lizard. T ey

call out a warning and then flee to safety. T e lizard swims away—still hungry. Not for long, though. T ere’s always plenty of prey in this wetland.

What’s a Wetland? T is wetland, like all wetlands, is a habitat. Many plants and animals live in it. Many wetlands formed long ago

when moving glaciers scraped out low places in the land. T ese places trapped rain, snow, and seawater. Over time, they became wetlands. Most wetlands appear near large

bodies of water. Some wetlands have salty water. Others have fresh water. Sometimes, underground water flows up through the soil. T e water level in a wetland oſt en changes. It’s clear that not all wetlands are

alike. Yet they are alike in one way. All wetlands are places that fill with water for at least part of the year.


This giant river otter fi nds plenty of fresh food in its wetland habitat.

Why Wetlands Matter Wetlands are homes to some animals. Some live there all the time. Others just visit. Some just drop by to rest before moving on. Others go to wetlands to raise their young. Wetlands are important for other

reasons, too. T ey trap floodwaters. Trees and plants soak up this water. T en they release the water slowly, slowing down the flooding. Wetlands can trap pollution as

well. Factories may dump pollution in rivers, for example. Or rainwater may carry animal waste from farms. T ese things can harm wildlife. Wetlands can be found throughout

the world. T ere are several kinds. T e three main kinds are swamps, marshes, and bogs. Let’s take a look.

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