Animal Adaptations
  Ch. 1 Notes




Ch. 1 Animal Adaptations

Adaptations are actions and body parts that help a living thing survive in its environment.

Adaptations help the animal get food, protect it, and make or find shelter.

A response is an action an animal takes when it notices a change in the environment. Ex. a prairie dog squeaks as a warning.

A stimulus is an enemy or change in the environment that causes a response. Ex. a prairie dog considers a badger a stimulus (enemy).

Some adaptations these animals have are:
Good eye sight
Sense of smell

Animals have special adaptations that help them eat other animals.

A badger has claws and a good sense of smell that helps it sniff out prairie dogs.

An eagle can fly, has speed, and has strong talons to help it get fish.

A coyote has speed and fangs that help it hunt and eat food.

A gopher snake has an unhinging jaw that helps it swallow animals whole.

Animals and insects are adapted for feeding on plants in special ways.

Pronghorns have broad, flat teeth that help it eat grass.

Pocket gophers have pockets on the outside of their cheeks for storage. This helps it carry food back to its burrow.

Grasshoppers have sharp chewing parts in their mouth that useful for chewing leaves.

Butterflies have long tubes that help them drink nectar from deep in the flower.

Adaptations for finding/building shelter

Beavers build their homes by using their sharp, front teeth that cut trees down. They are able to hold their breath as they work underwater. Their tail helps it swim.

Prairie dogs use sharp claws (body part) to dig their homes. They live in towns (behavior).

Beavers are brown and are camouflaged (body part). They build dams (behavior).

How do birds find shelter on the plains?

Burrowing owls move into underground burrows other animals have left. (vacant)
They can fly, but they mostly run away from danger into their burrows.

The meadowlark makes its nest out of grass.

Prairie birds make their home on the ground. Flying is an adaptation for them to escape danger.

There are few trees on the prairie, so most birds find shelter and protection in the fields.

How do animals protect themselves from enemies?

Pronghorns use their white tails to signal danger to others.

Carp have alarm cells in their skin. They release a substance into the water when the fish is injured.

Snowshoe hares are camouflaged so they blend in and are not seen.

Rattlesnakes shake their rattles to warn enemies to go away.

Other important definitions:

Mimicry is looking like another animal. Monarch and viceroys look alike. The Monarch is poisonous because it eats milkweed.

Migration is the seasonal movement of animals from one place to another.

Hibernation is a state, similar to sleep, in which some animals pass the winter.


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