SURVIVAL IN THE WILD
Plants and animals have the hard job of surviving in a very wild world. How do they do it? There are many ways plants and animals have adapted in order to survive. Camouflage is one way animals adapt to survive. For some animals, this means that their fur, scales, or skin are a similar color to the land around them. Deer, for example, have brown fur that blends in with the trees, so it’s harder for predators to see them. This saves them from becoming prey to a larger animal. Some animals can actually change colors to match their environment. Many people think of chameleons when they think of this type of camouflage, but rabbits are a great example as well. Some rabbits’ fur will change colors depending on the season. Their fur might be brown in the spring, summer, and fall to match the trees, but the brown fur will fall out and white fur will grow in the winter to blend in with the snow. This way the rabbit is safer from predators year-round. Some insects, instead of blending in with their environment, look like something else that will deter animals from eating them. A walking stick looks just like a stick so that predators will pass it by without noticing it. Katydids mimic leaves. Some moths and butterflies have designs on their wings that make them look like snakes or owls, to scare away their predators. For some plants, however, they don’t want to blend in; they want to stand out to survive! Many plants grow flowers with colorful petals to attract bees. The bees help pollinate the flowers so that they can produce new flowers. Instead of hiding, some plants and animals develop structures that aim to hurt anything that tries to hurt them. Some plants develop thorns so that animals will not eat them. Some animals have extremely sharp teeth and claws so they can fight off other animals. Porcupines and hedgehogs even have spikes, called quills or spines, covering their backs so animals won’t want to eat them! There are many ways plants and animals have adapted to survive in the wild. Do you know of any other ways?
Answer each question:
1. What are three ways plants and animals have adapted to survive?
2. Go back to the second paragraph. Highlight two details that show how camouflage is effective in helping animals survive.
3. What does “deter” mean in the 3rd paraagraph? How do you know?
4. How does mimicry (paragraph 3) help moths and butterflies survive?
5. If each paragraph had a heading, the heading for the 2nd paragraph could be “Camouflage.” Create a heading for the 5th paragraph.