Sunday, June 22, 2008

How do animal protect themselves ?

A pangolin will roll up into a ball-like shape to protect itself

For example in this case we are taking a pangolin as an animal that can protect itself from danger. A pangolin will roll up into a ball like shape to protect itself as its behaviour besides its has a hard scales as its special characteristics to protect itself. Animals have different physical characteristics that protect themselves from their enemies. These include:

a) a hard shell

b) thick skin

c) dry, hard scales

d) horns

e) spines

f) sharp claws

g) body shape or colour that matches the surroundings

h) good eyesight and hearing

Tiger have sharp claws to fight-off and injure their enemies

The bodies of garden snails, clams, crabs and tortoises are covered by a hard shell. The shells help them to protect their enemies. Garden snails and tortoises can also pull their head, legs or their whole bodies inside their shell. Clams protect themselves by closing up their shells.

Garden snails covered by its hard shell

Porcupines, porcupine fish and starfish have spines on the surface of their body. The spines can injure enemies that go near or attack these animals.

a) Porcupines raise their long, stiff spines as a warning when their enemies go near them.

b) A porcupine fish can inflate its body by drinking a lot of water. This raises the sharp spines on the fish’s body. The spines help to keep the fish’s enemies away.

Some animals have body shapes or colours that match their surroundings. This makes it easier for these animals to hide from their enemies.

a) Leaf insects have green body parts that look like leaves.

b) Sticks insects have along, thin body that look like a stick or twig. Their body colour is also similar to the colour of twigs.

c) Zebras have black and white stripes on their bodies. This makes it more difficult for their enemies to spot them from a distance.

Centipedes, cobras, wasps and scorpions ca defend themselves from their enemies by using their poison.

a) Centipedes and cobras can bite their enemies to weaken or kill them.

b) Wasps and scorpions can sting their enemies to weaken or kill them.

Centipede can bite their enemies

Wasp defends themselves using their poison

Besides physical characteristics, some animals also behave in special ways to protect themselves from enemies. These include:

a) changing the colour of fur or skin

b) living in groups

c) pretending to be dead

d) breaking off a body part

e) giving off a bad smell or black ink

f) running or flying away

g) hiding

For example, the artic fox can change the colour of its fur to match the colour of its surrounding. In spring and summer, the artic fox has grey fur. Before the start of autumn and winter, its fur will change to white. By changing the colour of its fur, the artic fox can avoid being detected by its enemies easily.

An iguana can change their colour of its skin

Chameleon can change their skin colour to match the colour of their surroundings, for example, the colour a tree trunk. This ability helps chameleons to hide from their enemies.

Some beetles and millipedes pretend to be dead when they are attacked or threatened.

A millipede curls up its body and pretends to be dead

A beetles pretends to be dead

Squid can give off black ink that darkens the water around to confuse their enemies

Elephants, deer, buffaloes and zebras live and move from place to place in groups (herds). This allows them to defend themselves together when they are in danger. For example, when predator tries to attack the young of the elephants, the adult elephants will form a circle and keep their young in the centre of the circle.

Besides, animals on earth live in many different habitats. Some of these habitats may be very hot or very cold. Animals that live in very hot habitats include camels and hippopotamuses. Animals that live in very cold habitats include whales and polar bears. Such animals have to adapt to the extreme weather in order to survive.

The animals have special characteristics to protect them from extreme weather. These include:

a) thick layer of fat under the skin

b) thick fur

c) wrinkled skin

d) food and water stored in the form of body fat

Animals living in very cold habitats have a thick layer of fat under their skin. The whales, dolphin, polar bear and penguin keep their body warm with the help of the fat under their skin.

Polar bear keep their body warm with the help of the fat under their skin

Whales have a thick layer of fat under their skin

Hippopotamuses wallow in water

Some animals have special behavior that helps them to adapt to very hot or cold weather conditions. These include:

a) wallowing in mud or water

b) migrating to a new habitat

c) hibernating

Some animals wallow in mud or water to keep their body cool on hot days. Buffaloes and rhinoceroses wallow in mud to keep their body cool on a hot day. Hippopotamuses wallow in water, for example in a river or lake to keep their body cool. This behavior also helps them to reduce loss of water from their body.

Swallows and white storks adapt to changes in the seasons by migrating to new habitats. These birds migrate to warmer regions before when the place that they are living in starts to experience winter. During winter, the habitats of these birds will be very cold. It is also very difficult for these birds to find food or water during winter. By migrating to warmer regions, these birds avoid dying of cold or hunger.

The special characteristics and behavior that protect animals from their enemies and extreme weather are important for their survival. In nature, stronger animals often kill weaker animals for food. For example, eagles kill rabbits and rat for food. Lions also kill zebras for food. So, weaker animals always have to protect themselves from stronger enemies in order to stay alive.

Some animals such as zebras have to protect themselves against both their enemies and extreme weather. Some large animals such as elephants do not have natural enemies. However, they still have to protect themselves from their hot weather in their habitat to stay alive. During a drought, they have to move to new habitats to find water and food.

Only animals that can protect themselves from their enemies and extreme weather will be survived in nature. Animals that cannot do so will be easily killed by their enemies or die of heat, cold or hunger. When all animals of the same type die, that type of animals will become extinct.


Amna said...

Exactly what I needed!!!

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Unknown said...

Very useful..A million thanks.God bless!


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