Animal adaptations and food chains
A constant struggle for survival occurs in nature every day. Each animal has evolved with special adaptations that allow it to find food, escape from predators, or reproduce enough times to maintain its population. The red tailed hawk is a superb predator. Its keen eyesight, sharp talons, and curved beak allow it to catch a variety of animals in various habitats. As a result, it is one of the most common hawks in North America. The gray squirrel has evolved to live in trees in a forest. It has excellent balancing abilities, strong rear legs for jumping, a bushy tail to act as a parachute if it falls, and eyes that see 270 degrees around. It has learned to zigzag when running from a predator and hold its tail up over its body so a hawk will often grab only some bits of fur instead of the squirrel. Each animal is able to survive because of its adaptations. The hawk misses many squirrels before it finally catches one. The squirrel has many babies so its population is maintained.
The relationship between predators and prey is called a food chain. The squirrel depends on plants for its food. Plants depend on sunlight to grow. Predators depend on a constant supply of prey animals to survive and feed their young. A balance between predators and prey is important to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
Last Modified on April 3, 2012