Animals and Their Habitat
Category : 4th Class
Animals are found everywhere on the earth. They are found on the highest of mountains and in the deepest of the sea. They are found in the hottest deserts or in the cool poles (Antarctica). Animals live in the wild and even in our homes. They live in air too. The surrounding or the environment in which an animal lives and survive is called its habitat. Animals develop certain features, which help them to survive in their specific environment, or habitat. If they are not properly adapted to their surrounding, they either die or they move to places where they are better suited and can adjust in a much better way for survival and growth. The process of developing special features in order to adjust to the changes in the surrounding or the habitat of an animal is called adaptation. Depending on the habitat of animals, they can be differentiated from one another into five different groups.
Terrestrial animals are animals which live on land. These animals have developed specific features that help them to survive and live on land. Most of these animals have legs, which help them to run fast. They have to run fast to catch their prey or to protect themselves from becoming prey of other animals (predators). They breathe through well-developed lungs.
Some terrestrial animals have sharp teeth with pointed canines and sharp claws to catch their prey. These animals have well developed sense organ, which helps them to look for food in the dark night or by mere movement of their prey. These special adaptive features are common to most of the terrestrial animals.
Condition on the land is not uniform everywhere. It varies from place to place. Mountain region and the Polar regions are very cold. Animals living there have developed several adaptations to adjust to these climatic conditions. Polar bear living in the polar region and Yak living at high mountain range have thick coat of fur on their body, which protects them from the chilling cold. Animals like Walrus, Seals and Penguins also live in freezing conditions. These animals have special adaptation called blubber (thick layer of fat).
Conditions in the deserts are also very harsh. Here the temperature is very hot during the day but the nights are cold. Animals living here has to adapt to the changing temperature and scarcity (i.e. very little) of food and water. Camel is the very good example of an animal which has very well adapted itself to the life in a desert.
Camel has thick skin and very little hair on their body. This thick skin protects it from scotching sun during the day and also from the nights that is cold. Camel has a hump at its back. It can live on its fat in the hump, and can survive without food or water for several days.
A very special adaptation to combat winter by many animals is hibernation. Some animals such as snake, lizards, frog etc. cannot bear the cold winter. They stuff themselves with lots of food during the summer and get fat. These animals become inactive during the winter. This winter sleep is called hibernation. Animals in the desert go for a long summer sleep, as the summer is hot and with very little water and food. Animals, wade of the harsh summer heat, to save water and to combat scarcity of food, sleep in their holes and burrows. This summer sleep is called aestivation. These are few of special adaptations of animals living in their specific habitat.
Animals living in water are called aquatic animals. All aquatic animals are not found in the same type of water. Many kinds of fish, snails, snake, are found in fresh water i.e. streams, lakes etc. Animals like dolphins, sharks, curbs, seals starfish, jelly are found in salty water i.e. the sea and oceans.
Most of the aquatic animals breathe air dissolved in water, through organs called gills. Animals like dolphins and whale breathe through their lungs. Aquatic animals have special body shape like spindle shaped, flattened or disc shape. Dog fish, spindle shaped sting ray has a flattened shape. Aquatic animals swim in water. They have special organs called fins or paddles, which help them in swimming.
Amphibians are animals, which can live both on land and in water. They have special adaptations for their life in both habitats. The best example of an amphibian is frog and toad.
Special features that make them a perfect amphibian is the lungs to breathe on land and moist skin to breathe in water. The back legs of frogs, are stronger than their front legs, this help them to jump. They have webbed feet which help them to swim in water. Frogs lay eggs in water. Early stages in the life cycle of frog (tadpole) cannot survive on the land.
Animals that spent most of their life time on trees are called arboreal animals. These animals have sharp and strong claws to cling or hold on tightly to the branches of the trees. Arboreal animals have strong arms and legs to climb up and down the branches. Monkeys use their long muscular tail to coil around branches when they move from one branch to the other. Arboreal animals feed on the food from the tree. Koala bear found in Australia is another good example of arboreal animals.
Aerial animals are those which spent a greater part of their lives in the air. Flying is the main characteristic of this group. Most of the adaptation of aerial animals revolve around their flying. Most of the birds and bats belong to this group. The body of the birds is made light with hollow light bones. Their front legs (for limbs) are modified into wings, which help them to fly. Their bodies are covered with feathers. They have well developed lungs to breathe air. They have sharp claws to hold branches. Claws of eagle are specially designed to catch prey. Birds living in cold places like Siberia come to India during winter season as the climatic condition there is very harsh and also there is scarcity of food. Siberian crane travel thousands of miles and come to India in search of food, warmth and to give birth to their young ones. They travel in large groups. At the end of the winter they travel back to their original home land. This mass movement of the birds from their home to the comfort region in the harsh climatic condition and back is called migration.
Long winter sleep is ________.
(e) None of the above
Winter sleep is hibernation.
Summer sleep is aestivation.
Mass movement of birds is migration.
Bat can fly. It is an aerial in nature. To which group does it belong?
(e) None of the above
Bat is a mammal..
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