If you’ve ever observed your own backyard or looked at books about animals, you’ve noticed there is a lot of diversity among animal species all over the world This is because of animal adaptations. Read on to explore more about the behavioral and physical traits of animals known as adaptations.
What Is an Animal Adaptation?
Some animals have scales, and some animals have spots. Some animals migrate, and some animals hibernate. You’ve probably observed the wide range of animal diversity by looking at books or even looking out your own window.
This diversity in appearance and behavior is caused by animal adaptations.Animal adaptions are behaviors or physical traits that improve an animal’s chance of survival in his or her environment. Adaptations are influenced by environmental factors including terrain, climate, and food availability. Animals have needs such as food, water, shelter, and reproduction. To meet those needs, animals adapt to their environment.An animal does not adapt overnight! For example, a giraffe didn’t one day have a short neck and decide that in order to reach the acacia leaves at the top of the tree she needed to grow a long neck in her sleep.In general, adaptation is a process that can take hundreds or thousands of years.
Favorable traits and behaviors increase an animal’s chance of surviving in his or her environment. This enables that animal to pass those traits and behaviors to their babies through the process of inheritance.
Examples of Animal Adaptations
Behavioral adaptations refer to something an animal does to survive, and physical adaptations refer to a physical trait an animal has to survive. Examples of behavioral adaptations include birds calling to mates, birds building nests, skunks spraying to warn predators, opossums playing dead, and black bears bluff charging as a warning. Migration and hibernation are also examples of behavior adaptations. These are things that animals do to survive in their environment.
Examples of physical adaptations include beak sharpness, fur color, fish gills, reptile scales, and bird feathers. Animal mimicry and camouflage are other examples of physical adaptations. These are all things that animals have that help them survive in their environment.Animal mimicry is an interesting adaptation.
This happens when one animal looks very similar to another animal for a survival benefit. A great example of this is the Viceroy butterfly mimicking the Monarch butterfly. Birds love to eat butterflies, but the Monarch does not taste very good (by the way, taste is also a physical adaptation improving survival). Over time, the Viceroy adapted its appearance to look similar to the Monarch so that birds will not eat it! Birds see the bright orange and black butterflies and decide the snack is not worth the bad taste.
Camouflage is another example of a physical adaptation. This means that an animal’s appearance allows it to physically blend in with the environment, making it difficult to see. This is beneficial to predators so they can sneak up on prey, but it’s also beneficial for prey to be able to blend in and avoid predators.
A physical or behavioral adaptation is a characteristic or trait that an animal develops in response to environmental pressures, like food availability and climate. Examples include hibernation, migration, fur color, and night vision.
These favorable traits improve an animal’s chances of survival in that environment by helping that animal meet basic needs, including finding food, shelter, and mates.