Hide and Seek
In the wild, it often comes down to predator and prey. There is the hunter and there is the hunted. Organisms want to stay alive. They hide or escape from animals who would like to eat them. So how do they do it? They adapt to their environment.
One very helpful adaptation is called camoufl age. You may have been surprised at some time by an animal that used camoufl age. It blended into its surroundings so well that you nearly missed seeing it. Its coloring, markings or other physical features allowed it to blend in to the area around it.
Animals use camoufl age to fool a predator. The hidden animal is not seen when a predator scans an area looking for food. Wild goats, for example, have coats that make them look invisible among rocks. A baby giraffe’s coat helps it hide among the grass and trees. A chameleon is a lizard that will change colors depending on the surface it is on.
Camoufl age often works the other way around, too. Predators can use camoufl age to trap their prey. A predator can attack unexpectedly an animal it wants to eat. The prey animal doesn’t see danger because the predator blends into the habitat. A leopard’s spotted coat helps it blend in to the background and sneak up on its prey.
Another popular adaptation is mimicry. Mimicry is when an animal has the physical characteristics that makes it look like another animal or a plant. Some moths look like a wasp. Predators that don’t like wasps will think the moth is a wasp and not eat it.
1) What is the function of camoufl age in the wild? ____________________________________________
2) How do animals use mimicry to protect themselves? ____________________________________________
3) What’s the difference between camoufl age and mimicry? ____________________________________________
4) If you were a wild animal, would you rather have the ability to mimic another animal or the ability to camoufl age yourself? Why? _____________________________________________________________________
5) If a chameleon was on a green leaf, what color do you think it would be? _____________________________________________________________________
1) to blend in to the habitat
2) They want to look like something a predator doesn’t want to eat.
3) Camoufl age makes an animal hard to see. Mimicry makes it look like something else.
4) student’s choice