Plant and animal adaptation biology lesson for kids: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grades biology lesson.
Plants and animals live in a many different environments. Some live in the coldest places, some live in the hottest and driest, some even live in the deepest reaches of the ocean. All these places would be really hard for humans to survive, but these animals more than survive. They thrive! Let’s take a look at the way plants and animals have adapted to these extreme environments.
How do animals tolerate the cold of the frozen north and south? Some of them have a thick layer of fat under their skin. Whales, sea lions, and polar bears are some animals that have this thick layer of fat, which is called blubber. Some of thick fur, too, to help keep them warm.
Have you ever seen plants shed their leaves in the fall? That’s them making sure that they don’t lose too much water when it gets cold because the air is so, so dry in winter. They absorb as much water and nutrients as they can from their leaves and store it for when it gets warmer. Some plants don’t need to do this, though. Their leaves are long and narrow, and this special shape helps them retain water.
Just like plants store water in the winter, they also have to do it if they live in deserts. Cacti are very well known for this. They suck up as much water as they can, and store it in their stems. Some desert plants also have waxy coatings on their leaves or stems to keep themselves from drying out.
Desert animals find other ways to keep alive in deserts. Some, like the kangaroo rat, only come out at night, when it’s not so hot. They get their water from the food they eat: the bodies of their prey, or from the plants that store lots of water. These animals also have special kidneys that make their urine very concentrated so they keep as much water as possible inside their bodies.
What about deep under water? There are places so deep that no light from the sun reaches. Plants need light to make energy, a process called photosynthesis. Where there is sunlight, animals eat these plants, and life can go on. Deep under water, instead of sunlight, chemicals provide the energy needed to keep life going; some deep-sea worms use chemosynthesis, instead of photosynthesis. They provide energy for a whole lot of animals that live far under water, just like plants do on land and closer to the surface.
Since it’s so dark down there, a lot of animals make their own light, so they can see and communicate with each other. The anglerfish is one of these animals. It has a long antenna-like projection that glows and attracts prey, which they eat.
These are just some of the ways in which these amazing plants and animals are adapted to the extreme environments that they call home.