My daughter, Eloise, is only one year old. Whenever we visit her grandpa, she wants to see his fish. She always points to them and makes Grandpa feed them with her. Watching Eloise feed the fish makes me wonder, how do little fish in nature survive? Animals in the wild, like fish, survive because of many different adaptations. Animals have visual features, such as camouflage, to protect them. Other animals look hard to eat. Some animals use their size to scare away predators.
One of the ways an animal protects itself is through camouflage and other visual aspects. There are lots of animals that camouflage or blend into their environment. In the article, “Who Wants a Spiny Snack,” it says animals “might use camouflage, special patterns or colors that help them hide in their environment.” For example, a flounder can blend into the sandy ocean floor through its colors. A gecko is another animal that blends into its environment with its brown coloring. These animals and many others have adapted over the years to have a coloring pattern that allows them to blend into the environment. By hiding in plain sight, these animals can’t be found by predators as easily.
A second way that animals protect themselves is by appearing difficult to eat. Most animals do not want to eat something that would hurt them. “Who Wants to Eat a Spiny Snack” gives the examples of porcupines, hedgehogs, and sea urchins appearing challenging to eat. These three types of animals have sharp spines that make them look less appetizing to eat. Another animal that appears hard to eat is a ladybug, whose red coloring reminds its predators of poisonous toxins. Animals such as sea urchins, tree frogs, ladybugs, and porcupines use their visual appearance to scare away potential predators through spiky, hard exteriors, or toxic colorings.
A third way that wild animals protect themselves is through their size.
Many predators hunt down prey that looks small, weak, and easy to catch. This is why some animals make themselves look bigger to scare away their predators. Some snakes, toads, and pufferfish are animals that make themselves appear larger when they are threatened. For example, the article describes an ordinary brown fish swimming in the water until a shark comes near it. Then this puffer fish puffs up into a big “round, spiny ball” This action startles the shark so that it swims away, leaving the pufferfish to survive another day.
As you can see, different adaptations help wild animals survive and to avoid becoming another animal’s dinner. These adaptations include camouflage, unappetizing appearances, and large sizes. Understanding animal adaptations such as these help me to understand my role. Just like Eloise helps the fish at grandpa’s by feeding them, we need to help wild animals by keeping their environments consistent so that their adaptations can continue to protect them.