An adaptation is a feature of an animal that helps it survive. This can be a physical change to the body of an animal, or a change in its behaviour. Adaptations happen over a very long period of time.
Most African animals live in the savannah. A savannah is a dry area of land with tall grass and scattered trees. This makes survival difficult as there is little water and temperatures are very high.
WHY DO GIRAFFES HAVE LONG NECKS?
Giraffes are well adapted to life in a savannah. Their long neck has many functions. For example, it allows them to reach up to tall trees and eat leaves. It is also used to help see predators from far away and to communicate with other giraffes over long distances. Without a long neck, giraffes would be an easier prey for predators. Also they would not get as much food.
WHY DO ZEBRAS HAVE STRIPES?
Zebras also live in savannahs. Their stripes are used for “dazzle” camouflage. Dazzle camouflage does not hide the zebra. Instead, it makes it harder for predators to judge how far away the zebra is. This prevents predators, such as lions, from attacking the zebra.
The stripes also disrupt the vision of disease-carrying flies, so they don’t land on and bite the zebras, giving them the disease.
WHY DO ELEPHANTS HAVE LARGE EARS?
Elephants are known for having large ears. This One of the functions is that it helps cool the elephant down when it is hot. This is because there is a lot of blood flowing through the ears. When the ears flap, more heat is released.
Elephants also use their ears to scare other animals by spreading them wide. This makes them look bigger than they already are.
WHY DO LIONS HAVE MANES?
The mane is the long hair on the neck of a male lion. Recently, it has been suggested the size and colour of the mane tells other lions how fit the male is. Experiments show that females prefer males with darker manes. Darker manes have the negative effect of raising body temperatures. This means only the “fittest” males can grow the darkest mane, which are the most attractive.
These are just some of the ways in which animals are adapted. Adaptations are important key for animals as they it enables them to survive.