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Animal Protection

K. Light

All photos, text, and graphics copyright 2007

Kris Light
Ways animals protect themselves
„ Camouflage – hiding in plain view
„ Covering themselves or burrowing underground
„ Being alert to their surroundings
„ Venom - Biting or stinging
„ Poison – touched or eaten
„ Mimicry – looking like another animal
„ Protective coloration, false eyespots
„ Horns or antlers
„ Claws, teeth
„ Shells
„ Living in groups – herds, flocks, schools
Masters of disguise – the camouflage
artists Leafy Sea Dragon
Animals may
have skin, scales
or feathers that
look like part of
environment. The
flounder can Caterpillar covered
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change its skin in flowers K. Light

patterns to match Flounder

the background.
Some animals
add things from
environment; the
caterpillar added
flowers to its
body to help it
blend in with its
food source. K. Light Owl K. Light
More examples of camouflage
Anoles can change Jellyfish are transparent

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Sea Anemones cover themselves
Lynx Spider blends With shells and sand when closed
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in with the leaves The Stingray matches the sand

The Snowy Plover is the

color of the sand K. Light K. Light K. Light
Mimicry – looking like someone else
Scarlet milksnake „ Some harmless Monarch Butterfly
animals mimic
dangerous or
distasteful animals
to fool predators
into not eating
„ The harmless
K. Light Scarlet Milk Snake
mimics the red, K. Light
yellow and black
stripes of the Viceroy
venomous Coral
Snake. “Red on Butterfly
Black, Venom lack,
Red on yellow, Kill a
moth The Humming bird
clearwing moth
looks a lot like a
bumblebee to a
Bumblebee hungry bird. The
Viceroy butterfly
closely resembles K. Light
the distasteful
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Monarch butterfly.
The Element of Surprise!
Io Moth
„ If a bird tries to Tiger Moth
eat either of
these moths it
will be in for a
big surprise!
The moths
suddenly open
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wings exposing
either eyespots
or bright colors
to frighten the
predator away.

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There is no such thing
as a “poisonous” spider
or snake, they can be
eaten! Animals
that bite or sting are
venomous. Think of a
“V” as being like sharp
fangs or a stinger
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to inject poison. The K. Light
copperhead and lionfish
are venomous because
they have either
Venomous fangs or spines. Poisonous
The monarch caterpillar
and the salamander are
poisonous if eaten by a
predator. Poisons
have to be touched or
eaten to be dangerous.
Think of a “P” as being
round like the
end of a tongue or

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Poisonous or Venomous?
1. Bumblebee 2. Monarch Butterfly 3. Ladybug

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4. Diamondback
Rattlesnake 5. Garden spider

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Answers: 1. V, 2. P, 3. P, 4. V, 5. V, 6. P
Chemical warfare

„ This Stink Beetle is

giving a warning that it
does not want to be
bothered by doing a
headstand. If a
predator does not heed
this warning, the beetle
will blast it with a hot,
smelly liquid from the
end of its abdomen!
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“If you touch or eat me, I’ll hurt you or
make you sick!” Ladybug
Io moth caterpillar

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Salamander K. Light
An Aphid squirting
chemicals „ It may be hard to believe
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a tiny blue frog could kill
you or a pretty green
K. Light caterpillar could give you
Poison Dart Frog painful stings if you picked
Porcupine them up. A cute, red
ladybug and an orange
salamander would taste
terrible if you ate them.
These animals can’t talk,
but they have ways of
“telling” potential
predators to stay away!
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The stripes
Protective coloration, stripes in the eye
of this
and spots Butterfly fish
break up the
pattern of the
„ Bright colors in “true” eye.
nature are often The black spots
on the back
indicative of a fins are “false
venomous or eyes” which are
intended to lure
poisonous animal. predators away
Red and black, K. Light from the head.
Yellow and black,
Orange and black, Milkweed Moth caterpillar
and Yellow and
Brown are warning
colors. Can you
think of other
animals with these K. Light
colors? 4-eyed Milkweed Beetle
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Antlers and horns
„ Some hoofed animals have
either horns or antlers. They
are used for protection, to
fight other males to gain
dominance, and to impress
the ladies! K. Light

Big Horn Sheep

„ Deer, elk, and moose have
antlers, they are made of
bone and fall off in the late
„ Goats and sheep have horns
(they don’t fall off). They are
made mostly of keratin, like
our fingernails! K. Light
Being alert to their surroundings
White-tail Deer
„ Many prey animals are
constantly checking out their
surroundings for predators by
using their keen senses of
sight, hearing and smell. They
freeze in place making
Gray squirrel themselves difficult to detect;
most mammal predators don’t
see color well and they may
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not see prey animals unless
their movement gives them
Cottontail Rabbit
„ Animals such as the rabbit and
K. Light deer can move their ears
independently to better detect
predators. Most prey animals
have their eyes on the side of
their head in order to have a
wider field of view (but they
give up depth of field in their
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Mussels and barnacles

Shells Snail
Some animals are
able to close
the soft parts of
their body
inside a shell
for defense.
Hermit crabs
recycle shells
of dead marine
snails. They K. Light
must find a new
one when they
outgrow the old K. Light
Hermit crab
Many sea Box Turtle
creatures have
shells to protect
from being
eaten, dried out
during low tide,
or from being
smashed by the
waves. K. Light

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Safety in numbers
Fungus gnat larvae

Pelicans and Sea gulls K. Light

„ Animals often mass together in

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flocks, herds, schools, etc. to
protect themselves from being
Bison in Yellowstone NP eaten.
„ The mass of fungus gnat
larvae moved together in a
large group to look like a small
„ Bison and other herding
animals protect themselves
and their young from predators
by grouping together.
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End of Presentation

Kris Light (klight10@comcast.net)