Animal Adaptations

Animal AdaptationsAll animals live in habitats. Habitats provide food, water, and shelter which animals need to survive, but there is more to survival than just the habitat. Animals also depend on their physical features to help them obtain food, keep safe, build homes, withstand weather, and attract mates. These physical features are called called physical adaptations. Physical adaptations do not develop during an animal's life but over many generations. The shape of a bird's beak, the number of fingers, color of the fur, the thickness or thinness of the fur, the shape of the nose or ears are all examples of physical adaptations which help different animals to survive.

Come and sample these internet sites about animal adaptations and complete the activities for each one to find out how a koala's paws are adapted for life in a tree.

African Hedgehog

  1. Besides having stiff spines that stick out from their bodies and help protect them, these animals also have loose skin under those spines and powerful back muscles. Why?

Kratt's Creatures

  1. From this page, click on "North America" and then click on "American alligator".
  2. How are these alligator's eyes adapted for seeing in water?


  1. What is the purpose of the mane on a male lion?
  2. Why are the eyes of a lion set in the front of its head rather than on the sides?
  3. A lion has heavily muscled forelimbs and shoulders. Why?
  4. Why do they haveforepaws equipped with long, retractile claws?
  5. Why do they have a rough tongue?
  6. Why do they have loose belly skin?

Bactrian Camel
  1. Camels have many adaptations that allow them to live successfully in desert conditions. List these adaptation and how they benefit the camel.

  1. How are the hands of a koala adapted for life in a tree?

Sea Otters

  1. Sea otters spend almost their entire lives in water. They eat, sleep, and even have their babies in water. How is their fur adapted to keep them warm? Why is it a critical situation when otters encounter oil spills?
  2. What do they eat?

Burmese Python

  1. How are the mouths of pythons adapted to finding prey and swallowing large prey?

White-cheeked Gibbon
  1. Why do many monkeys and apes have long arms?
  2. Describe special adaptations on the hands of gibbons.

South African Burrowing Bullfrog

  1. What do they eat?
  2. How do they hold on to prey that is struggling to escape?

California King Snake

  1. Why can king snakes eat rattle snakes?

Beaver Facts
  1. How are beavers built for underwater work?
  2. This site has additional information.

White Throated Savanna Monitor

  1. How long are they?
  2. What do they eat?
  3. How are their mouths adapted to what they eat?


  1. Why are giraffes able to go for long periods of time without water?
  2. How are their long necks adapted to their lifestyle?

Lappet-faced Vulture

  1. How are the heads of vultures adapted to what they eat?


  1. Scroll down about 1/3 of the way down the page. What special adaptations do manatees have that that allow them to stay under water longer than the average land-dwelling mammal?


  1. What do they eat?
  2. How are their feet adapted to rock climbing?

Polar Bears

  1. Why do polar bears have such big feet?
  2. How does their fur keep them warm?

Kratt's Creatures

  1. From this page, click on "Australia" and then click on "Platypus".
  2. How are platypuses adapted for the time they spend in water?

Kratt's Creatures

  1. From this page, click on "Oceans" and then click on "Pacific walrus".
  2. What do special adaptation do these walruses have that allow them to float on top of the water and sleep?

Squirrel Monkey
  1. Where in the world do they live?
  2. What do they eat?
  3. These monkeys live in group. How does this help them?

Kratt's Creatures

  1. From this page, click on "North America" and then click on "Mountain goat".
  2. How are they adapted for living in the tops of high, cold mountains?
  3. How are their rear ends adapted to protect themselves from other goats?

Gila Monster

  1. What do gila monsters do to avoid the heat of the day?
  2. What do gila monsters do in winter months to keep warm? How do they survive during winter months with little food?

Red Panda

  1. How are red pandas adapted to eating bamboo?

Kratt's Creatures

  1. From this page, click on "Eurasia" and then click on "Snow Leopard".
  2. How are the feet of snow leopards adapted for traveling and hunting on snowy and icy ground?

Canada Lynx

  1. What adaptations do lynxes have for maneuvering through deep snow?

Round Island Day Gecko

  1. How are their teeth adapted to what they eat?
  2. How are their feet adapted to where they live?
  3. What unique method do they have of defending themselves?

Teacher Resources

Marine Biology Animal Adaptation Webquest


Settel, Joanne. Exploding Ants : Amazing Facts About How Animals Adapt. New York : Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1999.

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