Friday, March 18, 2011

Animals, Announce Your Adaptations!

This week, Mrs. Ranney's class is learning about animal adaptations.

An adaptation is a body part or behavior that helps a living thing survive in its environment.

For example, a giraffe's long neck helps it reach the leaves in high trees on the savannas of Africa.
The giraffe's neck is a physical adaptation.

An antelope squirrel stays cool during the hot desert day by staying in its underground burrow.
This is an example of a behavioral adaptation.


Many animals have physical or behavioral adaptations. For example, polar bears of the Arctic can run on the ice without slipping. To learn about the polar bear's physical adaptation, click here!

Here is a fun animal adaptation quiz!



Use the Online World Book Encyclopedia to research an animal of your choice.
Take notes about two to three adaptations.
Be sure to include the animal's habitat.

Write a comment as if you are that animal. 
Tell us about your adaptations!

What makes your adaptations so useful? Use HTML code to bold the facts!


  1. Dear new friends,

    My name is Bucky Beaver, and I live in a freshwater pond in the woods. I am very busy right now. Actually beavers are busy all the time! We are known for being quite industrious! (I'm quite proud of my industriousness! I'm busy, busy, busy!)

    I have a few moments to spare, and I want to use that time to share two important physical adaptations I have, my teeth and my big flat tail.

    Chew, chew, chew...that's what I do! I use my front teeth to chop down trees, and then I use the trees to make a dam and my lodge. My lodge is my home where I have a family, and we raise our little kits.

    My tail is my other physical adaptation. It's so useful! First, I can use it as a rudder to guide me through the water! In addition, when I'm using my sharp teeth to gnaw down a tree, I can use my black scaly-skinned tail to help me balance!

    On no! I just heard my eldest son hit the pond with his flat tail. That's a beaver alert! I've got to swim!

    Have a beautifully busy day!

    Bucky Beaver

  2. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    I want to introduce my self. I am a Basilik lizard, my nickname is The Jesus Lizard.
    The reason why I am called The Jesus Lizard, is because I have the mind-blowing ability
    to walk and run on water as fast as 1.5 meters per second.
    That is my main physical adaptation to be able to get away from predators such as snakes, etc.

    I am small, I can grow to be up to three inches long, and weigh about 80 grams. I live in Latin America, and I was recently introduced to Florida were I had to adapt to the colder winters, by burrowing into a leaf litter (dead plants such as leafs, bark, and twigs that has fallen to the ground).

    I will highly recommend you to watch a video of me, and if you do you will be amazed.

    Your reptile friend.

  3. Dear Mrs. Ranney's Class,

    Jambo! I am Ayana, the aardvark, from the African grasslands,which are called savannas.

    My claws and my tongue are two of my physical adaptations. Shaped like spoons, my sharp claws help me tear open ant or termite nests, and my sticky, long tongue helps me lap up the delectable dinner I find in the nests!

    My claws really come in handy in many ways! In addition to helping me find my dinner, I used them to dig my 43-foot long burrow.
    I was certainly relieved that I had just finished my burrow in time to escape a fierce lion that tried to attack me yesterday!

    Before I ducked into my home, I rolled onto my back and used my claws to let that lion know who is king of this burrow!
    Rolling onto my back to defend myself is an example of one
    of my behavioral adaptations

    Now, I’m just resting here in my burrow waiting to read all about
    your adaptations!


  4. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Hi! I’m Annie the armadillo, writing to you from South America. I just finished my lunch of worm, spider, and snail salad, so I have some time to write and inform you about my adaptations.

    One of my physical adaptations is my strong claws, which I use to dig underground tunnels and burrows and to search for food. That’s one of my behavioral adaptations. I also use my muscular claws to comment on the blog.

    Another physical adaptation I have is my long, narrow tongue. I use my tongue to lick up insects which is another of my behavioral adaptations.

    My most well known physical adaptation is my hard outer shell. My shell is built of small plates of skeletal armor fitted closely together. Can you guess what I use it for? I use it for protection from my predators. Once I’m curled up in my shell, only few predators can reach me. Now that’s what I call a behavioral adaptation!

    I have to go back to my burrow to take care of my four babies that are all girls (I always give birth to babies that are either all boys or all girls).

    Yours Truly,
    Annie the armadillo

  5. Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    Hi, my name is Kaitlin the Koala, and I live in a eucalyptus tree in Australia. I'm a very lazy animal, so I've had time to comment before because when people come to see me they leave their laptops by my tree. Wait... where was I? Oh yeah I just didn't comment because the post was all about all of those snobby rain forest animals.

    Anyway, let me tell you about myself. Some of my adaptations are my razor sharp, curved claws. Beware!! I also have long toes and a really strong grip that I use to grab the food off of the trees. I like eucalyptus leaves, which luckily, come from the eucalyptus trees.

    Here, I find this fact the most interesting. I am a nocturnal animal, so I sleep during the day and I'm awake at night. Since I'm awake at night, it's like your days, so I'm active primarily at night.

    Also, since I'm a female koala, a physical adaptation I have is my pouch for baby joeys. Joeys are infant koalas.

    I also rarely drink, which is why I'm called a koala, the Australian Aboriginal word for no drink. The reason I barely drink is because in my favorite food, the eucalyptus leaves, there's a special liquid in the leaves. I don't need water that often.

    I better get going because the person who's laptop I'm using right now is coming back to get it!

    Kaitlin the Koala

  6. Dear Mrs. Ranney's class,

    It's Rafael the Spider Monkey again.

    My long tail helps me hang on tree limbs. My tail is so long and strong it is like an extra limb, and helps me climb. That's my physical adaptation.

    I can hang by the tail, and grab objects. My long and strong tail helps me hang, and it makes grabbing objects easier. That's my behavioral adaptation.

    All the best,

  7. Mrs. Ranney's Super StudentsMarch 22, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,
    Hi there! I'm Hilda Hippo from the savanna of Africa.

    I'd like to tell you about one of my physical adaptations and one of my behavioral adaptations.

    Since I live in shallow water, my eyes and nostrils are at the top of my head. This is so I can see and breathe even when most of my body is under water! This is my special physical adaptation.

    Even though I'm huge, enemies still approach me! All I have to do is open my mouth as wide as I can to threaten the predator! My enemies take one look at my sharp canines and dash away quickly! This is my amazing behavioral adaptation.

    Well, I see someone coming to eat me right now, so I'd better open my mouth!

    See you around the savannas!

    Hilda Hippo
    (Your Class)

  8. Dear Mrs. Ranney's Class,

    My name is Oscar Opposum. You may have seen me before. I'm usually about the size of a cat with grey or black fur. I have a pointed, pink nose and a long tail. We usually......................

    Sorry about that. A coyote walked by. I had to play dead for a moment. That's one of our adaptations that we have to help protect us. When we feel threatened, we play dead so that the predator will leave us alone. It worked!

    I have to go though! The sun is coming up. It's almost daytime so I need to get some sleep. I'm a nocturnal animal.

    Have a good day!

    Oscar Opposum

  9. Milly the macaw (Ariel) :)March 22, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Squawk! It is me Milly Macaw. My friend Billy(who is a blue macaw) told me about your post, so I commented.

    My physical adaptation is my beak and claws. I use my beak for grabbing food, and my claws are for grabbing branches.

    My behavioral adaptation is my squawking.If some animal tries to eat me, I squawk. Once they hear my gnawing squawk they go away.

    See you soon!

    Milly Macaw

  10. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My name is Sid the Squirrel. I live in the forests. I was just devouring nice crunchy, delicious acorns. I am here to tell you my three physical adaptations. My long tail helps me cross small branches. It also is a little fluffy pillow I sleep on. My cheeks help me hold my acorns in them. They also helps me hold the food that I was going to save for later until a hungry animal scared me by chasing me around. Oh, don’t forget my super strong legs! They help me climb up trees. They help me hold on to slippery things. Oh no! There comes the same animal that scared me yesterday. I have to go right now. I hope I can comment again.

    Sid the Squirrel

  11. Katie Kangaroo (Carly:)March 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    G'day mate, my name is Katie the kangaroo. Kangaroos live mainly in central, southern, and eastern Australia.

    I just had time to sneak into the room where all of the computers are because the tourist just passed me, and the visitors are never really interested to see me. Just in case they want to, I will be getting back soon.

    I thought that I had a little time to make a comment, so I decided to do it on this post. Where was I again...Sorry I just lost track. I don't normally lose track just like that because I just got knocked out by some little boys playing cricket where they weren't supposed to be playing.
    Do you know what I mean?

    Was I talking about where I live? If I was, I will get back to that now. Kangaroos are mammals, and the mothers feed milk to their young joeys. My mum feeds me her milk. We are a kind of mammal called marsupial. Marsupials give birth to very small babies.

    Most of the infant marsupials live in a pocket, or pouch, on their mother's belly until the baby grows larger. The two main kinds of kangaroos are red kangaroos and gray kangaroos. A full-grown male kangaroo stands about as tall as a man.

    Female kangaroos are a bit smaller. Kangaroos also have a small head, a pointed nose, and colossal ears. Most of us have a long tail, and tremendously powerful hind legs.

    We can hop as fast as 30 miles per hour. All of the kangaroos use their long tail for balance while they hop. Most of us kangaroos usually rest in the shade during the day. At night, we usually feed on grass and small plants. Every one of us kangaroos spend our time in very small groups of kangaroos.

    Female kangaroos like my mum, give birth to one very tiny joey at a time. The baby that the kangaroo gives birth to is called a joey. A newborn joey is only about one inch long. The newborn infant fastens itself to a nipple in its mother's pouch, and stays there for about six to eight months.

    Kangaroos usually live up to six to eight years. Our only enemies are people and wild dogs called dingoes. We are protected by law. Except when there are a lot of kangaroos, some hunting is allowed.

    Kangaroos have very long legs so they can hop and move faster, and that is a physical adaptation. They also have large, strong tendons in their hind legs which act as "springs", so that one was another physical adaptation.

    Adult kangaroos have a pouch to take care of their joey. The mothers' have two different kinds of milk in their body for different aged joeys, which is a physical adaptation. We have an ability to swim because we are extremely strong. Kangaroos are also herbivores, which means that we don't eat meat. That one is a behavioral adaptation.

    I enjoyed telling you some facts about me, but I have to get going because I think that I hear people saying where is the intriguing kangaroo that the tourist told us about?

    Did you know that there are more kangaroos than people in Australia?

    I think that that fact is extremely interesting.

    Warmest Regards,
    Katie Kangaroo

  12. Danielle the Dart Frog (Leah)March 22, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Hi! My name is Danielle and I am a Poisonous Dart Frog.

    I am hanging out in the rainforest in South America, so I decided to type a comment.

    My brightly colored skin warns my predators that I am poisonous. This is one of my physical adaptations. My skin color can be red, orange, yellow, or blue. I am small and colorful, but that doesn’t mean I am tasty! In fact, if a predator tries to eat me, my poisonous skin will kill them. This is another physical adaptation. Now that you know that I am poisonous, you might just want to snack on someone else!

    Another interesting fact is that I do not make my poison myself. I collect the poison from what I eat. I eat ants, mites and termites. This is a behavioral adaptation.

    Your Friend,

    Danielle the Dart Frog

  13. Dear Mrs. Ranney and class,

    Hello! I'm Wendy Whale. I live in the ocean. One adaptation I have is I have sharp teeth. I use my sharp teeth to catch fish, to eat seals and sea lions, and hunt bigger whales. Another adaptation I have is I have a blowhole and two fins. I have a blowhole so I can breathe when I'm underwater. My fins are useful because they are one of the things I need to swim(I also need a tail in order to swim). My fins also are useful because they help me keep warm. See you later because I just saw a seal and I'm really hungry.

    Your New Friend,
    Wendy Whale(Grace)

  14. Dear Wendy,
    I enjoyed reading your comment.
    There are so many kinds of whales, and many of them do not have teeth like you do! Would you please tell us what kind of whale you are?
    Happy spouting!

    Mrs. Ranney

  15. Dear Mrs. Ranney
    I am a crocodile. I live in Central America in the rain forest. A behavioral adaptation I have is I sneak up on animals that I eat such as deer, fish, and birds. Since some of them are so small, I trap them in my mouth.

    A physical adaptation I have is my humongous teeth. I use them to scare away hunters. Hunters are usually killing crocodiles for shoes or hats. Another physical adaptation I have is my nose.Since I can not go completely under water,I need my nose to be on top, so I can breathe.

    Yours truly,

  16. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Ni Hao!
    Hello my name is Carl the Chinese Alligator.
    I dwell in the dingy streams of Northeast China. I can dig a burrow to conceal myself in it. This is one of my behavioral adaptations. My burrows are long and thin. Since the burrows are also dark, predators get lost all the time in them.

    Another one of my physical adaptations is that I am nocturnal. It is good for me to be nocturnal because it is easy to see my dark black skin in the daylight. This way people can't catch and kill me for my valuable alligator skin. Plus I see just as well at night as I do during the day! Nighttime is also better for hunting because my prey is out at night and my predators are not!

    I have great jaws for ripping, crushing and grabbing. This is another one of my physical adaptations. My strong jaws are good for eating bony, tough food such as Black Caimans, large birds, and people. I have to be careful, though, because the Black Caimans also love to eat me!

    I enjoyed telling you about some of my adaptations. I have to go because I am getting ready for my guest
    Ben the Black Caiman. (I hope he won't eat me!)

    Carl the Chinese Alligator

    P.S. You may never meet another Chinese Alligator because we are almost extinct. Most of my relatives have died because our habitat is being destroyed to make rice fields. Others have been killed for our skin or by eating poisoned rats. Therefore, I am very special!

  17. Jake, the Llama (Philip)March 23, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranny,

    My name is Jake the llama, and I live in the Andes Mountains in South America. I am a relative of the camel, but I don’t have a hump on my back. All llamas weigh 50 to 75 pounds. For example, my friend Justin, weighs 65 pounds, and I weigh 60 pounds.

    It gets very cold here in the Andes Mountains. One of the ways I have adapted physically is that I have wooly fur which keeps me warm in the cold weather.

    I am used to carry heavy loads, and can travel for 20 miles a day. We llamas like to graze on grasslands and I have adapted behaviorally by eating shrubs and bushes, and I only need a little water to drink. If I get angry, or my load is too heavy, I will refuse to move, lie down, and spit bad-smelling saliva in my enemies face. Be careful not to get on my bad side.

    Yours truly,

    P.S.I have 4 cousins that live at Philip’s house. Would you tell him to say hello to them for me?

  18. Dear Mrs.Ranney's class,

    I am Penelope the pig and I live on a dairy farm.One physical adaption about me is my snout.I use my snout to dig up vegetable roots which I love to eat.I also like to eat slosh, it's mmmm good.

    Oink! It's a great day to roll around in the mud and get dirty.Actually,I need the mud to cool down my body,since I have no sweat glands, therefore I can't stay cool without mud.This is one of my behavioral adaptions.

    It was nice chatting with you,but I have to go and feed the piglets (all 10 of them).

    Penelope pig [Raelynn]

  19. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Hi ! I am Emma the Eagle, one of the most strong and mighty birds in the world! You might have figured out that I was an eagle because I have a huge head that is covered with feathers. I also have incredible eye sight. I can sometimes see my prey (my food) while I am flying in the air. I hunt for my food during the day and I like to eat mostly rabbits, squirrels, other birds and dead animals.

    Another one of my physical adaptations is that I have really long and broad wings. The wings support my heavy body when I fly and spread like fingers to help me soar through the air.

    You should see me fly! I can fly for a really long time without using my wings and also carry my prey while I am flying back to my nest where I live. I like to usually live in tall trees by a cliff high in the mountains and sometimes high in a cliff by the water.

    I have to go soar through the air and find some dinner!


    Emma the Eagle

  20. Pearl the Platypus (Mikayla)March 24, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney and class,

    My name is Pearl the Platypus. I live in Eastern Australia. I just finished eating my evening snack, so I have time to comment. I read that this is an adaptations post, so let me tell you about some of my adaptations. A physical adaption is that my nose is wide, flat, and doesn't have any hair, similar to a duck's bill. A second physical adaptation is that I have webbed feet. I also have a large, flat tail. My body is covered with thick and soft fur. In fact, I have three layers of fur to keep me warm. A third physical adaptation is that my brothers have a sharp spur or point on the inside of their ankles. They can prick and poison enemies with their spurs.

    A behavioral adaptation of mine is that I can use my bill to dig up worms, small shellfish, and other animals from the bottom of streams. I am also an great swimmer and diver. I can stay under the water for about two minutes.

    I have to go now, bye!

    Best Wishes,
    Pearl the Platypus


  21. Hola Mrs. Ranney,

    My name is Phineas the green iguana. I live in the tropical rainforest areas so I can be by river and streams. I love to swim a lot, but when I get tired, I go back up high into the forest canopy where I spend most of my time. Sometimes that can be as high as 40-50 feet. But don't worry about me, I am very sturdy and can jump to the ground without even getting hurt!

    I have several important phsysical adaptations, my long fingers and claws, my long pointy tail, and my beautiful green color. My long fingers and claws make me able to climb and grab things. I am very fast for someone who is six feet long! My beautiful green body lets me blend into my surroundings so my enemies can't see me. The best part is my tail. It is about half my body length and the cool thing is, that if a predator grabs me, my tail will fall off and I can get away. The great thing is, that it will grow back.

    Well, I need to go eat now because it might be a while until I can have food again. That isn't a problem though, because I have a flap under my chin called a dewlap. I can fill it up with food and store it there until I need again, or I can blow it up with air to frighten off enemies.

    Let me know if you would like to come visit me, you are always welcomed in my canopy.

    (coming from a cold blooded body)

  22. Sasha Scorpion (Rachel)March 25, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney and Class,

    Hi, my name is Sasha Scorpion! I stopped by to tell you all about my adaptations.

    I live in many different places such as desert flats, sand dunes, desert & Mesick Mountains, grasslands, Pine forests, deciduous forests, and chaparral!

    I have a couple of adaptations to share. One of my physical adaptations are my claws because I rely on my sense of touch to crush prey.

    Another physical adaptation I have is my eyes. I have 6 to 12 eyes! Sadly, I have poor vision and that is why I use my sense of touch.

    What is really exciting is that my stinger is a physical and behavioral adaptation. I use it to paralyze and kill my prey.

    A behavioral adaptation I have is that I hide during the day and come out at night. This helps me control my temperature and balance, which are important for my survival in dry habitats.

    I hope you enjoyed all of my adaptations.

    Your Friend,

    Sasha Scorpion


  23. Penny the porcupine (Sydney)March 25, 2011 at 9:17 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    Hi I am Penny the porcupine. I live in burrows. I want to tell you three of my adaptations. First, I have quills. They are very sharp and pointy. Another one is that I have a long tail. I use the tail to hit someone or something. Last is that I am black or brown. It makes me blend in with the trees.

    Penny the porcupine

  24. Dear Mrs.Ranney,
    My name is Marc the alligator.
    I just woke up from bed and I have time to type a comment, so I am typing one. My physical adaptation is that I have two eyes on the top of my head. These eyes help me hide from my enemies who are trying to kill me. If there is anyone trying to attack me, I can quickly go into the water, hide my body, and keep my eyes over the water. This helps me see the enemy and he will not be able to see me. I also have tough skin and short strong legs. My tough skin helps me protect myself when an animal bites me. I will not die, but I will only bleed. My short and strong legs help to swim and to walk.

    My behavioral adaptation is,
    is to move my tail from side to side. Another one is that we hunt and eat small animals including fish, frogs, snakes turtles, and birds. We also attack dogs and pigs underwater in order to eat them to eat them.

    Your Student,
    Marc the alligator


  25. Oscar the Ostrich (Jack)March 25, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    My name is Oscar the Ostrich. I live in the savannas am blogging so I can tell you some facts about myself. Here is one of my behavioral adaptations; I can kick ferocious enemies that are silently trying to eat me. Here is a physical one, my eyes are at least 2 inches long, and that’s why my eyes are the biggest eyes of all land animals. Here is another physical adaptation, I am 8 feet tall, but I can be 9 feet tall. Lets do a behavioral adaptation, I think this is the weirdest fact about me; I sleep with my head underground.

    Oscar the Ostrich

  26. Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    I am a tiger and a hunter was just chasing me. I blended in with the forest trees and the hunter did not see me. I wanted to comment about my adaptations. I have a fabulous coat that blends in with my habitat so I blend in with the sunlight through the treetops on the jungle floor. I also have advanced hearing that helps me hear my prey and sneak up on them for surprise attacks.

    Best wishes,
    Kenny the Tiger

  27. Nick Narwhal (Edo)March 25, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,
    Hi, I am Nick Narwhal. One of my physical adaptations is that I use my tusk to find a girl narwhal and to marry her and have babies. I also use my tusk to feel the pressure, temperature, and other things. I use my fins to swim and to hold my babies. These are behavioral adaptations.
    Swim you later!
    Nick Narwhal

  28. Ruti (Ella's grandmother)April 10, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Dear Mrs. Ranney,

    I am Sarah the stork. I had just arrived from Israel to your school and saw you all engaged and excited in Mrs. Ranney’s class.

    You may wonder, “How did I make it through such a long trip?” well, I made it thanks to my physical adaptations!

    I have a wide wingspan and extremely light body weight. My bones are hollow, my legs are skinny, and my head is tiny, all of which allow me to fly with ease.

    During the long trip I stopped every now and then to rest and eat by a lake. I live around lakes and feel most comfortable in them. I can leisurely stand in the shallow water without sinking in the mud thanks to my webbed feet. Moreover, my thin, pointy beak allows me to jab for fish through shallow waters and gobble them up. Because of my very long and skinny legs, my feathers do not touch the water and stay dry, allowing me to take off and fly just as soon as I am done eating.

    I did not come here alone, but rather came with all my flock. You might have seen me up in the sky and thought how beautiful our flock looks.

    I am carrying a message of love to you all. I specifically would like to tell Mrs. Ranney that she teaches you in such a uniquely interesting way that I wish I could be a student in her class.

    When you hunt for food, please do no prey on me…


    Sarah the Stork (Ruthi, Ella’s Grandmother)


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:) Mrs. Ranney