Weather and Climate
Concept: Adaptations in Animals based on Climate
What is adaptation?
Adaptation is defined as the physiological or behavioural change that occurs in an organism to get acclimatised to climatic conditions.
Animal behaviours based on the climate:
Animals adapt themselves to the climate of the place to survive. They show several adaptations and behavioural patterns based on the climate. Some of them are described below—
The ability of an organism to blend with its habitat or environment based on its body colour is called camouflage.
The chameleon is adapted to change its skin colour based on its surrounding. Similarly, lions and leopards can hide well in grasslands because of their skin colour.
The movement of a group of animals or birds to comfortable habitats to avoid the harsh climatic conditions is called migration.
- Animals and birds migrate—
- In search of food.
- In search of suitable habitat.
- To reproduce.
Geese migrate to avoid the winters. Monarch butterflies migrate to protect themselves against extreme cold.
The long winter sleep is called hibernation. The animals which cannot bear extreme cold undergo hibernation throughout winters and become active in summers. It helps them preserve the energy of their bodies with a minimum supply of food in winter.
Bears, bats, snakes, hedgehogs.
Long summer sleep is called aestivation. The animals which live in extreme hot habitats like deserts undergo summer sleeps to avoid the harsh climatic conditions.
Lizards, snakes, and rodents.
Adaptations in animals based on climate:
Polar regions are extremely cold areas. Hence, the animals there are adapted to live in harsh cold situations.
- Polar bear:
Polar bears show the following adaptations according to the climate they live in—
- Their body is covered with white fur, enabling them to hide well in snow.
- They have an external covering of fur, which keeps their body warm.
- An additional layer of fat called blubber under their skin provides heat to their body.
- They are good swimmers.
- They have small ears which do not allow the body heat to escape.
Penguins have the following characteristics which enable them to survive in extremely cold conditions—
- They have streamlined bodies and webbed feet, which make them a good swimmer.
- Their body colour helps them to hide in their habitat.
- They have an extra layer of fat called blubber below the layer of fur, which keeps them insulated against the cold.
- They move in groups so that the body heat of all the group members helps them survive against the cold.
- Tropical regions receive plenty of rainfall, due to which they are covered with dense forest.
- These forests are inhabited by a variety of plant and animal species.
- The summers in tropical regions are humid, with a temperature that increases up to 40°C. The temperature is moderate in winters.
- Tropical rainforests are occupied by gorillas, monkeys, tigers, snakes, and various birds and insects.
- Animals inhabiting the tropical rainforests have sharp eyesight, a strong sense of smell and thick skin.
- They have a high rate of perspiration which produces a cooling effect that helps them beat the heat.
- Hyla, the tree frog, has sticky webbed feet that help it climb on trees.
- Toucan, a bird, found in these forests, has bright feathers which allow it to blend with the surrounding.
- Stick insects resemble dry twigs and are very hard to identify.
- Monkeys have long tails and limbs, enabling them to hang and climb on branches.
- Indian elephants have a strong sense of smell, and they can hear the faintest sound from a distance.
- Deserts are characterised by extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters.
- They receive very little rainfall and are thus occupied by a limited number of plant and animal species.
- The camel is also called the Ship of the Desert. It can survive without water for a long period.
- A camel can drink a lot of water at one go, which may be as high as 35 litres.
- The body temperature of the camel varies, which enables it to manage the rate of perspiration as it helps conserve the body fluids and water.
- It can fulfil the need for energy by using the fat stored in its hump.
- The eyes of a camel have long eyelashes, which protect their eyes during sandstorms.
- The base of the feet is broad and covered by a thick cushioned structure which helps them walk on hot sand.
- A kangaroo rat lives in burrows and comes out at night to avoid the hot environmental conditions during the day.
- The water requirement of the body is met by digesting dry seeds.
Insulated: Protected or covered by preventing the loss of heat.
Streamlined: A body shape that tapers at both ends.
Did You Know?
- River otters use their whiskers to sense hard things around.
- Penguins’ eyes have special lenses which allow them to see both in and above water.
- The smaller the ear, the slower the rate of heat loss from the body.
- The snowshoe hare changes the colour of its fur according to season.