Behavioral Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindsy Frazer

Dr. Frazer has taught several college level Science courses and has a master's degree in Human Biology and a PhD in Library and Information Science.

When we look outside, we see birds flying and squirrels hiding nuts. Many of the actions animals perform help them survive. Learn what behavioral adaptations are and how they help animals survive in this lesson.

Behavioral Adaptations

What's the first thing a bat learns at school? The 'alphabat!'

Bats might not really learn their ABCs, but they do learn how to cuddle at a young age. That's right, bats, especially baby bats, snuggle together when they sleep. This cuddly behavior helps the bats stay warm and survive in the cold, damp caves where they live. So, to bats, cuddling is about more than being friendly, it is about survival!

Any action a plant or animal takes to survive in an environment is called a behavioral adaptation. It's easy to remember that behavioral adaptations are about actions because the word 'behave' is right there in the name, and 'behave' is a word about how we act. I'm sure you always behave!

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  • 0:04 Behavioral Adaptations
  • 0:44 Behaviors and Instincts
  • 1:13 Examples
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Behaviors and Instincts

Just like we learn how to behave from our parents and teachers, plants and animals learn from their parents and by interacting with their environments. These behavioral adaptations are called learned behaviors. Have you ever heard a bird singing a beautiful song? Many birds learn songs by listening to other birds.

Other behaviors an animal is born knowing how to do and just happen naturally: these behaviors are called instincts. For example, spiders are born knowing how to spin webs, so we can say that web spinning is an instinct.



You've probably observed many behavioral adaptations just by watching the animals around your house. What do you notice about how birds, like geese, act during the fall right before the weather gets very cold? You probably noticed that they often fly away in large groups. Most birds migrate or fly south to warmer places during the fall. Migration is a behavior that helps birds survive by keeping them warm and helping them find food during the winter.

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