Desert Food Chain Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:01 What Is a Food Chain?
  • 0:44 Desert Producers
  • 1:20 Desert Consumers
  • 2:09 Desert Herbivores,…
  • 3:33 Desert Decomposers
  • 3:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Grace Miller

Mary Grace has taught first grade for 8 years and has a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education and is licensed in ESL.

Deserts are really interesting places! This lesson will teach you all about producers, consumers, and decomposers and the way that they all work together to make the desert a good place to live.

What Is a Food Chain?

A food chain is a way of showing how all living organisms in an environment get their energy. Food chains usually begin with plants or other small organisms and end with large carnivorous animals. Each food chain must have producers, who make their own food, and consumers, who eat food produced by producers or eat other animals.

A food web is a lot like a food chain, but it shows how multiple food chains can be connected to each other. Think about a food web as a lot of chains that cross over each other, like a spider web.

Desert Producers

A producer is a living organism that uses sunlight to make food for itself using a process called photosynthesis. In desert environments, there are several different plants that can serve as producers: cacti like the saguaro cactus and the prickly pear cactus, grasses and brush like brittlebush and fluff grass, and trees like the velvet mesquite tree. Many animals eat these plants to get their energy, and the energy from those animals gets passed up through the food chain as the animals get eaten.

Desert Consumers

Any living organism that does not make its own food is called a consumer. Animals that only eat producers are called primary consumers. Butterflies are an example of primary consumers in the desert. Animals that eat primary consumers are called secondary consumers. Some examples of secondary consumers are lizards and mice. This pattern continues two more times, with tertiary consumers eating secondary consumers and finally apex predators, the animals at the top of the food chain, eating tertiary consumers. Consumers come in three categories:

  1. Those that only eat plants
  2. Those that only eat other consumers
  3. Those that eat both

Desert Herbivores, Carnivores, and Omnivores

An herbivore is an animal that only eats plants and not other animals. In the desert, the antelope squirrel eats the prickly pear cactus; insects like red harvester ants and winged grasshoppers eat brittlebush; and wood rats eat saguaro cacti.

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