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Saola Lesson for Kids: Facts, Diet & Predators

Instructor: Kristen McNeely

Kristen has taught elementary students for five years and has a master's degree in teaching.

In this lesson, we will explore a fascinating animal called the saola. You will learn about its habitat, what types of food it eats, and who its biggest predators are.

Let's Meet the Saola

Imagine you are an animal researcher in Asia, the largest continent in the world. You are in search of one of Asia's most endangered species, meaning it is an animal that is in danger of becoming completely extinct, or no longer around, just like the dinosaurs. Your mission is to find the mysterious saola, and learn as much as you can about it so that you and your fellow researchers can better understand how to protect the saola from extinction.

When you find a saola, you discover that it looks similar to a deer or antelope, especially because it has two horns protruding from its forehead. These animals are a reddish-brown color and have distinct white markings on their faces. They can grow to be over six feet in length, and their horns can grow to be more than a foot long!

Saola
Saola

Where in the World?

The mountains of Asia, specifically in the countries of Laos and Vietnam, are home to the saola. These countries have areas of thick forests where the saola have been known to reside. As you explore their habitat, you find the saola living among lush plants and nut-bearing trees, much like you might picture a deer living in. Be sure to stay hidden, because the saola are easily scared by humans!

Mountains of Laos
Mountains of Laos

Diet

Saolas are herbivores, meaning they eat only plants. You have learned that the saola live in forests, so what types of food do you think they might eat? As you observe the saola from a distance, you determine that the saola enjoys trees, grass, nuts, and berries, which are readily available to them in their habitat.

Predators

Predator is a word used to describe an animal that hunts and kills another animal. For the saola, their biggest predator is actually humans. Unfortunately, people hunt the saola for their beautiful horns, which are seen as a prized possession among the people of Vietnam and Laos. The saola are no match for human beings. It is important for researchers like yourself to help protect these animals.

Aside from humans, larger animals that live in the forests, such as tigers, are also likely to hunt the saola.

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