David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.
The Harsh Natural World
The natural world isn't always as pleasant a place as you might see in cartoons. It can be cutthroat, painful, and at times it is difficult for animals to survive. Human activity has made this all the harder, as territories and ecosystems of plants and animals get destroyed, and natural patterns disrupted.
For animals to live long enough to have young and continue their species, they often need clever strategies. Those strategies are called survival skills. Survival skills are the techniques animals use to stay alive and safe. They include everything from protecting territories, using camouflage, teamwork, sharing resources, fleeing from danger, and methods of scaring and intimidating enemies.
In this lesson we're going to talk about a few of the most important common survival skills. We'll talk about some of the basics that animals need to survive: finding food, marking territories, defending resources, and avoiding dangers.
While it may not seem like a survival 'skill,' the ability to find food is one of the most important ones an animal can have. Without food, after all, an animal will simply die. Animals can have ingenious ways of finding food. This is true whether they eat plants, animals or both. Birds of prey like hawks, eagles, and ospreys sweep from the sky at incredible speeds to catch smaller animals unawares; they have eyesight that allows them to see from way up in the air; and they possess strong and sharp talons, or claws, which they use to grab their food.
Some animals have huge amounts of physical endurance and stamina, allowing them to chase prey for hours and hours until their target tires. Giraffes have long necks so they can reach leaves high up in the trees. However they do it, an animal's ability to find food is vital to survival.
Some animals, like wolves and many big cats, have territory that they defend from others. Territory is an area of land that an animal consistently defends from competititors. Those animals are able to hunt exclusively on that territory, making it more likely that they will survive. The animals that aren't strong enough to hold a territory do not survive, and the ones that do become stronger over time. Territories can be marked using urine, or simply by patrolling and pushing away competitors.
Defending a territory means defending the resources in it, including water, prey animals, or edible plants. Animals may have specific features to help them defend resources. They may have sharp teeth or claws, or be bigger than they'd need to be just to catch prey. Sometimes the male or female of the species has one of these features for this exact reason: male lions, for example, use their larger size to defend their pride's territory, while less dominating female lions hunt for food.
A predator is an animal that hunts other animals for food, where as prey are animals that are hunted by a predator. Animals can just as easily be prey as be a predator. When an animal is threatened, they need defenses and behaviors to help them survive. This could be the strength to fight off the threat, but it could also be the speed to flee. There's a reason that gazelle and deer are so easily spooked and can run so fast: if they couldn't, they might not survive.
Animals which live in herds, such as impala, flee in lots of different directions to confuse the predator and make sure at least some of them escape. Other herds stay together because they've learned that there is strength in numbers. Waterbuck might hide in water, while gazelles can change directions suddenly. Animals can also use their superior eyesight or hearing to avoid dangerous areas. There are dozens of strategies, depending on the animal and the environment; but whatever they do, all animals need strategies to avoid danger.
These strategies all help animals ensure that their species survives from generation to generation. They are a major part of how animals survive the harsh realities of the natural world.
Survival skills are the techniques animals use to stay alive and safe. They include everything from protecting territories, using camouflage, teamwork, sharing resources, fleeing from danger, and methods of fear and intimidation.
The main four categories of survival skills are: finding food, marking territories, defending resources, and avoiding dangers. Animals use eyesight, speed, height, strength, sharp teeth and claws, or even just patience to find food; animals which feed on other animals are called predators, and their unfortunate victims are called prey. They protect exclusive rights over the resources in an area by marking territories and defending them using those same physical features. And they avoid dangers by fighting off threats, having good eyesight and hearing, and fleeing when necessary. Animals have learned great techniques to survive.
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