Wetland Animal Adaptations Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is a Wetland?
  • 0:32 Wetland Animals
  • 0:52 Wetland Adaptations
  • 2:30 Dealing With Salt
  • 2:57 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Wetland animals think the water's edge is the best place to live. But life isn't easy in these swampy areas. Learn about some of the common adaptations of wetland animals and how these adaptations allow them to thrive in their soggy homes.

What Is a Wetland?

Squish, squish, squish. Have you ever walked outside after a rainstorm? If you have, you've noticed how mushy and muddy the ground gets when it's wet. For animals living in a wetland environment, every day is squishy.

As the name kind of suggests, wetlands are places where the ground is always wet. You might think of them as swamps or marshes. Wetlands are often found at the edge of a freshwater pond, lake, or river, and can also be found near bodies of saltwater.

Wetland Animals

Wetlands are home to many different animals like alligators, birds, fish, frogs, mammals, and invertebrates. Invertebrates are animals without backbones, like crayfish, crabs, snails, and bugs. These animals have developed special adaptations to help them survive and thrive in their wet and soggy environments.

Wetland Adaptations

Let's now take a closer look at wetland adaptations one at a time.

1. Hiding

Have you ever seen the water of a wetland? If you have, then you know the water is usually a dark, dirty color with leaves and other plant debris lying along the bottom. To blend in with this dark and dull environment, many wetland fish and crayfish are dark and dull colors. This drab coloring acts like camouflage and helps the critters avoid being seen by bigger animals and birds that want to eat them for dinner!

2. Moving

When you think of animals with webbed feet, you probably think of a duck or some other type of bird, but in the wetlands, even big animals like alligators have webbed feet. Alligators use their webbed feet like paddles to help them move through the water quickly.


Birds of the wetlands have developed adaptations that help them catch food. Some birds, like the heron, have become experts at spearfishing. These tall birds use their long necks to plunge their sharp bills, or beaks, into the water like a spear when a fish swims past. Ducks, however, use their broad and flat bills as a strainer to filter food from the water.

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