Science

Amazing adaptations

Kangaroo rats are small, nocturnal rodents native to North American deserts. Their adaptations help them immensely with desert life. For example, kangaroo rats can live their whole lives without ever consuming water. Instead, they get their liquid from their seed-based diet, foraging seeds at night, and storing them in their cheek pouches. They also do not sweat or pant, so that they can retain the water inside their bodies. Kangaroo rats can jump up to 9 feet at once – coupled with their excellent hearing, this ensures they can escape from predators, such as owls, snakes, and coyotes. 

Wood frogs, on the other hand, have adapted to the colder climates of Alaskan forests. They are the only frogs that can survive in the Arctic Circle, and in the winter they can freeze their bodies. Although they don’t freeze entirely, about 60% of their body stops functioning, including their heart, blood, and lungs. Their bodies produce an ‘antifreeze’ substance that prevents ice forming inside their cells, although it does form between cells – this is achieved through high built-up concentrations of glucose in their tissues and organs. The glucose sugar prevents their cells from drying out, so the frogs can easily de-thaw in the spring.

Fish-hook ants are a rare species of ant that live in countries such as Cambodia and the Philippines. Found often in dead tree trunks, their name comes from the three sets of protruding hooks emerging from their backs. Individually, the hooks are incredibly sharp; not only will they pierce skin, but they will also anchor into a wound so that the ant is latched on to whatever it is attacking. To defend themselves against predators, thousands of ants will hook onto each other to form massive bundles, making them near-impossible targets. 

24/11/2020

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Ally Fowler


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