Adaptation in a population of living things happens as a result of an adaptive trait. This is any inheritable trait that increases it’s survival rate so that it can live longer, reproduce longer, and have more offspring (that also have that trait). Adaptive traits can improve an animals' ability to find food, make a safer home, escape predators, survive cold or heat or lack of water.
The Arctic fox is well adapted for its northern habitat. All white, they blend into the frozen landscape. They have thick fur and a long, bushy tail that they use to wrap around their body at night for warmth. Even their feet are furry which helps keep them from slipping on the ice. They have small eyes, ears and nose for protection against the cold. They have short legs that keep them close to the ground, away from the bitter wind. These physical adaptations make it possible to survive in their harsh, northern climate.
For Discussion and Critical Thinking:
The Arctic fox has adaptive traits that helps it survive out on the frozen tundra.
1. Name two of the Arctic fox’s adaptive traits and how they help them survive:
2. If the Arctic warms with climate change and the brown tundra is exposed, how will this affect the Arctic fox?
3. Name two other animals that live on the tundra and describe an adaptive traits that helps them survive.
4. Do you have any physical traits that help you survive? Discuss one.
For more information about Habitats with Activities for K-8: The Everything Kids Environment Book, Adams Media 2007
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