Habitats for Plants and Animals
by Denise Carroll
What is an environment?
• Plants and animals live together in many
different environments all around the
• An environment is all the living and
nonliving things in a place.
• The environment is the surroundings: air,
water, plants, and animals.
• Each kind of environment has many
different kinds of animal habitats.
What is a habitat?
• Every animal has a
• The place where an
animal or plant lives and
grows is called its
• A habitat is where an
animal finds the food,
water, and shelter it
needs to live.
• For example, a toucan’s
habitat is the rainforest.
Different Land Habitats
• A desert is a very warm place. The air is very hot and dry.
• There is very little rain. The soil is very sandy.
• Most animals that live in the desert sleep during the day
because it is too hot. They come out at night to eat. They
are called nocturnal.
• Some desert animals burrow in the ground during the day
• Many plants have thick leaves in the desert to retain
• Most desert animals get their water from the food
Rain Forest Habitats
• A rain forest is an
environment where rain falls
almost every day.
• A rain forest has warm
weather year round.
• A rain forest has millions of
plants and animals.
• Many of these plants are used
to make medicines to fight
diseases and illnesses.
• Rain forests are located along
• A forest is an
gets enough rain and
for lots of trees to
• When the fall arrives,
the leaves will turn
red, orange, and
• Once winter comes,
the trees lose their
• A tundra is an environment
that is very cold and windy.
• It is a treeless area.
• It is the coldest environment.
• The land is covered with
snow and ice most of the
• Much of the land has
ground that is permafrost,
• The summers are short.
You might find frogs, ducks, beavers,
turtles, dragonflies, and many kinds of
fish in a freshwater habitat.
Sharks, starfish, whales,
dolphins, lobster, and coral
are some of the animals
found in the ocean.
What would happen if an
animal’s habitat were
• Body Coverings
• An adaptation is anything about an animal that helps it
live or survive in its environment.
• Animals are always in danger of being eaten and have
developed many ways of protecting themselves from
• Animals may find winter shelter in holes in trees or logs,
under rocks or leaves, or tunnel underground.
• If animals do not adapt to their environment, they die!
• Camouflage is when the animal
blends in with the surrounding
environment to help it hide.
• Some animals’ fur or skin can
change color. This helps to
Some Animals Migrate
• Some animals travel to far away places. This is called
• Animals move from one habitat to another to survive.
• Animals are looking for warmer weather or searching for
• Many birds migrate in the fall. Birds can fly very long
• Many fish migrate. They may swim south, or move into
deeper, warmer water.
• Many insects also migrate.
• Whales, butterflies, bats, hummingbirds, robins, geese,
ducks, salmon are some animals that migrate.
• Some animals will grow new, thick
fur in the fall to keep warm in the winter.
• An armadillo has a covering of hard plates to
protect its body.
• The porcupine uses its quills for defense.
• A turtle can pull its head, feet, and tail inside its
shell for protection.
The Coming Winter
• As the weather gets colder,
people stay inside warm houses
and wear heavy coats when they
go outside. In the winter we get
our food from the grocery store.
• What happens to the animals?
Some Animals Hibernate
• Hibernation is when an animal goes through the winter into
a long, deep sleep.
• One way animals can adapt to the changing environment is
Some animals hibernate for part or all of the winter. The
animal's body temperature drops, and its heartbeat and
breathing slow down. It uses very little energy. In the fall, these
animals get ready for winter by eating extra food and storing it
as body fat. They use this fat for energy while hibernating.
Some also store food like nuts or acorns to eat later in the
winter. Bears, skunks, chipmunks, and some bats hibernate.
Insects look for winter shelter in holes in the ground,
under the bark of trees, deep inside rotting logs or in any small
crack they can find.
Some Animals Estivate
• Estivate is when an animal sleeps during the
• What causes an animal to estivate? HEAT
• Ground squirrels in the desert will estivate in their
burrows to get out of the heat.
• Some toads estivate to escape the hot, dry summer.
• Many amphibians and reptiles estivate, as do some
insects, snails, and fish.
How do plants help animals?
• Plants provide food and shelter for many
• Plants are used to make medicines to fight
disease and illnesses.
• Animals use plants for shelter. For
example, birds build nests and beavers
• Plants provide oxygen that we need to live.
• Plants provide protection for animals
• Plants are used to make clothing, paper,
and wood products.
• Plants also provide beauty for the Earth.
How do animals help plants?
• Animals help spread seeds.
• Some animals, like
squirrels, bury seeds when
they store them and forget
to go back to get them.
Some of these seeds that
are left in the ground will
• Seeds attach to animals
that have fur. Later the
seeds will fall off the animal
and grow in a new place.
• Insects and birds help
• An ecosystem is how plants, animals,
and nonliving things in an environment
effect each other.
NEW WORDS TO LEARN
Before we discuss what a food chain is,
we need to learn these new words.
Let’s Begin . . .
Some animals do not eat other animals.
They survive on plants and are known as
Some animals, like the kingfisher, eat
only other animals. These animals are
• Some animals, like us, eat both plants
• These animals are called “omnivores”.
• Plants are living organisms. They need
nourishment to survive.
• Plants do not eat other plants or
• Plants are called producers, because
they produce their own food using
• “Consume” means “eat”.
• Animals are consumers because they
“eat” (consume) food provided by plants
or other animals.
What is a food chain?
• Food chains show how each living thing gets its food.
• A food chain is the order in which animals eat plants
and other animals.
• The sun is the primary source of a food chain. Plants get
their energy from the sun. Without the sun, we would not
have any plants. A food chain always starts with a plant.
• Next in the food chain is an animal, because plants
cannot eat plants.
• A food chain always ends with an animal.
plant animal animal animal
Food chains always start
with a plant.
The beetle eats the plant.
The frog eats the beetle.
The turtle eats the frog.
The lettuce is eaten by the rabbit.
The rabbit is eaten by the fox.
The plant is eaten by the small fish.
The small fish is eaten by a larger fish.
The larger fish is eaten by the man.
The fly is nibbling on the plant.
The fly is eaten by the bird.
The bird is eaten by the cat.
Let’s Think . . .
If we suddenly had no Sun, what effect
would it have on the food chain?
Let’s Think Again . . .
What would happen if there were no