Funny Animals

Funny Animals

03 April 2016

How Animals Live

Though they are different in so many millions of ways, there are some ways in which nearly all animals are the same. They all need oxygen to live. Both air and water contain oxygen Land animals breathe it in from the air. Sea and freshwater animals, such as the fish, breathe it in from the water. Some animals are called amphibians, which means “living Both ways”; they begin life as waterbreathing animals, and then change into air-breathing animals. Frogs are examples of amphibians.

When very young they live in the water and have gills, as fish do; at this stage of their lives they are called tadpoles. Then the gills change to lungs and the water-breathing tadpoles become air-breathing frogs. There is a separate article about AMPHIBIANS. Another way in which all animals are alike is in the food they eat. All food for animals must contain the element called carbon. An edible substance of this kind is called organic matter. It is because our food contains carbon that we can breathe out carbon dioxide, which the plants need for their life. Of course, food containing carbon, which will keep animals alive, is found in many different forms. Animals that eat only meat are called carnivorous (“meat-eating”). Animals that eat only plants are called herbivorous (“planteating”).

And animals that eat both kinds of food, as human beings do, are called omnivorous (“eating everything”). All animals are alike, also, in having certain senses. Animal senses include: touch, smell,, taste, hearing, and sight. Human beings have all five senses. Not every animal does. The only one of the five senses that every animal has, more or less, is the sense of touch, or feeling. Different animals feel things in different ways. Human beings, for example, feel things through nerves that run from the skin to the brain. Some forms Though some animals lack one or of animal life, such as insects, have spe- more of the five senses, the senses they cial “feelers” through which they use do have may be much keener than man’s, their sense of touch. Some birds, for example, can see small objects on the ground when they are flying thousands of feet in the air. (It is not true, however, that a cat or any other animal can “see things in the dark”; it is possible to see only when there is some light.)

Dogs, as you probably know already, have a very keen sense of smell. Most animals can taste well enough to know what food is fit for them and what is not. And most animals also have a sense of hearing, which is actually the ability to feel vibrations in the air or water, though many animals cannot tell the difference between different kinds of sound, as we can. All animals are born with certain instincts. An instinct causes an animal to behave in some particular way that is natural to it, without thinking about it. In fact, very few animals have the power to think, but all of them do certain things that keep them alive, and cause them to mate with others of their kind and produce more animals of the same kind. Instinct causes a hen to sit on her eggs, to keep them warm so they will hatch; it causes some birds to fly south in the winter; it causes some fish to swim hundreds and even thousands of miles to rivers where fish of that kind always go to lay their eggs.

There is a great deal of difference between intelligence and instinct. Intelligence is the ability to learn. Some members of the animal kingdom, besides men, have the ability to learn. Among the most intelligent are apes and monkeys, dogs and cats, elephants and horses, and a few birds such as crows, falcons (which can be trained to help men hunt), and lovebirds. But even the most intelligent animals cannot be compared to human beings in intelligence, while their instinct sometimes permits them to do things a human being could never do.

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