Day in the Life of a Predator, A (JHARVNC)

Summary:

Organisms constantly interact with other organisms. Do those interactions help or harm an animal? Through a hands-on activity, participants will discover a variety of relationships such as predation.

Grade Level:

K - 12

Recommended Setting:

Outside, large area

Outdoor Activity:

No

Location:

Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center, Fort Smith

Contact:

Education Program Coordinator, 479-452-3993

Duration:

30 - 45 minutes

Suggested Number of Participants:

25 - 30 per group

Special Conditions:

Weather permitting, outdoors activity

Objectives:

  • Describe adaptations to predator/prey relationships, such as camouflage.
  • Explain the importance of adaptations to predator/prey relationships.
  • Describe how predator/prey relationships limit wildlife populations.

Key Terms*:

Camouflage

Habitat

Limiting factors

Population

Predator

Prey

*See glossary for definations

Materials:

Camouflage blanket and a brightly colored blanket

Background:

Before participants begin the activities, briefly discuss the predator/prey relationship. Populations of animals that feed on other organisms are called predators. An example is a coyote because it relies on senses and keen sight to find prey. The populations that predators eat are called prey. Examples are rabbits that rely on camouflage for survival.

Procedure:

  1. Gather participants in a line at an outdoor area.
  2. Introduce the concepts of predator/prey relationships.
  3. Play the Coyote/Rabbit Game
    • Have one volunteer be a predator
    • Have two participants volunteer to use the blankets as cover, one camouflage and one the bright blanket
    • Explain that the predator is a coyote looking for bunnies and must stay in one place. He can turn around, squat or lean but cannot move from his location to find his prey.
    • Explain that the prey (rabbits) will have 25 seconds to find a location to “hide” within site. Then the predator will begin looking for his prey. Prey must hide where they can still see the predator.
    • Let the game begin. The predator must call the name of each person that is spotted. These “rabbits” have been “eaten” by the predator and return to the original line.
    • Repeat the game if there is enough time.
  4. After several rounds, review the concepts.

Review:

  • Describe the importance of adaptations to animals.
  • Give at least two examples of animal adaptations.
  • How are predators adapted to survive?
  • How is prey adapted to survive?
  • Define a predator/prey relationship.

Glossary:

Camouflage – colors, tones, patterns, shapes or behavior an organism uses to blend in with its surroundings: also concealment that alters or obscures the appearance; also protective coloration, a common animal defense

 

Habitat – an arrangement of food, water, shelter or cover, and space suitable to animals’ needs

 

Limiting factors – elements that affect the amount of wildlife a habitat can sustain, including food, water, space, predators, disease and pollution

 

Population – all the members of one species in a particular area

 

Predator – an animal that hunts and kills other animals, usually for food

 

Prey – an animal that is killed and eaten by another animal