Some animals live underground for all or much of the time. Living underground has many advantages, including protection from some predators, from extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), and from overly dry climates. Many animals also hunt for food underground, like tubers, roots, other plant material, worms, grubs, insects, insect eggs and larvae.
Some animals, like moles and earthworms spend their entire lives underground. Others, like the prairie dog, spend some time below ground and some time above ground. Some animals spend a portion of their life cycle underground (for example, some insect larvae).
Fossorial means relating to burrowing or living underground. Fossorial animals are adapted to living underground. Aardvarks, armadillos, and moles are fossorial animals
Teeth of Carnivores
Carnivores such as dogs or cats have long sharp teeth for stabbing and killing their prey. These long,
sharp teeth are near the front of their mouths and are called canine teeth. In the back of their mouth
are short, sharp teeth for grabbing and holding a struggling animal. Carnivores eat by taking large bites
and swallowing chunks often without chewing their food.
Some teeth can be easily distinguished by shape and/or placement in the mouth. Incisors (front-most
teeth) in carnivores tend to be small and mostly used as a grooming tool since their mode of eating is to
primarily bite off large chunks and swallow without a lot of chewing. Their canines (stabbing teeth) tend
to be prominent and enlarged facilitating the holding and dispatching of prey. Premolars and molars are
reduced in number and have sharp surfaces.
Teeth of Herbivores
Herbivores have wide, flat teeth (molars) in the back of their mouths for grinding grasses, seeds, leaves,
bark, and other plants they eat. In the front of their mouths, they tend to have sharp, flat teeth for
snipping off these plants.
Rats and mice are herbivores and also rodents. One characteristic of rodents is that the incisors (frontmost teeth) are chisel-shaped, and ever-growing (continue to grow the animal’s entire life). The front of
the incisor is made of a stronger material than the backside of the incisor, so as the animal chews, the
back of the tooth wears down faster, adding to the chisel-shape. Also, many rodents have pigmented or
colored incisors as is evident in the rat.
In some herbivores, such as a deer, the upper incisors and the upper canines are missing. The lower
canines are either extremely modified and reduced in size or missing altogether. Some herbivores will
rely on their tongues to lick up leaves or grass then shear off the plant materials with their lower incisors
only. Many herbivores have special stomachs so they can regurgitate the food from a special
compartment in their stomach to continue chewing it at a later time. Extra compartments are needed in
the stomach to help break down the tough cellulose in plant matter, especially for browsers, such as
Teeth of Omnivores
Raccoons and skunks are examples of omnivores, meaning they will eat both plants and animals,
including worms and insects. Teeth of omnivores are not as uniform in type as the teeth of carnivores
and herbivores. In addiction, the canine teeth are less prominent and the molars are more flat than jagged. In fact, humans are omnivores as well.
Do you like to play games? If you do, you will need energy. Every time you run or jump, you are using up energy in your body. How do you get the energy to play? You get energy from the food you eat. Similarly, all living things get energy from their food so that they can move and grow. As food passes through the body, some of it is digested. This process of digestion releases energy.
A food chain shows how each living thing gets its food. Some animals eat plants and some animals eat other animals. For example, a simple food chain links the trees & shrubs, the giraffes (that eat trees & shrubs), and the lions (that eat the giraffes). Each link in this chain is food for the next link. A food chain always starts with plant life and ends with an animal.
In a food chain, energy is passed from one link to another. When a herbivore eats, only a fraction of the energy (that it gets from the plant food) becomes new body mass; the rest of the energy is lost as waste or used up by the herbivore to carry out its life processes (e.g., movement, digestion, reproduction). Therefore, when the herbivore is eaten by a carnivore, it passes only a small amount of total energy (that it has received) to the carnivore. Of the energy transferred from the herbivore to the carnivore, some energy will be "wasted" or "used up" by the carnivore. The carnivore then has to eat many herbivores to get enough energy to grow.
Because of the large amount of energy that is lost at each link, the amount of energy that is transferred gets lesser and lesser ...