Animals take all shapes and sizes, from simple unicellular bacteria to the gigantic blue whales and agile cheetahs. The ever changing earth environments force animals to adapt to the conditions in which they live.
From the wild to domestic
One of the widely known animal adaptations is the domestic cat and all its sub-species. Cats were first tamed by Egyptians, who noticed their ability to kill the vermin eating their grains and spreading disease. Humans offered them protection and food, and over the ages, the wild cats adapted more and more to human interaction. However, they did not lose their wild instincts. Domestic cats are still capable of surviving without direct interaction with humans, and can thrive in wild environments such as forests. this is the case of all domestic animals such as dogs, and cattle.
Mass reproduction is common for animals which have little chances of survival in their first months. Turtles, for example, lay down over fifty eggs per individual. Most of the eggs will hatch. However, the baby turtles are completely exposed to predators until they reach the oceans. To counter this, they all hatch at once. Hundreds, if not thousands of them pop out of the sands and make a run for the waters. A lot of them will be killed by predators on their way to the open seas. Of those that survive, more than half won’t make it through the agitated waters. The few that survive, however, will have few predators to worry about, once they gain in size. Because they lack effective defensive weapons, turtles use their hard shells to hide from predators and for protection against nature’s elements.
The best defense is a good offense
Other animals don’t feel the need to hide from their predators. Lively colored frogs populate the dense jungles. These animals are very dangerous. Their strong colors indicate the presence of deadly poisons. They are avoided by almost all predators. It is believed that they do not produce the toxins in their body, but rather obtain them from outside sources. Their favorite meal is the venomous red ant. Scientists believe that frogs use the ants’ venom to defend themselves.
Families and packs
The most common and successful way of surviving is grouping. Many animals live in packs, hoards, families and folks. For predators such as wolves, lions and mountain lions, group hunting makes it easier to corner their pray and to take down larger animals. For herbivores, the large folk offer protection for cubs and leadership through times of migration.
I help you, you help me
Other life forms form strong symbiotic relationships with others, to complement each other’s weaknesses. The clownfish feeds on small invertebrates which otherwise potentially could harm the sea anemone, and the fecal matter from the clownfish provides nutrients to the sea anemone. The clownfish is additionally protected from predators by the anemone's stinging cells, to which the clownfish is immune.
Another example of symbiotic relationship is humans and the bacteria inside the digestive system, which help decomposing food in basic molecular blocks. After the breakdown is complete, the bacteria can happily feast on the remains which are useless for the human body.
Now what? there is no food left
Migrating and hibernating are two ways animals cope with lack of food. For large herbivores, migrating every season to new grassing locations ensures the continuity and survival of their species. For bears, the lack of food during the winter periods is countered by a deep hibernation from November to April. They accumulate fat during the spring and summer seasons, eating pretty much everything that comes on their way, be it plant, animal or even human garbage.
The ultimate adaptation
However, the best example of adaptation is the human itself. Over the course of our evolution, we lost the savage aspects of our ancestors in favor of becoming more and more intelligent, and capable of changing the environment around us to better suit both us, and our less advanced relatives, the other animals.