Predator Prey Relationship - Examples

The world is a dangerous place for most animals.
Many need to defend themselves against other animals that want to eat them.

Definition of prey

An animal that is hunted, killed, and eaten by another is called prey. 

Definition of predator

Animals that hunt prey are called predators.

Predator prey relationship examples

Some animals are able to disguise, or camouflage, themselves as a protection against predators.
But there are many other ways in which an animal can defend itself.
One species of lizard, the leaf-tailed gecko of Australia, has a tail that looks like its head!
You can imagine how confusing this must be for the lizard’s enemies. If a predator grabs this gecko by the tail, the tail breaks off, and the gecko can escape. Later, a new tail will grow.
Birds that nest on the ground are usually camouflaged.
Goatsuckers (also known as nightjars) and whippoorwills look like a pile of dead leaves. Ringed plovers look like the pebbles on the beaches where they nest.
Goatsucker
A certain group of lizards, called chameleons, can change the shading of their skin color to match their surroundings and confuse their enemies. 
For example, green chameleons can change from light green to dark green.
Green chameleon
Camouflage can help some predators to get near their prey without being seen. The tiger’s stripes help it to blend in with the tall grasses of its hunting ground.
Polar bears have white fur to match the snow.

Some animals, including opossums and snakes, pretend to be dead when they are in danger. 

Most predators prefer live prey, so they leave the “dead” animal alone.

Other snakes defend themselves with poisonous bites.

Armadillos and pangolins are two species of animals that roll up into a ball when in danger. 

This protects the soft undersides of their bodies. Both animals have a thick coat of armor made of bony plates on the outside of their bodies.
When predators come close, porcupines and hedgehogs might also defend themselves by rolling up into a ball. Such a ball of needle-sharp quills scares away many predators.
Porcupines have a painful and effective way of dealing with predators. They have spines called quills, that drop out easily.
When a porcupine is threatened, it may run backward toward its enemy. Quills get stuck in the predator’s nose and face or other part of the body, giving the porcupine a chance to run away.

The skin of animals that are poisonous to eat is often brightly colored. 

The bright colors of the arrow-poison frogs of South America warn predators to keep away! 
Some salamanders ooze poisons from their skin when they are in danger.
When the prickly puffer fish is frightened, it can blow itself up to twice its normal size.
Most predators don't want to eat a prickly balloon. Its flesh is usually poisonous, too!
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