Click here to play                  Read by Matthew

Today most people accept Charles Darwin's theory that species are changing all of the time. The animals that are suited to their environment will survive but those that are not will die. When scientists look back at fossils they can see these patterns.

adult swanDarwin realised that the Finches had different beaks for different food. What about other adaptations or "Special Powers" as I like to call them. Feet are very important things - they are how animals get around! So what about ducks and waders that live near water? Their feet are wide, often "webbed", so that they can swim well and also walk on mud without sinking. Can you think why Birds of Prey and Owls have such sharp claws?

Your ears and eyes are important for telling you what is going on around you. So rabbits have eyes on the side of their heads, to see forwards and backwards, and ears that can point in many directions - why is this important? Think about the eyes and ears on a fox that will be hunting the rabbit. Skin covering is also very important. I was watching a Swan and noticed that it had a neck covered in thick dense feathers. A swan eats the pond weed and creatures living under water so why are the neck feathers so useful? Most water birds are also waterproof - they have oil from their beaks that they spread over their precious feathers. Also the colour of feathers, or fur, is an adaptation that helps an animal survive. Do you remember the female ducks that sit on the nest? they are often brown coloured, this is for camouflage. Quite a few insects have "warning colours" that they are dangerous - even if they are not.

collectionHow are these animals adapted to surviving (what is their special power?)

Don't forget that plants are adapted to survive as well - the prickly Hawthorn, the inedible Holly, the amazing plant "Sundew" that is a meat eater - a carnivore. Here is one that is native to the UK.


Here are the answers to my quick quiz.

The Mervielle du Jour moth is camouflaged so that it doesn't get eaten

The Puffin is streamlined for swimming fast under water

The Hoverfly's colour says "I look like a wasp" but actually it cannot sting!

The Hummingbird hawk moth has a long proboscis for getting nectar from flowers

The Peacock butterfly has markings like eyes to say "Go away I'm dangerous"

The Otter has sharp claws and sharp teeth for catching its food - tasty fish!

Photographs: Swan (Top) and Sundew plant (bottom)