Course Access: Lifetime
Course Overview

Get close and personal with some of the more deadly species found in Australia and explore the amazing adaptations that these animals have that help them to survive our environmental extremes.  Often animals have ‘deadly’ adaptations.  Some spiders, for example, use webs to catch their prey but others have venom that allow them to paralyse their prey before eating it.  These adaptations have ensured spiders become such successful predators.  Students will explore the structural, behavioural and reproductive adaptations of some of Australia’s most deadly animals.

Background Information

Animal adaptations describe the structural, behavioural or reproductive characteristics of an animal that help it to survive in its environment.   Animal adaptation doesn’t happen immediately – it takes many years of new generations of animals being born with characteristics that enable them to improve their chances of survival in that environment.  For example, some animals use camouflage to blend into their surroundings to escape prey.  Each adaptation an animal has helps it to survive.

A structural or physical, adaptation is a feature that the animal has on their body that helps them to survive. For example, the Australian Goanna has a forked tongue that it uses to sense fine odours in the air to find out where their prey is located.  The actions an animal takes to survive in their environment is an adaptation too – a behavioural adaptation.  For example, a kangaroo will lick their paws when it is hot to cool themselves down.  The Echidna has an unusual reproductive adaptation; between 2-12 male echidnas will form a train behind a female during mating season.  The male that stays the longest and closest will get to mate with the female.

Now let’s learn about the ‘deadly’ adaptations of some Australian animals.’

Year Level: Years 5-6

Prior knowledge

No prior knowledge is assumed.

Course Connections

Does this course link to other Ecolinc programs?

This course is an ideal introduction to the following onsite programs:

Adaptations for Survival

or this course can stand alone as a learning experience.

Learning Intentions

In this program students will:

  1. Identify various types of adaptations for survival
  2. Explore common features of ‘deadly’ Australian species
  3. Interpret a range of data sets and graphs

Estimated duration: 60 minutes or alternatively each section (Funnel Web Spider, Blue Ring Octopus, Australian Stone Fish, Australian Box Jelly Fish, Saltwater Crocodile, Great White Shark, Australian Taipan) could be completed as separate 8-10 minute session

Victorian Curriculum

Biological Sciences Level 5/6 

  • Living things have structural features and adaptations that help them to survive in their environment (VCSSU074)
  • The growth and survival of living things are affected by the physical conditions of their environment (VCSSU075)

Course Creator: Jo Tate