The vital functions Nutrition As you know, all living things need food, and that is the function called Nutrition. Depending on what food they eat, animals may herbivores, carnivores or omnivores. Herbivores eat plants and grasses, and they may eat the stems, roots, fruit, seeds or leaves… just like this tall giraffe is doing. Some herbivores are very special… the ruminants… like goats and cows. They are special because they swallow their food almost without chewing it, and then store it in their stomach… Then, when they want to, they bring it back into their mouth, and chew and swallow it again… It might seem a bit disgusting to us, but that’s what ruminants do. Carnivorous animals feed on… meat. They hunt and eat other animals so they can feed. These animals have ferocious teeth… long, sharp claws… and, in the case of birds, very strong beaks to hunt their prey with. Omnivores are both carnivorous and herbivorous: they eat both meat and plants… pigs and bears are omnivores. Can you guess who else is, too?… That’s right, people, human beings are also omnivores… we can we eat a roast chicken or a nice lettuce and tomato salad. Plants do not eat: they are able to manufacture the food they need within themselves, taking water and other substances from the soil and using the air and sunlight. vital functions Interaction Living things need to be aware of the environment they are in to know what happens around them and to react to it. This function is called Interaction. Look at these zebras…. They are scared because they recognise the lion’s roar and know it means danger. All the animals you see interact with each other, play, help, care about each other… but they also fight. To survive, all animals need to know about the place where they live very well, and to communicate with each other. Animals use their organs to know what is going on around them, and to react to danger. With their eyes, they can see what’s happening; like eagles, who have a magnificent view looking down from the sky for something to hunt … Oof!! Look out, it’s gonna get us! With our ears, we can hear if an animal with bad intentions is approaching… With our noses we smell if there’s tasty food anywhere near… With our skin and our sense of touch we feel the tenderness of caresses … and of tickles. Animals need to communicate in order to relate with each other. Many do so through smells; others, like this chameleon, change their colors. Others, like this noisy squirrel, communicate through sound. Although they don’t move around, and don’t have eyes, or a nose or any other sense organ, plants also interact. When they perceive the sunlight, their stems move and grow towards it. Reproduction The last function is Reproduction. This allows living things to make new living things, and so they ensure the continuity of life… aren’t these babies adorable ?? Animals have two ways of reproducing… They may be oviparous or viviparous…. Oviparous animals, like birds, turtles or these little crocs, hatch from eggs. Viviparous animals are born from the womb of their mothers, like these dolphins, giraffes and humans. Plants have many ways of reproducing, but most do it through their seeds; these seeds fall to the ground, germinate and give life to a new plant. So now you know the three vital functions. Goodbye for now, everyone, and don’t forget to subscribe to Happy Learning!