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Activity 16

The « Olympic champion » animals

Drawing of a bird

 

Nature has given animals surprising capacities that enable them to find food or to escape their enemies. Only thanks to our exceptional intelligence has man been able to evolve rapidly throughout the ages and to dominate the majority of other living species on earth.

The roe deer, long jump champion
By leaping and bounding like this, the deer is able to escape the attacks of carnivores (wolves).

The ant, a miniature Hercules
These insects are capable of lifting several times their own weight. On the scale of an adult man, that’s the equivalent of lifting 4000kg.

The black stork belongs to the family of waders
Some forest birds have a remarkable ability to walk along tree trunks.

The buzzard’s piercing eye
Birds of prey possess exceptional vision. The buzzards of our regions can often be seen swirling around in the sky, at an altitude of more than 100m, in search of small rodents moving about in the grass.

The forests’ tightrope walkers
The squirrel and the marten are champions of equilibrium, perfectly at home in the branches of the tallest trees. They never get dizzy.

Prestigious headwear
Only the males wear such antlers. They are shed each year, to grow back the next.

On the trace of invisible animals
Most of our forest animals are discreet but all leave tracks that are more or less visible.
Male stags lose their antlers (moult). It is rare to find these when walking in the forest.
Wild boars often forage for roots and bulbs in loose soil and dig up the earth using their muzzle just like a plough. Sometimes they leave behind quite spectacular furrows.
Foxes often leave their excrement out in the open, on a rock or a tree stump.
The badger is a true omnivore, devouring earthworms with delight. In search of this delicacy, they dig up the earth to catch them.
Hikers: Man, too, is a regular visitor to the forest.

The changing forest
The forest is colonized by broom bushes, which attract a great number of insects, including butterflies and their predators (birds). The zones taken over by broom are perfect as litter for large game animals, and provide refuge for them as well.

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