Ecological niche refers to a species' role in its habitat. No two species have the same niche. Each species has a specific combination of food choice, how they find their food, daily schedule, reproduction, and shelter. In this activity, students will investigate the unique ways in which different species in the same ecosystem feed themselves and the special features that make it possible.
All animals, including humans, must eat and digest certain foods. Some animals have very special ways of capturing and eating their food. Cows, for example, bring up their swallowed food (usually grass or hay), chew it, and then swallow it again. This helps the animal by allowing it to eat quickly and chew later while it is resting. White rhinos have a flat square mouth for grazing on grass while their cousin species, the black rhino, has hooked lips used for eating leaves off bushes and fruit off branches. Huge blue whales eat tiny krill which they sift through their baleen (giant filter). Snakes eat their dinner whole.
Would it be possible to run a restaurant for all of the wild animals that live in an area? What do different animals like to eat? How do they eat their food (do they swallow it whole, or do they chew it)?