Get Wild: Yellowstone Survivor

Yellow badge with bison silhouette and "Wildlife" text over a snowy scene of bison.

Check out some of the amazing adaptations animals have for surviving in Yellowstone National Park. An adaptation is a change or a process of change by which an organism becomes better suited to its environment.

How do you compare? Try out various moves to see how you rate next to some of these wild animals.

A snowshoe hare with its white coat hiding under a bush in the snow.

A snowshoe hare can leap 10 feet (3 m) in a single bound.

►Try it out!
How far can you long jump in one leap?

A wolverine eating food while standing in the snow.

A wolverine can easily walk 15 miles (24 km) each day in search of food.

►Try it out!
How far can you walk in a day?

A mountain lion prowls across a snowy field.

A mountain lion can jump 15 feet (4.5 m) straight up into a tree.

►Try it out!
How far can you jump vertically?

A great grey owl sitting on a perch.

An owl has the ability to stare for hours.

►Try it out!
How long can you stare without blinking?

A Uinta ground squirrel sits amongst grass.

A Uinta ground squirrel hibernates about 9 months out of each year.

►Try it out!
How long can you sleep before waking up hungry?

A beaver stands on an icy shoreline.

A beaver can hold its breath under water for up to 15 minutes.

►Try it out!
How long can you hold your breath?


Structural or Behavioral Adaptation?

Adaptations can be structural or behavioral.

  • Structural adaptations are those in which the animal's physical body has evolved to make it easier for the animal to survive, like a wolf having oversized paws so it can move over the top of snow.
  • Behavioral adaptations are those in which the animals changes its actions in response to changes in the environment, like a bear hibernating during winter when food supplies are low.

Observe the animal and decide if their adaptation is structural or behavioral?



Draw a picture of an animal adapted to one of Yellowstone's ecosystems:

  • Sagebrush-steppe prairie
  • Forest
  • Westland
  • Cold-water lake
  • Hot spring
  • Alpine tundra
A red fox and kits stand on a rock and lap up some water.

Animals of every stripe, or spot, inhabits Yellowstone. Widlife is all around us and sometimes in unexpected places!

Last updated: August 27, 2019

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PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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