Scales, Feathers, and More!

Blog 1
April 10, 2020

Fur and feathers and scales, oh my! Different animals have different types of body coverings to help them survive. Although some animals have more than one type of covering, there are five basic types. Read on to take a closer look!

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1) Skin

Amphibians have smooth, slimy skin. It doesn’t give them a lot of protection, but their skin often has unique coloring so that they can blend into their surroundings.

Guiding Question:
What animals have skin? Do we have skin? How does our skin compare to an amphibian’s skin?

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2) Scales

Although they feel different when you touch them, both reptiles and fish have scales. They both have a hard skin covering, similar to our fingernails, that helps protect them from predators and the weather.

Guiding Question:
Can you think of animals that have scales? How are those animals similar or different? How are their scales similar or different?

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3) Fur/Hair

Mammals have fur or hair that covers their bodies. It helps keep them warm and dry. Lots of mammals have fur that helps them blend into their surroundings to help them hide from predators, too.

Guiding Question:
What animals have fur or hair? How are they alike? How are they different? How is their hair different from ours?

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4) Feathers

In addition to helping them fly, feathers also give birds insulation. Some birds have brightly colored feathers that help them find mates. Others have feathers that help them blend into trees and other surroundings.

Guiding Question:
How are duck feathers different from robin feathers? How are they different from other bird feathers?

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5) Shells/Exoskeletons

Finally, there are a lot of animals that have shells or exoskeletons to protect them from predators. Insects have exoskeletons and animals like snails have shells. Although their exoskeletons and shells look very different from one another, they all provide an outer layer of protection for their bodies.

Guiding Question:
Do all insects have exoskeletons? What are some insects you can think of? Can you think of other animals that have shells? Can you think of some animals that have more than one type of body covering?

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Behind the scenes!

An American blue-frog? This bullfrog has a rare color variation that Dr. Allison has seen pop up occasionally. She explains that the blue color mutation is likely a recessive trait and they only see them “once in a blue frog…”

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