If your students are like mine, they love to talk about animals. Whether it’s their own pets or which wild animal they think would win in a fight, animals are always a popular topic. On March 3, it’s World Wildlife Day – the perfect chance to learn about some new animals that you may not be familiar with. I have a set of short readings about these animals in French that you can share with your students – they are written at a level to bridge the gap between novice-high and intermediate-mid. There are 10 different animals in the reading package – and I’m introducing five of them here, just in case you’re not familiar with them.
World Wildlife Day is a great opportunity to learn about the amazing diversity of animals that exist on our planet. From the maned wolf to the fossa, the manatee, the Komodo dragon and the platypus, these creatures are all fascinating in their own way. Let’s take a look at each one and learn more about why they’re so interesting!
Wildlife #1: The Maned Wolf
Native to South America, the maned wolf is an unusual creature with a fox-like face, long orange-brown fur, and a black mane down its back. It has incredibly long legs compared to its body size, which allow it to reach speeds up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) when running after prey. This unique animal also has an odd diet that includes fruit as well as small mammals such as rabbits and foxes!
Wildlife #2: The Fossa
This cat-like mammal is native to Madagascar and is actually related to cats, mongooses, and hyenas! The fossa is an excellent hunter who can climb trees and swim like a pro. It’s also nocturnal which means it spends most of its day sleeping in hollow trees or rocky crevices before emerging at night to hunt for food. Its diet consists mainly of birds, rodents, lizards, frogs, insects and even snakes!
Wildlife #3: The Manatee
Manatees are large aquatic mammals with paddle-shaped tails that live in shallow waters near shorelines throughout tropical regions. They’re slow swimmers but can reach speeds up to 20mph (32 km/h). They feed mainly on sea grasses but will also eat algae and other aquatic plants. Despite their size—they can weigh up to 1 ton—these gentle giants have very few natural predators due to their thick skin which provides protection from sharks and other predators.
Wildlife #4: The Komodo Dragon
The Komodo dragon is one of the largest living species of lizard in the world and can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) in length! These apex predators are incredibly powerful hunters who have been known to take down prey as large as water buffalo using their sharp claws and teeth. They have an incredible sense of smell that allows them detect carrion from more than 4 miles (6 km) away!
Wildlife #5: The Duckbill Platypus
This strange mammal lives in eastern Australia where it spends much of its time burrowing in rivers or streams looking for food such worms or insects. It has webbed feet like an otter which help it swim underwater with ease while hunting for food. One of the most unique features of this animal is its bill; it looks like a duck’s bill but is actually covered sensitive nerve endings that allow it detect electrical signals given off by prey animals like worms or shrimp!
World Wildlife Day offers us a perfect opportunity to reflect on how amazing our planet’s wildlife really is. If you’d like to share these animals with your students, check out the Short French reading passages – Les animaux in the Frenchified store. It includes the five animals above plus five more – the polar bear, serval, tanuki, electric eel, and hyrax.