Food chains

20th June 2003 at 01:00
Living things belong in a food chain. A food chain shows what eats what or where the main source of food or energy comes from. Green plants can use the energy of the sun. Order the following list of items as they appear in the food chain, and draw arrows showing what eats what, or where it gets its energy from.

- Birds

- Insect

- Spider

- Nettle

- Sun

Which of these do you think rats eat?

- Plants

- Nuts

- Seeds

- Snails

- Insects

- Shellfish

- Small birds

- Eggs

- Mice

- Waste food

- Dead bodies

- Other rats


Food chains begin with a "producer", almost always a green plant. Animals are primary or secondary consumers. The food chain order should be: sun - nettle - insect - spider - blue tit (you can use the illustration, left, to demonstrate how this works after they've finished the worksheet above).

Rats will eat all of these, including baby blue tits and dead adults. They also eat plants, nuts, seeds, snails, shellfish, eggs, mice, waste food and (if all else fails) weaker rats. It's this staggering range of foods that helps make rats so successful. They eat about 30g of food and drink 60ml of water a day, urinating profusely and leaving 40 droppings a day behind them. Some creatures will eat rats - birds of prey for instance.

Discussion points: If you were to make a list of animals in the food chain, what poll position would you give to the rat? What might eat a rat?

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