Why do some animals migrate?

All sorts of animals migrate, from galloping zebras to microscopic plankton! Migration happens for a few different reasons but the primary factor is food. Animals will always move where there is a lot of food available, just like birds migrating to the warm southern hemisphere during winter to take advantage of booming numbers of insects.

Another important reason many animals travel is to breed. Some frogs migrate to huge annual meetings at ancient mating grounds where they can get acquainted with others, then head back home solo. The same mating grounds have been used by frogs for thousands of years and many roads become overrun with frogs travelling to their family reunion, so lots of countries put up signs to warn drivers that the frogs are crossing!

Similarly, some animals migrate to give birth. Christmas Island in the Indian ocean sees a yearly red crab migration, where hordes of crabs scuttle over the roads to the sea to lay their eggs. Incredibly, once the shells of the baby crabs have fully hardened, they head back on to land into the island’s central forest. The locals call this the ‘red tide’, as the streets are red with millions of tiny crabs!

Some animals migrate to escape predators. Zooplankton – all of the tiny animals in the sea – migrate vertically every day. The food offered at the ocean’s surface is top notch and plankton will only rise up to feast when darkness falls. As soon as it begins to get light, the plankton migrate back down to the depths to stay hidden.

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Image from www.flickr.com/photos/rekyt/8883927150