What are some relationships where animals help plants survive?



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    Bees pollinating plants, among dozens of examples.

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    Butterflies are another excellent example of this type of coexistence. Certain plants provide butterflies with substance and shelter in order for them to reproduce without running a risk of people disturbed. In return, the butterflies often carry pollen from one plant to another and in doing so they are contributing to these plants reproduction.

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    Some plants need animals to disperse their seeds.  For example, Brazil nut trees are dependent on the Agouti, a large rainforest rodent.  The Agouti’s teeth are able to bite open the large and hard pods from the tree.  This rodent will eat some of the seeds and bury others throughout the forest in caches to eat later.  In North America, squirrels act in a similar way as the Agouti, burying acorns and other seeds.  Besides enticing animals with a tasty snack, some plants have seeds with a thorny exterior fruit that will attach to animals as they walk by, falling off or being taken off in another location later.  An example of this method of dispersion is the burr plant which acts like velcro on animal fur.

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    Cow manure or cow dung has often been used as an effective and organic source of fertilizer.  It is basically made up of digested grass and grain and is rich in nutrients.  It contains about 3% nitrogen, 2% phosphorous, and 1% potassium.  Because cow dung is normally pretty high in ammonia though as well as other potential dangerous ingredients, it is suggested that the dung be composted before direct contact with flowers, grass, shrubs, etc.  

    For those who want to extend the life of their soil, mixing composted cow dung into the soil will increase the amount of time between watering and will help with aeration as well.  Also, because of the high level of good bacteria in the cow dung, nutrients in the soil will be converted into more accessible forms which will cause a slow release and will not burn any plant roots.   



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