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An African Food Chain



An African Food Chain
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.4

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    acacia, clean-up, decomposers, instantly, niche, stalking, eaters, flesh, provided, surrounding, dissolve, perched, protector, grazing, beginning, fell


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An African Food Chain
By Cindy Grigg
  

1     One day on the African savanna, a group of female lions was hunting. Keeping their tawny bodies low to the ground of the flat, grassy plains, the lionesses slowly crept through the tall grass. They were stalking a small herd of giraffes that was grazing on the leaves of an acacia tree. One of the giraffes wasn't eating. It stood with the others, but its head was not reaching for leaves.
 
2     The lionesses slinked silently through the slithery grass, surrounding the giraffes. The lionesses knew they had to get as close as they could before the giraffes saw, heard, or smelled them. One of the giraffes suddenly moved away from the trees. It must have sensed the lions! Quickly the lions shot out of the grass. They teamed up to attack the sickly giraffe. Two lions bit at the giraffe's back legs. One lion jumped at the giraffe's back. It quickly fell. Another lion pounced on its throat. The giraffe was killed almost instantly.
 
3     The male lion, protector of the pride, came to feed on the giraffe first. Even though the lionesses did the hunting, they stepped away from the kill and allowed the male to take what he wanted first. A group of vultures flew into the acacia trees. They waited for the lions' leftovers.
 
4     After the male lion was finished, the lionesses came to eat. Cubs waited impatiently nearby. They had to wait until the adults were full before they could eat. When it seemed the females' feeding had slowed down a bit, one of the cubs rushed forward to grab some food. The other cubs watched to see what would happen to it. If the female lions let it eat, they would rush in, too. The giraffe provided enough food for all the lions of this pride - and more animals, too.
 
5     Like the hungry cubs, the vultures could wait no longer. They flew and landed one by one nearby and walked toward the kill. One of the cubs ripped off a piece of the giraffe's flesh and took it to a safer place to finish eating. The other cubs just ate faster. They shared their food with the vultures. The vultures squawked and flapped their wings. The noise alerted a trio of hyenas that was wandering nearby.

Paragraphs 6 to 11:
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