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The predator and the prey

December 30, 2008

After reading Alexander Petrunkevitch's "The Spider and the Wasp," Heritage Academy students investigated predator-prey relationships and chose an example of a predator-prey that interests them. Then the students wrote an imaginative or informative paragraph that describes the relationship. Petrunkevitch is a Russian-American zoologist who gave most of his life to the study of spiders.

The Snow Leopard



By Duncan Smyly

It was a cold winter morning in the Altai Mountains in the western region in Mongolia. Snow softly made its way down to the earth, only being disturbed by the slight breeze that signaled the approaching blizzard. The Altai Mountains loomed high into the clouds surrounding the Cessor Valley. Pine trees covered the hilly region shielding the ground from the complete fury of winter.

Padding softly and stealthily on the snowy forest floor, the snow leopard searched for her next meal. She glanced to her right, looking over a small valley, yet she saw nothing. The cold, harsh terrain had left her hungry for over five days now, causing her to lose nearly half her normal body weight. Her stomach growled; pain fired throughout her body, which was screaming for sustenance. She halted to lick her paw that had been bruised when she chased a scrawny rabbit down a rocky slope the previous day. By now she was desperate for anything she could lay her paws on. After four hours of continued searching, she still could not find anything. By now she was on the apex of a hill overlooking a long open valley containing a small lake, which, on any normal year, swarmed with deer.

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This year was different, though; the freeze came so suddenly that nearly every creature died of the cold, unable to grow their winter coats quickly enough. She took one last longing glance into the valley, as a cold wind whipped across her face, causing her to look back down at the ground. She looked into the sky, sensing that an approaching blizzard was near at hand. Looking for a place of warmth and shelter, she noticed a large fir tree behind her. She padded softly through the snow, miserable at the thought of going another night without a meal. Giving up all hope, she laid down under the tree and curled up into a ball.

She lay there for over three hours as the sun was making its way across the sky. Suddenly she heard a hoofbeat behind her. Not moving a muscle, she focused all of her attention on the sound. It remained silent for about three minutes, yet she still listened. Then again she heard the hoofbeat.

By the weighty sound of it, she knew it was a stag. She listened optimistically as her prey began to plod closer to where she lay. Still remaining motionless, she envisioned where she would pounce on her quarry. Her black and white fur kept her practically invisible in the wintery terrain. Then, the time was perfect. Using all the strength she had left, she jumped up and whirled on the stag. Her patience had paid off; the stag was right where she wanted him. She then thrust out her paw, unsheathing her razor sharp claws, and grabbed the bewildered deer, all the while roaring with delight. Then, with quick secession, bit into the deer's neck, hoping to immobilize it quickly. When the stag finally stopped struggling, the snow leopard laid down next to her kill, feasting on her well-earned prize.




Time



By Kenny Sterner

It watched the man as he worked. The man knew that it was coming, and tried to do everything to avoid it. It watched the man as he went through life, day after day, year after year. It watched as the man reared a family and faced the hardships many families face.

As the man grew old, he knew his moment was near. The man tried to find a way to counteract his foe, but could find no riposte to his dilemma. As he lay on his death bed, peace overtook the man. The predator that stalked him, the prey, finally claimed him. Time had killed the man.

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