Food Chains

Find out where tadpoles are in the food chain and who eats who in a pond!

Food chains include plants and animals arranged in an order of who eats who. Plants take in carbon dioxide from the air and  absorb lightfrom the sun. They use the process called photosynthesis to produce organic matter.

Some animals get their energy from plants (herbivores) and some from eating other animals (carnivores). Others eat a mix of both plants and animals (omnivores).

Often animals get bigger the higher you go up the food chain. Many small animals feed on plants, larger animals feed on those animals and a top predator feeds on those animals. Though this isn’t always the case (e.g. grass->cow->human).

Plants are known as producers as they produce the organic matter using energy from the sun. Animals are known as consumers as they consumer this food or indeed each other.

There are different levels of consumers in a food chain. The animal that eats the plant is called a primary consumer. A secondary consumer eats the primary consumers and a tertiary consumer feeds on the secondary consumer.

Here is a pond life food chain, including young tadpoles, who areprimary consumers at this stage in their life. 

The arrows show who eats whoTadpoles eat the algae, which are plants and are the producers. Tadpoles are eaten by newts, which are eaten by birds such as this heron. The tadpoles, newts and birds are consumers, but at different levels. The tadpoles are primary consumers as they eat the producer, the algae.

Often the connections between animals are more complicated and more like a web  than a chain. This is because some animals eat more than one thing. A simple example of a pond life food web is below.

As you can see, lots of animals like to eat tadpoles and the bird eats most animals! Click here to find out more about tadpole predators. Click here to find out what tadpoles eat.

Activities and resources

Food chain cut and stick

Food chain/web links

Click on the links below for more food chain/web resources, websites, videos and more!

Media credits under creative commons licence: cat-Laki10 clipart;;; newt clipart-Alex Brad; damselfly nymph- Sharp Photography; Stickleback and beetle- commons licence