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Author: szeiger
No. Questions: 8
Created: Aug 7, 2013
Last Modified: 6 years ago


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by Jennifer Kirkpatrick

Under a blazing African sun a female warthog, a kind of wild pig, kneels on a grassy plain. With her wide snout the warthog digs grass roots and eats them while her two piglets stand nearby. Scrambling onto the mother's back, birds called oxpeckers eat bloodsucking ticks and other insects that feed on the warthog's skin.

Suddenly the oxpeckers raise their beaks and hiss. A lion dashes from its hiding place toward them. The birds scatter, and the mother warthog, alerted to danger, grunts loudly. Her piglets squeal and scurry away.

The mother waits a second, then speeds toward her offspring with her tail stiffly erect. The piglets run headfirst into a burrow, then the mother whirls around and backs in. Her large head and tusks block the entrance. The lion circles and soon leaves.

With four tusks and large shovel-shaped heads, warthogs look fierce, but they often avoid fighting predators such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs, or hyenas by running away or dodging into a burrow. Warthogs can run as fast as 30 miles (48 kilometers) an hour, often outdistancing a pursuer.

When cornered by predators, warthogs will attack with their sharp lower tusks, which can measure 6 inches (15 centimeters) long. Older warthogs have long curved upper tusks that can grow as long as 2 feet (61 centimeters). These too serve as weapons. Warthogs are generally peaceful, but sometimes a male may attack another male during mating season. The snarling attacker, with his mane and tail erect, charges into his opponent's lowered head. The fleshy, wartlike bumps that cover male warthogs' heads may cushion the blows.

The warthogs butt each other with their snouts and try to push each other down. Most often the weaker male will give up and walk away. Very rarely will a warthog be wounded in these attacks.
Grade 6 Context Clues CCSS: CCRA.R.4, RL.6.4
In the passage what does burrow mean?
  1. to dig a hole in the ground
  2. a hole or tunnel dug in the ground for refuge
  3. making a hiding place for warthogs
  4. a small donkey used as a pack animal
Grade 6 Context Clues CCSS: CCRA.R.4, RL.6.4
What is the best meaning for outdistancing in the passage?
  1. to leave someone or something behind
  2. a final or decisive result
  3. to run a distance of 48 kilometers
  4. characteristic of, or belonging outdoors
Grade 6 Author's Purpose CCSS: CCRA.R.3, CCRA.R.5, RI.6.3, RI.6.5
Why does the author describe the Warthog's tusks?
  1. To help the reader picture the warthog
  2. To lead into a description of how the warthog fights and defends itself
  3. To show how the warthog is different from other animals
  4. To explain what the warthog's main feature looks like
Grade 6 Author's Purpose CCSS: CCRA.R.5, RI.6.5
Why does the author open the passage in this way?
  1. To draw the reader in
  2. To describe the warthog
  3. To personify the warthog
  4. To entertain the reader
Grade 6 Text Elements CCSS: CCRA.R.7, RI.6.7
Which image would most enhance the text?
  1. A picture of a mother warthog and her piglets
  2. A diagram of the warthog's food chain
  3. A chart showing where warthogs live
  4. A picture of a warthog's tusks
Grade 6 Author's Purpose CCSS: CCRA.R.6, RI.6.6
What is the author's purpose in this text?
  1. To entertain readers with a story about warthogs
  2. To inform readers about the life of a warthog
  3. To describe a warthog's general habitat
  4. To persuade readers to support warthog conservation