BEST IELTS General Reading Test 439

BEST IELTS General Reading Test 439

IELTS General Reading Test

The Greatest Animal Migrations

Massive animal migrations are among nature’s most inspiring events. Whether by wing, fin or hoof, the distance some creatures travel in search of a new habitat is paralleled only by what they endure to survive.

A The Leatherback Turtle

Most sea turtles migrate seasonally between foraging and nesting grounds in spring and summer. Often, these migrations take them hundreds and even thousands of miles. The leatherback turtle is the record holder, travelling an astounding ten thousand miles or more each year in search of jellyfish, crossing the entire Pacific Ocean from Asia to the West Coast of the US. Sea turtles nest in tropical and subtropical regions around the globe.

Both males and females will migrate to nesting areas to breed, generally in the area where they were born. It is not known exactly how adult turtles are able to navigate to their birth beaches, however, researchers think they may use a number of clues such as the Earth’s magnetic field and water chemistry. Also, while research efforts on nesting beaches are ongoing, relatively little is known about how leatherbacks exploit oceanic pathways.

IELTS General Reading Test

B The Dragonfly

Dragonflies are capable of long-distance migrations, but until recently, scientists had no idea how far they travelled. In 2009, scientists discovered an eight to fifteen thousand mile dragonfly migration route that spanned from India to the Maldives, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Uganda and back again. Incredibly, the epic migration spans four generations of dragonflies, with each generation playing its part in the journey much like a relay race.

It is easily the longest insect migration ever discovered and migrating insects might be the foundation of an airborne ecosystem that wings its way north and south from year to year. The migratory patterns and apparent decision rules of dragonflies are strikingly similar to those proposed for songbirds, and may represent a general migration strategy for long-distance migration of organisms with high self-propelled flight speeds.

IELTS General Reading Test

C The Wildebeest

Perhaps the most famous animal migration is the journey of Africa’s Serengeti wildebeest herds, which travel by the millions in search of greener pastures. The great Serengeti wildebeest migration is the movement of vast numbers of these Serengeti animals, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thompson’s gazelle, eland and impala. They migrate throughout the year, constantly seeking fresh grazing and, it’s now thought, better quality water. The precise timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall patterns each year.

D The Caribou

North America’s caribou populations migrate the furthest of any terrestrial mammal, a journey that can span more than three thousand individuals in a group annually. As summer approaches, caribou herds head north in one of the world’s great large-animal migrations. They may travel more than nine hundred and sixty-five kilometers along well-trodden annual routes. At the end of their journey, they spend the summer feeding. In these rich grounds, an adult caribou can eat five kilograms of food each day.

IELTS General Reading Test

This is where they will breed. When the first snows falls each year, the caribou turn south and complete the migration cycle. They spend the winter in forested areas for easier foraging and survive by feeding on lichens. Caribou have large hooves that are useful tools for life in the harsh northlands. The hoof’s underside is hollowed out like a scoop and used for digging through the snow in search of food. Its sharp edges give the animal good grip on rocks or ice.

E The Zambian Fruit Bat

Although only a few bat species are migratory, the ones that travel seasonally do so in spectacular fashion. In fact, the world’s largest air mammal migration is the annual journey of Zambia’s strawcolored fruit bats. An astounding eight million Zambian fruit bats blanket the air during the migration, as they travel to feed on their favorite delicacy, the musuku fruit.

IELTS General Reading Test

The concentration of the bats is very dense during the migration, with up to hundreds of bats per square metre. When they are busy clinging on tree branches, the snakes and crocodiles are always waiting to devour the unlucky bats which fall below the trees. Where bats live is dependent on the availability of food. When the food supply declines, bats have two options. They can hibernate to pass through the low or non-existent food supply period, or migrate to a place with a more abundant food supply. In some areas, bats will also do a combination of both.

F Baleen Whales

While many of the world’s species of marine mammals migrate, none go the distance like giant baleen whales. The gray whale, which travels as far as fourteen thousand miles round trip annually, and the humpback whale, which travels as far as sixteen thousand miles round trip annually, migrate a greater distance than any other mammal on Earth.

IELTS General Reading Test

Before they migrate, Baleen whales feed a lot in colder waters to store up enough food to make the trip and to compensate for the lack of prey in the warmer waters, where they migrate for the winter. As it’s warmer, they use less energy, and thus need less food to live. Without the pressures of feeding, baleen whales turn their attention to another matter: calving. Breeding and birthing takes place in the warmer waters, and baleen whale calves remain in the area with their mothers for a while, gaining strength and size for the colder waters.

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Look at the following statements (questions 14 – 21) and the list of animal migrations (A – F) below. Match each statement with the correct animal migration. Write the correct letter (A – F) in boxes 14 – 21 on your answer sheet.

A. if the statement refers to the leatherback turtle.

B. if the statement refers the dragonfly.

C. if the statement refers to the wildebeest.

D. if the statement refers to the caribou.

E. if the statement refers the Zambian fruit bat.

F. if the statement refers to baleen whales.

IELTS General Reading Test

14. This animal’s migration depends on rainfall patterns.

15. Some of these animals migrate, but some do not move and hibernate.

16. It’s thought this animal may use the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate during the migration.

17. This animal spends lots of time building up its food intake to live off during the trip and winter.

18. It has only recently been found out how far this animal migrates.

19. This animal’s feet are well adapted to its winter habitat.

20. This animal dies during its migration.

21. This animal can migrate further than any other.

IELTS General Reading Test

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the text?

In boxes 22 – 26 on your answer sheet write:

TRUE if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

22. It’s been proved that leatherneck turtles take advantage of a variety of ways to find their way to their birth beaches.

23. The Wildebeest joins other animals during its migration.

24. The caribou migration draws human hunters from all over North America.

25. Zambian Fruit Bats provide are an important source of food for predators during the bats’ migration.

26. Baleen whales breed during the winter.

IELTS General Reading Test


BEST IELTS General Reading Test 439

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IELTS General Reading Test

14. C

15. E

16. A

17. F

18. B

19. D

20. B

21. F


23. TRUE



26. TRUE

IELTS General Reading Test

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