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Health in the Wild Reading Answers: IELTS Reading Practice Test

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Updated on Jul 02, 2024, 11:57

In the IELTS Reading section, your reading comprehension skills are rigorously tested. Lasting for 60 minutes, this segment comprises three passages, each accompanied by a series of questions in various formats like multiple choice, matching headings, and True/False/Not Given. Success in this section hinges on your ability to grasp key information, discern main ideas, and infer meaning from context.


To ace the IELTS Reading section, adopt effective reading strategies such as skimming for main ideas and scanning for specific details. Regular practice with sample questions and exposure to different question types will sharpen your skills for test day.


Prepare for an enlightening exploration of "Health in the Wild," an insightful look into the factors that impact health and well-being within natural environments. Delve into the ecological mechanisms, challenges, and strategies that affect the health of wildlife and humans in wild settings through engaging passages and accompanying questions, enriching your understanding of how health can be maintained and improved in the wild.

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1. Health in the Wild Reading Passage

You should spend approximately 20 minutes answering Questions 1 - 13 based on the Reading Passage below. This approach can help manage time effectively during a reading comprehension activity or exam.

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2. Health in the Wild Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Health in the Wild Question & Answers

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1.

Health in the Wild Reading Passage

General Information

  • Read Instructions: Understand each question before answering.
  • Manage Time: Spend about 20 minutes per passage.
  • Skim and Scan: Quickly get the main idea and find specific information.
  • Highlight Key Info: Underline essential words or phrases.
  • Answer All Questions: Attempt every question; no penalty for wrong answers.
  • Stay Focused: Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task.
  • Check Spelling: Ensure correct spelling and grammar.
  • Transfer Answers Clearly: Write answers neatly on the answer sheet.
  • Don’t Dwell: Move on if stuck and return later.
  • Review: If time allows, review your answers.

 

 

 

Health in the Wild Reading Passage

 

 


Paragraph A 

For the past decade Dr Engel, a lecturer in environmental sciences at Britain’s Open University, has been collating examples of self-medicating behaviour in wild animals. She recently published a book on the subject. In a talk at the Edinburgh Science Festival earlier this month, she explained that the idea that animals can treat themselves has been regarded with some scepticism by her colleagues in the past. But a growing number of animal behaviourists now think that wild animals can and do deal with their own medical needs.

 

 

Paragraph B

One example of self-medication was discovered in 1987. Michael Huffman and Mohamedi Seifu, working in the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania, noticed that local chimpanzees suffering from intestinal worms would dose themselves with the pith of a plant called Veronia. This plant produces poisonous chemicals called terpenes. Its pith contains a strong enough concentration to kill gut parasites, but not so strong as to kill chimps (nor people, for that matter; locals use the pith for the same purpose). Given that the plant is known locally as “goat-killer”, however, it seems that not all animals are as smart as chimps and humans. Some consume it indiscriminately and succumb.

 

 

Paragraph C

Since the Veronia-eating chimps were discovered, more evidence has emerged suggesting that animals often eat things for medical rather than nutritional reasons. Many species, for example, consume dirt a behaviour known as geophagy. Historically, the preferred explanation was that soil supplies minerals such as salt. But geophagy occurs in areas where the earth is not a useful source of minerals, and also in places where minerals can be more easily obtained from certain plants that are known to be rich in them. Clearly, the animals must be getting something else out of eating earth.

 

 

Paragraph D

The current belief is that soil—and particularly the clay in it—helps to detoxify the defensive poisons that some plants produce in an attempt to prevent themselves from being eaten. Evidence for the detoxifying nature of clay came in 1999, from an experiment carried out on macaws by James Gilardi and his colleagues at the University of California, Davis. Macaws eat seeds containing alkaloids, a group of chemicals that has some notoriously toxic members, such as strychnine. In the wild, the birds are frequently seen perched on eroding riverbanks eating clay. Dr Gilardi fed one group of macaws a mixture of harmless alkaloid and clay, and a second group just the alkaloid. Several hours later, the macaws that had eaten the clay had 60% less alkaloid in their bloodstreams than those that had not, suggesting that the hypothesis is correct.

 

 

Paragraph E

Other observations also support the idea that clay is detoxifying. Towards the tropics, the amount of toxic compounds in plants increases and the amount of earth eaten by herbivores. Elephants lick clay from mud holes all year round, except in September when they are bingeing on fruit which, because it has evolved to be eaten, is not toxic. And the addition of clay to the diets of domestic cattle increases the amount of nutrients that they can absorb from their food by 10-20%.

 

 

Paragraph F

A third instance of animal self-medication is the use of mechanical scours to get rid of gut parasites, in 1972 Richard Wrangham, a researcher at the Gombe Stream Reserve in Tanzania, noticed that chimpanzees were eating the leaves of a tree called Aspilia. The chimps chose the leaves carefully by testing them in their mouths. Having chosen a leaf, a chimp would fold it into a fan and swallow it. Some of the chimps were noticed wrinkling their noses as they swallowed these leaves, suggesting the experience was unpleasant. Later, undigested leaves were found on the forest floor.

 

 

Paragraph G

Dr Wrangham rightly guessed that the leaves had a medicinal purpose—this was, indeed, one of the earliest interpretations of a behaviour pattern as self-medication. However, he guessed wrong about what the mechanism was. His (and everybody else’s) assumption was that Aspilia contained a drug, and this sparked more than two decades of phytochemical research to try to find out what chemical the chimps were after.  But by the 1990s, chimps across Africa had been seen swallowing the leaves of 19 different species that seemed to have few suitable chemicals in common. The drug hypothesis was looking more and more dubious.

 

 

Paragraph H

It was Dr Huffman who got to the bottom of the problem.  He did so by watching what came out of the chimps, rather than concentrating on what went in. He found that the egested leaves were full of intestinal worms. The factor common to all 19 species of leaves swallowed by the chimps was that they were covered with microscopic hooks. These caught the worms and dragged them from their lodgings.

 

Paragraph I

Following that observation, Dr Engel is now particularly excited about how knowledge of the way that animals look after themselves could be used to improve the health of livestock. People might also be able to learn a thing or two, and may, indeed, already have done so. Geophagy, for example, is a common behaviour in many parts of the world. The medical stalls in African markets frequently sell tablets made of different sorts of clays, appropriate to different medical conditions.

 

 

Paragraph J
Africans brought to the Americas as slaves continued this tradition, which gave their owners one more excuse to despise them. Yet, as Dr Engel points out, Rwandan mountain gorillas eat a type of clay rather similar to kaolinite – the main ingredient of many patent medicines sold over the counter in the West for digestive complaints. Dirt can sometimes be good for you, and to be “as sick as a parrot” may, after all, be a state to be desired.

2.

Health in the Wild Question & Answers

Discover exciting and informative IELTS reading answers about Health in the Wild Question & Answers

Questions and Answers 1-4
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?
In boxes 1-4 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 in the passage

 

 

1. It is for 10 years that Dr Engel has been working on animal self-medication.
2. In order to find plants for medication, animals usually need to walk a long distance.

3. Birds such as Macaw, are seen eating clay because it is a part of their natural diet.
4. According to Dr Engel, it is exciting that research into animal self-medication can be helpful in the invention of new painkillers.

 

Health in the Wild Reading Answers with Explanations (1-4)

 

 

Question Type:  True/False/Not Given

 

In this task, you are presented with a statement, and your task is to determine if it agrees with the information in the passage (True), contradicts the information in the passage (False), or if there is insufficient information in the passage to decide (not given).

 

How to best answer the question:

 

  • Read the statement carefully to ensure you understand exactly what it is saying. 
  • Pay attention to details such as dates, numbers, and specific information.
  • Scan the passage to find the section where the relevant information is likely to be located. 
  • Focus on finding evidence that either supports or contradicts the statement.
  • True: If the statement agrees with the information in the passage.
  • False: If the statement contradicts the information in the passage.
  • Not Given: If there is no information in the passage that confirms or contradicts the statement.


 

1. True


 

Reference:

Paragraph A 

For the past decade Dr Engel, a lecturer in environmental sciences at Britain’s Open University, has been collating examples of self-medicating behaviour in wild animals.


 

Explanation

This statement is accurate because Paragraph A confirms that Dr. Engel has been working on animal self-medication for the past ten years.


 

2. Not Given


 

Reference:

Paragraph 

NA


 

Explanation

There is no information in the passage indicating whether animals need to walk a long distance to find plants for medication.


 

3. False


 

Reference:

Paragraph D

In the wild, the birds are frequently seen perched on eroding riverbanks eating clay.


 

Explanation

The passage suggests that macaws eat clay to detoxify alkaloids, not because it is a natural part of their diet.


 

4. False


 

Reference:

Paragraph  I 

Dr Engel is now particularly excited about how knowledge of the way that animals look after themselves could be used to improve the health of livestock.


 

Explanation

Dr. Engel's excitement is about using animal self-medication knowledge to improve livestock health, not about inventing new painkillers.

Questions and Answers 5-9
  • Complete the notes below using NO MORE THAN ONE WORD from the passage.
  • Write your answers in boxes 5-9 on your answer sheet.
  •  

     

    Date

    Name

    Animal

    Food

    Mechanism

    1987

    Michael Huffman and Mohamedi Seifu

    Chimpanzee

    5 —----of Veronia

    Contained chemicals named 6_________

    1999

    James Gilardi and his colleagues

    Macaw

    Seeds (contain 7 ____and clay

    Clay can 8____the poisonous contents in food

    1972

    Richard Wrangham

    Chimpanzee

    Leaves with tiny 9 ____on surface

    Such leaves can catch and expel worms from intestines

     

     

    Health in the Wild Reading Answers with Explanations (5-9)

     

     

    Type of question: Note Completion

     

     

    In note completion questions, you are required to fill in the gaps in notes or summaries using information from the reading passage. This task assesses your ability to find specific details within the passage and requires you to understand and identify the main points. 


     

    How to best answer the question

     

    • Understand what specific information you need to fill in the blanks.
    • Quickly read through the passage to get a general understanding of its main ideas, key points, and the context surrounding the information you need to complete.
    • Pay attention to keywords or phrases in the notes provided. 
    • Once you've identified the keywords, scan the passage to locate the section that contains the information needed to complete the notes. 
    • Be prepared for the information in the passage to be paraphrased or expressed using synonyms. 
    • Ensure that the completed notes fit logically within the context of the passage. 


     

    5. of Veronia


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph B 

    Michael Huffman and Mohamedi Seifu, working in the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania, noticed that local chimpanzees suffering from intestinal worms would dose themselves with the pith of a plant called Veronia.


     

    Explanation

    This answer is correct as it mentions that chimpanzees consume the pith of Veronia for self-medication.


     

    6. Terpenes


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph B

    This plant produces poisonous chemicals called terpenes. Its pith contains a strong enough concentration to kill gut parasites...


     

    Explanation

    This line confirms that the pith of Veronia contains terpenes, which are effective in killing parasites.


     

    7. Alkaloids


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph D 

    Macaws eat seeds containing alkaloids, a group of chemicals that has some notoriously toxic members..


     

    Explanation

    The passage states that macaws consume seeds with alkaloids, which are toxic chemicals.


     

    8. Detoxify


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph D 

    The current belief is that soil—and particularly the clay in it—helps to detoxify the defensive poisons that some plants produce in an attempt to prevent themselves from being eaten.


     

    Explanation

    This sentence explains that clay detoxifies the poisonous content in the macaws' food.


     

    9. Hooks


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph H 

    The factor common to all 19 species of leaves swallowed by the chimps was that they were covered with microscopic hooks.


     

    Explanation

    The leaves have tiny hooks on their surface, which helps them catch and expel intestinal worms from chimpanzees.

    Questions and Answers 10-13
  • Complete the summary below using words from the box.
  • Write your answers, A-H, in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.
  •  

     

    Though often doubted, the self-medicating behaviour of animals has been supported by an increasing amount of evidence. One piece of evidence particularly deals with 10 ________, a soil-consuming behaviour commonly found across animals species, because the earth, often clay, can neutralize the 11________content of their diet.  Such behaviour can also be found among humans in Africa, where people purchase 12 _________at market stalls as a kind of medication to their illnesses. Another example of this is found in chimps eating leaves of often 13______ taste but with no apparent medicinal value until its unique structure came into light.

     

     

    A  mineral          

    B  plants          

    C  unpleasant   

    D  toxic

    E  clay tablets     

    F  nutritional   

    G  geophagy      

    H  harmless

     

     

    Health in the Wild Reading Answers with Explanations (10-13)

     

    Type of Question: Summary Completion

     

    Summary completion questions provide a summary of part of the reading passage with several blanks. Your task is to fill in these blanks with appropriate words or phrases from the passage. The summary may cover a whole passage or a part of it, focusing on key points and main ideas.

     

    How to best answer this question:

     

    • Quickly skim the passage to get an idea of its main ideas and structure.
    • Focus on keywords in the summary and look for them or their synonyms in the passage.
    • Carefully read the instructions to know the word limit and any specific guidelines.
    • Identify the part of the passage related to the summary. This often involves scanning for keywords or phrases.
    • Ensure the words you choose fit grammatically and contextually within the summary.
    • After filling in the blanks, review the summary to ensure it makes sense and adheres to the word limit.


     

    10. G- Geophagy


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph C 

    Many species, for example, consume dirt a behaviour known as geophagy.


     

    Explanation

    The term "geophagy" is directly mentioned in the context of animals consuming dirt.


     

    11. D-Toxic


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph D

    The current belief is that soil—and particularly the clay in it—helps to detoxify the defensive poisons that some plants produce...


     

    Explanation
    This line indicates that clay neutralizes the toxic content in the animals' diet.


     

    12. E-clay tablets


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph I 

    The medical stalls in African markets frequently sell tablets made of different sorts of clays, appropriate to different medical conditions.


     

    Explanation

    This line shows that clay tablets are sold at market stalls as a form of medication.


     

    13. C- Unpleasant


     

    Reference:

    Paragraph F 

    Some of the chimps were noticed wrinkling their noses as they swallowed these leaves, suggesting the experience was unpleasant.


     

    Explanation

    The unpleasant taste of the leaves is highlighted, indicating their bitter taste.

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    FAQs

    Q. Do I lose marks for incorrect answers in the IELTS Reading test?

    Ans. No, there is no penalty for incorrect answers in the IELTS Reading test. This means it's beneficial to attempt all questions, even if you're unsure. You may still earn points for correct responses by making educated guesses, improving your overall score.


     

    Q. Can I write on the question paper during the test?

    Ans. Yes, you are allowed to write on the question paper during the IELTS Reading test. This can be a helpful strategy for keeping track of key information, identifying important details, and organising your thoughts as you read the passages. You can underline relevant points, circle keywords, or make brief notes to aid in answering the questions later.


     

    Q. How can I prepare effectively for the IELTS Reading test?

    Ans. To prepare effectively for the IELTS Reading test, start by familiarising yourself with the test format and question types. Practice with sample questions and past papers to develop your skills in skimming for main ideas, scanning for specific details, and understanding complex passages. Work on expanding your vocabulary by reading various texts and noting down unfamiliar words. Additionally, practice time management to ensure you can complete the test within 60 minutes.