Vocabulary Worksheets

Fascinating Sharks: Vocabulary Worksheet with Fish Idioms

(Whale shark. Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri, Unsplash)

🖨 Scroll down for printable PDF version


Fill the gaps with these words:

diverse, fabrics, fearsome, flexible, kingdom, length, marine, prey, rough, rows, survived

Did you know that sharks are older than trees! They have been on our planet for around 450 million years and have a)_______________ several mass extinctions.

Unlike most fish, sharks have a skeleton made of cartilage and not bone. Cartilage is lighter than bone and much more b)_______________, which allows sharks to be more efficient swimmers. 

Whale sharks, which are the largest fish on earth, have huge mouths and about 300 c)_______________ of teeth, but these majestic creatures are docile and feed mostly on plankton.

Not all sharks are massive though. In fact they come in all sizes – the dwarf lanternshark is about the d)_______________ of a pencil!

Sharks have small tooth-shaped ‘scales’ on their skin known as dermal denticles. This is why their skin feels e)_______________ like sandpaper if you were to stroke them from tail to head. These ‘scales’ reduce friction allowing them to swim faster and in fact have inspired f) _______________ for Olympic swimsuits!

Sharks never run out of teeth. When they lose a tooth, it is replaced by a tooth from the row behind. They can go through thousands of teeth in a lifetime.

Sharks have a phenomenal sense of smell, one of the most powerful in the animal g) _______________. They can smell blood from hundreds of metres away.

They are also equipped with special sensory organs which allow them to detect electrical currents and vibrations in the water.  This gives them several advantages as hunters. For instance, it can help them detect the heartbeat of h)__________________ hiding under sand.

Not only are sharks fascinating creatures, but they have been a vital part of i)_______________ ecosystems for millions of years. One very important role they play is keeping other animal populations in check (= preventing them from expanding too much). This helps to ensure j)_______________ oceanic life.

Sharks have a k)_______________ reputation thanks in part to movies such as “Jaws” but most shark species are harmless, to humans at least. You are far more likely to be killed by a lightning strike, a bee or even a cow!

Not so fun fact

Alarmingly, shark populations have plummeted by 70% in just the last fifty years, mostly as a result of overfishing, bycatch* and shark finning. 100 million sharks are killed every year.

*Bycatch: the marine creatures caught unintentionally in commercial fishing operations


1. Karla is very nervous about her first public concert. It’s one thing to sing in front of friends and family but singing in front of a big crowd is a different __________ (bucket, kettle, pan) of fish

2. People were packed like __________ (cod, sardines, tuna) in the train so we decided not to get on and to wait for the next train.

3. I wouldn’t talk to the boss today about organising the office party. He’s got __________ (bigger, busier, grander) fish to fry (= more important things to do)

4. Harold needed money fast so he went to a loan __________ (leech, shark, squid) and now he has to pay it all back in a week with 400% interest!


A) a) survived b) flexible c) rows d) length e) rough f) fabrics
g) kingdom h) prey i) marine j) diverse k) fearsome

B) 1. kettle 2. sardines 3. bigger 4. shark

a different kettle of fish – a completely different situation

If people are packed (in) like sardines there are so many people in a space that it is difficult for them to move

If someone has bigger fish to fry, they have more important things to do

a loan shark is an illegal and sometimes dangerous lender

More Nature Worksheets

Beautiful Bees

Gentle Giraffes

Test your Idioms!

Parts of the Body Exercise 1

Animals  Exercise 1

Idioms with ‘Give’  Exercise 1

Idioms with ‘Make’  Exercise 1  Exercise 2

Idioms with ‘Take’  Exercise 1

Idioms with ‘Keep’  Exercise 1

Idioms with ‘Think’  Exercise 1

Animals, Vocabulary Worksheets

Nature Vocabulary and Idioms Worksheet – Gentle Giraffes

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Grow your English vocabulary learning about these gentle giants! Scroll down for the answers and the free PDF printable download.


Fill the gaps with the following words:

brain   calves   grasp   lethal   pattern   predators   resemblance   saliva   spread   swallow trait   twigs

Each giraffe has a unique a) ____________ of spots just like humans have distinct fingerprints.

The second part of their scientific name ‘giraffa camelopardalis’ originated from their
b) ____________ to a camel crossed with a leopard.

Just the neck of a giraffe is taller than most humans at about 2m. In order for the blood to be pumped all the way up to the c) ____________ , the giraffe has very high blood pressure, double that of humans.

Giraffes can comfortably walk at 15km/h and when they run they can reach speeds of up to 55km/h.

Giraffes have a rather curious way of walking: both legs on one side of the body move forward together and then the legs on the other side. This is a d) ____________ shared by cats and camels.

Since they are such large animals giraffes need a lot of fuel so they spend most of the day eating. They eat around 30kg of food a day – acacia leaves, e) ____________, fruits and flowers.

Like cows they are ruminants – their stomach has four compartments. They chew their food, f) ____________ it and then they regurgitate it (= bring the food back up into the mouth) to chew it again.

Giraffes produce a sticky g) ____________ which helps protect them from any thorns they might swallow when eating.

Despite their size, giraffes only need to drink water every few days which is fortunate as drinking from a watering hole is quite tricky because they have to h) ____________ out their front legs so that they can reach down to the water. Giraffes are also able to get water from the vegetation they eat.

Not only do giraffes have extremely long necks and legs but they also have a seriously long tongue – around 50cm. Their tongue is prehensile which means it is able to dexterously i) ____________ leaves and buds and pull them off.

Giraffes get by on very little sleep, just a couple of hours a day. They tend to sleep standing up as lying down makes them very vulnerable to j) ____________. They take short naps, sometimes lasting only 5 minutes!

Giraffes have a gestation period of about 15 months and they give birth standing up. The k) ____________ are already around 1.8m tall and are able to stand within an hour of being born!

Not known for being aggressive creatures they can defend themselves, however, with an extremely powerful kick which can be l) ____________.

B) Idioms with NECK

Underline the correct word to complete the  expression.

  1. Sorry, I can’t meet you for a coffee, I’m down / up to my neck in housework as we have guests coming to stay tonight.
  2. I need to buy a better pillow. It’s too high and I have a crack / crick in my neck every morning.
  3. Can you pick your toys up off the floor please! I’m going to break / stick  my neck one of these days.
  4. I’m going to be in your neck of the hoods / woods this weekend. Do you fancy meeting up for lunch?
  5. I’m not going to the party if Jeff is going to be there. That guy is a pain / sore in the neck.


A) a) pattern b) resemblance c) brain d) trait e) twigs f) swallow g) saliva h) spread i) grasp j) predators k) calves  l) lethal

B) 1) up to my neck (with a huge amount) 2) a crick in my neck (a stiff or painful neck)  3) break my neck (=hurt myself badly)  4) in your neck of the woods  (in your area, where you live/work) 5) a pain in the neck  (= really annoying)

Nature Vocabulary and Idioms Worksheets

Beautiful Bees

Fascinating Sharks

Speaking Skills: Conversation Questions

48 Conversation Questions for English Learners: Animals and Nature

Books and Reading

Films and Cinema

Football / Soccer

The Weather

Food, Cooking and Eating Out

Vocabulary Worksheets

Nature Vocabulary Worksheet – Beautiful Bees


Bees are fascinating creatures and hugely important pollinators. Next time you nibble on an almond or bite into an apple, you might want to say a quiet thank you to these industrious little marvels of nature. Bees are one of nature’s finest examples of teamwork.

Photo by Dustin Humes at Unsplash


Fill the gaps with the following words:

estimated, key, fans, species, gathering, mate, teaspoon, raccoons, duties, intruders, lay

There are around 20,000 a) ____________ of bee in the world but only eight are honey bees.

The queen bee’s sole job is to b) ____________ and c) ____________ eggs. She can produce as many as 1,500 to 2,000 eggs a day.

The worker bees are female and make up most of the colony. They have many d) ____________, such as keeping the hive clean, feeding the young and the queen, e) ____________  pollen and nectar from flowering plants, and they help to make honey.

Worker bees have another duty: to guard the hive or colony from f) ____________ like wasps, bears or g) ____________. They position themselves at the entrance, a bit like bouncers!

The drones are the male bees – their life is a little more leisurely –  they have one h) ____________ role and that is to breed with a queen.

Only the female bees, the workers and the queen, are armed with a stinger.

When the hive gets too hot, the worker bees bring water and they’ll use their wings as i) ____________ to cool things down.

Once a bee has finished foraging (=collecting food) it takes a direct route back to the colony, hence the expression ‘to make a beeline’.

In her lifetime a honey bee will only make about a twelfth of a j) ____________ of honey.

It’s k) ____________ that just to make half a kilo of honey, bees have to visit around two million flowers, totalling about 90,000 air miles!

Now, go look online and find another interesting piece of trivia about bees and share it with your fellow students or a friend or study buddy (or you can tell me on my EnglishSmarts Twitter).






Oh no! These idioms have got mixed up! Can you BEE a dear 😜, and put the words in italics in the right place?

1.  As soon as we asked for volunteers to help clean up after the party, everyone made a buzz for the door. 

2.  Alice has a bee in her beeline about cars driving too fast down her street. She keeps phoning the council about it but she says they haven’t done a thing about it.

3.  That guy at the bar was really annoying me. I told him to beeswax off.

4.  “Sam says you kissed someone at the party. Who was it? Come on, tell me!” – “No, it’s none of your bonnet.”

Photo by Andy Holmes at Unsplash.com



a) species
b) mate
c) lay
d) duties
e) gathering
f) intruders
g) raccoons
h) key
i) fans
j) teaspoon
k) estimated


1.  As soon as we asked for volunteers to help clean up after the party, everyone made a beeline (=went directly) for the door. 

2.  Alice has a bee in her bonnet (= she’s obsessed) about cars driving too fast down her street. She keeps phoning the council about it but she says they haven’t done a thing about it.

3.  That guy at the bar was really annoying me. I told him to buzz off (= go away (impolite))

4. “Sam says you kissed someone at the party. Who was it? Come on, tell me!” – “No, it’s none of your beeswax.” (= it’s none of your business, it’s not your concern (impolite))

I love Idioms (1) – Body Parts
I love Idioms (2) – Animals

Idioms with Make (1)
Idioms with Make (2)
Idioms with Keep