Desert is a large area of land or barren area of the landscape. Deserts are vast areas where very little rainfall occurs. The rain that does fall quickly evaporates. Few plants can survive, soil cannot develop in such a dry and barren environment. The landscape is filled with sand, gravel, or rock. Clear skies and sparse vegetation leave the ground exposed to extremes of temperature. In the tropics, cloudless skies create hot deserts. Deserts at higher latitudes can be extremely cold. The one-third of the Earth’s area is covered by deserts. The Sahara desert is the hot desert and the cold desert is Antarctic Desert. Take a look at the desert information.
Mirage In Desert
Mirage is a naturally occurring optical illusion. Sometimes the desert heat is so intense that desert travelers believe that they can see water. This is an optical illusion caused by the reflection of a faraway object, which may give the false appearance of a sheet of water.
Types of Desert
Many different types of desert exist in different parts of the world. Some are mountainous and rocky; others are pebbly or full of sand dunes. Some become baking hot by day; others have bitterly cold winters. Climatic conditions create different types of deserts. In the Antarctic, there are ice deserts, while in the deserts of the western USA the heat evaporates rain so quickly that it leaves behind dissolved minerals in a hard, salty crust.
In flat areas, vast sand seas, or ergs, develop. After a rainfall, water rushes along a wadi, a dry river bed. The sandstone cliffs on either side are gradually worn away by the heat, wind, and rain.
Many of the world’s deserts are strewn with boulders that have been washed there by flash flooding. These rocks are gradually broken down by the action of wind and weather.
Largest Deserts In The World
- Antarctic Desert – 5,500,000 Square Miles
- Arctic Desert – 5,400,000 Square Miles
- Sahara Desert – 3,500,000 Square Miles
- Arabian Desert – 900,000 Square Miles
- Gobi Desert – 500,000 Square Miles
- Kalahari Desert – 360,000 Square Miles
- Great Victoria Desert – 220,000 Square Miles
- Patagonian Desert – 200,000 Square Miles
- Syrian Desert – 200,000 Square Miles
- Great Basin Desert – 190,000 Square Miles
The driest places on earth are known as deserts. Food is scarce, and there is little shelter from the sun and wind. Deserts are among the most inhospitable of all places in which to live. In spite of this, many remarkable animals survive and even thrive in these hostile surroundings. Here is desert information about animals that live in the desert.
The world has different types of beautiful birds. Some of the birds are found in the desert. Though some desert-dwelling doves and finches forage for seeds, the most well-known birds of arid lands are predators. They probe vegetation and scour the ground for prey, obtaining all the moisture they need from the bodies of their victim. Here is desert information about birds that live in the desert.
The Gila Woodpecker forages for insects in the deserts of Mexico and the USA. Typically, it hammers out nest-holes in the stems of large cacti.
This darting bird of prey nests among rocks and cliffs in the Sahara. It hunts small birds, which it chases and snatches in mid-air or on the ground. It also preys on smaller animals, such as gerbils, lizards, and locusts.
Roadrunners seldom fly, but they are extremely fast, agile runners. They often prey on desert snakes, which they subdue with a series of lethal stabs from their sharp beaks.
Desert Mammals show a remarkable ability to cope with conditions that would be dangerously hot and dry for most animals. Some, such as camels, can tolerate steep rises in their body temperature and long periods of dehydration. Others have special means of securing shade, obtaining moisture, finding food, and avoiding danger in the wide-open terrain. Small types of mammals are more common in deserts. Here is some desert information about mammals that live in the desert.
This hamster lives in the deserts of Mongolia, Siberia, and China. It has thick fur which helps to keep it warm in the bitterly cold winters.
The fennec fox is small with large pointed ears. The large size of the ears helps the fox lose excess heat from its body during the heat of the day. The fox has dense fur which keeps it warms on cold nights.
Camels are perfectly adapted for life in deserts. They can roam about for days without drinking or sweating. The two humps of the Bactrian camel act as fat reserves, off which the animal can live. The shaggy coat protects the camel during the cold winters in Asia’s Gobi Desert.
In Australian deserts, red kangaroos browser on bushes. They produce dry dung as a way of saving moisture, but still, make regular trips to waterholes to replace moisture lost through sweating.
Kalahari ground squirrel
These burrowing rodents eat seeds and other plants material in the Kalahari Desert of Africa. During the day, they hold their bushy tails over their bodies for shade.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Both snakes and lizards are tolerant of dry climates. These reptiles are among the most common of desert animals. Amphibians are much more in danger of drying out, but a few species do appear on the desert surface, especially after rare bouts of rain. The following are the desert information of reptiles and amphibians that can be found in the deserts.
This lizard forages in sandy deserts. When the surface becomes too hot, it stands on two legs to help keep cool. Projections between its toes spread its weight and stop it from sinking into the sand.
For months, this frog lies dormant underground in a waterproof cocoon. It emerges to feed and breed only after heavy rains, swelling its body with water before it returns into the soil.
The sand viper has protected ab efficient way of disappearing on desert dunes. It wriggles down into the loose sand, becoming buried within seconds. It does this to escape danger and to be ready to attack prey.
The sandfish is a lizard that makes its home on desert sand dunes. It is named after the way it moves across and through the sand, pushing sideways with its flattened toes as if it were swimming. Like other small lizards, it hunts mainly for insects.
The Gila monster is a fearsome lizard. Large, with a venomous bite, it leaves its burrow at dawn to hunt rodents and raid birds’ nests. Fat stored in its thick tail provides nourishment when prey is scarce.
Few insects and other invertebrates can withstand the full force of the Desert Sun. Those that can have an especially tough, waxy covering, or cuticle, that prevents them from drying out. Other invertebrates take shelter during the day. Take a look at some of the desert information about invertebrates that live in the desert.
The Yucca moth of American deserts has evolved a close relationship with the yucca plant. The Moth pollinates the plant; the yucca flowers give shelter to the moth larvae.
An inhabitant of the deserts of India and Pakistan, the desert cricket can bury itself quickly in the sand. It digs a hole directly beneath itself with its star-shaped feet and sinks down
This domino beetle lives in the drylands of northern Africa through to the Middle East. During the day, it hides under rocks and in holes made by other animals. At night, it emerges to hunt insects and other small prey.
Scorpions are among the hardiest of desert invertebrates, able to tolerate strong sunshine though they normally hunt at night. Armed with strong claws and lethal sting, they ambush foraging insects such as locusts, as well as spiders and other scorpions.
Only the hardiest of drought-resistant plants can survive all year in the desert. Among these are cacti and yuccas. Seeds of more fragile plants lie dormant in the soil. After a rain burst, they sprout and flower before the moisture evaporates. Here are some of the desert information about plants that can be found in the desert.
Little snapdragon vine
Rains in the Mexican desert bring the seeds of snapdragon vines to life. The Vines quickly grow, trailing over the soil and curling around other plants. They flower and set new seed before they die as the conditions get dry again.
Some desert plants, such as the desert holly, have dusty-looking leaves. Salt secreted through leaf pores forms a fine whitish powder. This reflects some of the Sun’s rays, helping to keep the leaves cool and preventing excessive evaporation of moisture.
This plant has two ribbon-like leaves that trail across the sand. Each leaf has millions of pores that extract moisture from the sea for that sweep the Namib Desert in Africa.
Many different kinds of cactus grow in American deserts. All store water in their green swollen stems. They do not have leaves, and this prevents excess moisture loss. Sharp spines deter animals from biting the succulent stems.