This is my HOME...: DESERT BIOME

CLIMATE

The desert's climate is very hot and dry. Not many plants and animals can survive, but the ones that do are adapted to the torturous climate. As if the heat were not enough, at night it cools down to very cold temperatures. Deserts are usually located in areas near the equator. Most are just barren land with sand that strecthes for miles. The climate controls for this region are latitude because they are positioned near the equator. Another control is land & water because land heats up and cools down much faster than water making the climate more extreme.

There is a shortage of precipitation in the desert receiving less than 25 centimeters a year, receiving the least rain in the spring & summer. Although August is one of the months that receives the most rain with up to 1.3 centimeters of rain. The months of December to March is the time period when the desert receives the most precipitation. In May and June it does not receive any precipitation at all.

The temperatures for the desert fluctuate from day to night. The temperatures get so hot that they sometimes cause you to hallucinate. During winter the temperatures are lower than usual, in spring and summer it gets hotter, and in the fall it cools down a bit. The temperature controls are heating of the land because land heats faster than water, and geographic location because they are usually located by the equator.

Some of the largest deserts in the world:

Type of Desert Name of Deserts Location Animals
Hot Desert Great Sandy Desert, Great Victoria, Simpson, Gibson, Tanami Australia bilby, dingo, kangaroo, marsupial mole, quokka, rabbit-eared bandicoot, etc.
Hot Desert Arabian Desert Arabian Peninsula dromedary, dung beetle, camel, civet, Egyptian vulture, flamingo, fox, gazelle, hare, hedgehog, Arabian horse, hyena, ibex, jackal, jerboa, lesser bustard, lizard, locust, oryx, peregrine falcon, porcupine, sand cobra, scorpion, skink, veiled chameleon, viper, etc.
Hot Desert Chihuahuan Mexico/S.W. USA big free-tailed bat, coyote, diamondback rattlesnake, kangaroo rat, roadrunner, vampire bat, etc.
Hot Desert Kalahari S.W. Africa gazelle, gerbil, ground squirrel, hyena, jackal, meerkat, springbok, etc.
Hot Desert Mojave S.W. USA bighorn sheep, coyote, desert tortoise, jack rabbit, pupfish, sidewinder, etc.
Hot Desert Monte Argentina, South America armadillo, cavy, jaguarundi, puma,tinamou, tuco-tuco, etc.
Hot Desert Sahara North Africa addax antelope, barn owls, cape hare, dama deer, desert hedgehog, dorcas gazelle, fan-tailed raven, Fennec fox, gerbil, horned viper, jackal, jerboa, mouse, Nubian bustard, ostrich, sand fox, shrew, slender mongoose, spiny-tailed lizard, spotted hyena, etc.
Hot Desert Sonoran S.W. USA, Mexico barn owl, big free-tailed bat, black widow spider, bobcat, chuckwallas, coati, collared peccary, desert iguana, desert tortoise, dragonfly, elf owl, gila monster, kangaroo rat, pack rat, Mexican gray wolf, mule deer, pupfish, rattlesnake, red-tailed hawk, roadrunner, scorpion, sidewinder, tarantula, turkey vulture, wild burros, etc.
Hot Desert Thar Indian, Pakistan dromedary, great Indian bustard, Indian spiny-tailed lizard, jackal, sandgrouse, etc.
Coastal Desert Atacama Peru, Chile llama, Peruvian fox, etc.
Cold and Hot Desert Gobi China, Mongolia Bactrian camel, beetles, blue hill pigeon, desert wheatear, gazelle, gecko, Mongolian gerbil, jerboa, Gobi bear, jerboa, lizards, onager, Pallas cat, Pallas sandgrouse, Przewalski horse, short-toed larks, snow leopard, wild mountain sheep, wolf, etc.
Cold and Hot Desert Iranian Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan monitor lizard, onager, oryx, scorpion, etc.
Cold and Hot Desert Namib S. W. Africa fringe-toed lizard, golden mole, jackal, sidewinder, viper, web-footed gecko, etc.
Cold and Hot Desert Takla Makan W. China Bactrian camel, jerboa, long-eared hedgehog, gazelle, etc.
Cold Desert Patagonian Argentina, South America guanaco, lesser rhea, mara, pygmy armadillo, tuco-tuco, Patagonian weasel, foxes, puma, hawks, eagles, etc.
Cold Desert Turkestan Middle East Asian tortoise, gazelle, gerbil, saiga antelope, etc.
Cold Desert Antarctic Desert Antarctica Brown skua, penguins, mites, springtails, worms, etc.
Semi-arid Desert Great Basin USA bighorn sheep, jack rabbit, pocket mouse, pronghorn antelope, sage thrasher, etc.

PLANTS

In the desert you will find many plants. Those plants have adapted to the desert by holding in a lot of water for a long time. The most common desert plant is the cactus. Most people think of this plant when they think of the desert. There are other types of plants, such as peyote. It is a small plant that is really low to the ground. Indians used to smoke peyote to get a lot of ideas. Peyote is found in the Chihuahuan desert in North America. Another kind of plant is the fishhook cactus. It is really prickly and the needles are shaped just like the name, fishhook. Kind of clever, eh? It is found in the Sonoran desert. The hedgehog cactus is small and has really sharp needles. It doesn't have a lot of details, it is just a little prickly thing. I wouldn't step on it with no shoes on though. It is found in the great basin.

ANIMALS

Animals in the desert must survive in a harsh environment. Intense heat, searing sun, and lack of water are just a few of the challenges facing desert animals.

Adaptations are numerous in the desert. Some animals rely on bird seeds for water (seeds can contain up to 50% water). Spadefoot toads spend nine months of every year underground. Many animals in the desert, such as a rettlesnake, kangaroo rat, and kit foxes, spend most of the day underground. These animals come out at night to eat and hunt. Creatures that come out at night to eat and hunt are called nocturnal.

The most common animal of the desert is the jackrabbit. The jackrabbit has the adaptation of large ears that radiate heat so it doesn't get to hot. It has strong hind legs that enable it to jump away from its predators. They usually eat small desert plants or whatever they can find on the desert floor.

The largest animal of the desert is the camel. Camels have the ability to store large amounts of water for a long time enabling it to survive in the harsh, dry desert. Camels are the main transportation of the desert dwellers. They have a transparent eyelid that keeps sand out of their eyes.



Ant

Ants are social insects found worldwide in almost every environment.


Antelope

Antelopes are graceful mammals with beautiful horns.


Arabian Camel

The Arabian Camel is the one-humped camel (it is also known as the dromedary).


Arabian Horse

Arabian Horses are a distinctive and elegant breed of riding horses that were bred by Bedouins thousands of years ago.


Armadillo

The armadillo is a small, burrowing, armored mammal.


Bactrian Camel

Bactrian Camels are two-humped camels from deserts and steppes of Asia.


Bandicoot

Bandicoots are marsupials with pointy snouts.


Bat

Bats are the only flying mammal.


Bighorn Sheep

The bighorn sheep is a wild brown sheep from mountains and deserts of North America.


Bilby

The bilby (also known as the rabbit-eared bandicoot) is a small marsupial with long ears.


Black Widow Spider

A very poisonous spider with a distinctive red hourglass marking.


Blue-tongued Skink

An Australian lizard with a long, blue tongue.

Boa Constrictor

A large constricting snake from South and Central America.


Bobcat

A fierce, short-tailed wild cat from North America.

California Quail

The California Quail (also known as the Valley Quail) is a plump bird with a forward-facing head plume.


Camel

Camels are large mammals that live in dry areas.


Collared Peccary

A pig-like mammal, also known as the javelina, from deserts and chaparrals of North and Central America.

Coyote

Coyotes are meat-eaters related to wolves.


Deer

The deer is a shy, fast-moving plant-eater.


Desert Tortoise

A tortoise from southwestern North America.


Dingo

The dingo is a wild dog from Australia.


Donkey

Donkeys are hoofed mammals adapted to desert life.


Dragonfly

The dragonfly is a flying insect with a long abdomen.


Dromedary

The dromedary is the one-humped camel (also known as the Arabian Camel).


Eagle

The eagle is a large bird of prey.


Fennec Fox

The Fennec fox is a small, desert fox with very large ears; it lives in the Sahara and in northern Saudi Arabia.


Flamingo

The flamingo is a long-legged bird that eats crustaceans. Flamingos live in a variety of habitats, including warm coastal areas, high, snowy mountains, and near alkali lakes in deserts.


Fox

The fox is a meat-eating mammal with a long, bushy tail.


Gazelle

Gazelles live in herds in Africa.


Gecko

Geckos are the only lizards that make noise. Many geckos live in desert.


Gerbil

The gerbil is a small, long-tailed rodent that is native to dry, sandy areas of Africa and Asia.


Gila Monster

A venomous lizard from deserts of southwestern North America.


Goat

Goats are sure-footed, hoofed mammals.


Gray Wolf

Gray wolves are carnivores that live in packs and howl.


Great Horned Owl

A large bird of prey from North and South America.


Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are small mammals that can roll into a prickly ball.


Iguana

Iguanas are plant-eating lizards.


Jack Rabbit

Jack rabbits are hares; they have very long legs and long ears.


Javelina

A pig-like mammal, also known as the collared peccary, from deserts and chaparrals of North and Central America.


Jerboa

The jerboa is a small, long-tailed rodent that hops.


Kangaroo

Kangaroos hop and have pouches. Their babies are called joeys.


Kangaroo Rat

A small rodent from North America.


Llama

Llama are woolly mammals from South America.


Mongoose

Mongooses are sleek, meat-eating mammals.


Mouse

Mice are small rodents with long, scaly tails.
Nabarlek


Nabarlek

A small wallaby from northern Australia.


North American Porcupine

The North American Porcupine is a mammals that has protective, needle-like quills on its body.
oryx


Oryx

Oryx are long-horned antelopes from dry areas in Africa.


Ostrich

The ostrich is the largest bird. It can't fly, but it runs very fast.


Owl

Owls are nocturnal hunters with eyes that face forwards.


Peregrine Falcon

The fastest flyers, who prey upon other birds.


Pika

Pikas are small, furry mammals who stockpile food for winter.


Porcupine

Porcupines are mammals with protective, needle-like quills on their body.


Pronghorn

Pronghorns are the fastest moving mammals in North America. The Sonoran Pronghorn lives in semi-desert areas.


Puma

A long-tailed wild cat with no spots. It is also known as the catamount, panther, mountain lion, and cougar.


Pupfish

A small fish from desert waters of southwestern North America.


Quokka

The Quokka is a marsupial from Australia, a type of wallaby.


Rabbit

A fast-moving mammal with long ears.


Rabbit-eared Bandicoot

Also known as the bilby, this small Australian marsupial has long ears.


Rattlesnake

Rattlesnakes are venomous snakes that have a rattle at the end of the tail.


Red Fox

The Red Fox is a meat-eating mammal with a long, bushy tail.


Red Kangaroo

Red Kangaroos are large roos from Australia.


Red-Tailed Hawk

The Red-Tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, a raptor from North America.


Roadrunner

Also known as the Ground Cuckoo, this bird is a fast runner that rarely flies.


Scorpion

A venomous arachnid with a large stinger on its tail. Found worldwide except in Antarctica.


Serval

A long-legged African wild cat.


Sheep

Sheep are mammals with thick, furry fur and hoofed feet.


Shrew

Shrews are tiny mammals that are quite ferocious.


Snow Leopard

Snow Leopards are rare, pale leopards from the snowy central mountains of Asia.


Spider

Spiders have eight legs.


Suricate

Suricates (also known as meerkats) are a type of mongoose that can stand upright.


Tarantula

A tarantula is a large, hairy spider.

Valley Quail

The Valley Quail (also known as the California Quail) is a plump bird with a forward-facing head plume.


Vampire Bat

Vampire bats are the only bats that drink blood.


Veiled Chameleon

A chameleon with a helmet-like casque on its head.