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How do you define or describe a desert? Name some common desert animals. How do they survive?

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Last updated date: 14th Jul 2024
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Answer
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Hint: Depending on the temperature, there are 2 types of deserts - Hot deserts and Cold deserts. The adaptations shown by desert animals are actually the measures to protect themselves against high temperatures, to live without water, and to preserve water as far as possible.

Complete answer:
A Desert is defined as an arid region, which is characterised by low rainfall, scanty vegetation and extreme temperatures. Depending on the temperature, there are 2 types of deserts found in the world- Hot deserts and Cold deserts. The Sahara desert is the hottest and also the largest desert of the world, while Ladakh is a cold desert situated in the Great Himalayas. Some common desert animals are camels, hyenas, jackals, foxes, and large varieties of snakes and lizards.

Animals living in the desert are able to survive because of their adaptive features. Two features of the desert i.e., high temperature and scarcity of rainfall regulate the occurrence, distribution and adaptations of desert animals.
- Insects and reptiles of the desert have impermeable integument and excrete nitrogen in the form of uric acid.
- Rodents of the desert do not require drinking water, as they can live on dry seeds, succulent cacti and other plants that store water. During the daytime, they stay in burrows to avoid evaporation and water loss and conserve water by passing out highly concentrated urine.
- The presence of poison glands is also an adaptive characteristic of desert animals.
- A camel can tolerate a substantial degree of body’s water depletion, and when water is available, it may drink more than one-third of its body weight.

Thus, adaptations shown by desert animals are actually the measures to protect themselves against high temperatures, to live without water, and to preserve water as far as possible.

Note: There are two types of Camel- Dromedary and Bactrian Camels. The former has only a single hump, while the latter possesses two humps. Many people believe that the hump helps in water storage but in reality, they help to store fat. This fat provides nourishment to the camel when food is scarce.