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Living in Hot Places

Deserts are areas of the world with very little rainfall. Most of these areas are very hot by day: no clouds are there to cover the sun. At night, the lack of clouds lets heat escape, so hot deserts are cold by night.

Deserts often reach more than 100F during the day, and temperatures of 140F have even been recorded! This would kill any non-desert animal in minutes.

In order to survive in these extreme conditions, desert animals have a variety of adaptations.

Many desert animals are light in color. This not only provides them with camouflage, but also reduces the amount of heat they absorb.

A lot of desert creatures have large ears. These are full of blood vessels. They act like radiators and cool the blood as the air passes over them.

A lot of desert animals have short hair or fur. This allows them to lose heat easily.

Many desert animals are active only at dawn and dusk, or even just at night. They hide in dens or burrows during the day and escape the worst of the heat.

A lot of desert reptiles are camouflaged to match the ground where they live. Their waterproof skin means that they do not need to drink much because they lose very little water.

In most animals, water is a waste product of respiration. In several species of desert animal, this water is kept in the body so they do not need to drink as much.


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In order to survive the extreme conditions, desert animals have a variety of adaptations: A lot of desert creatures have large ears. These are full of blood vessels. They act like radiators and cool the blood as the air passes over them.
Many desert animals are light in color. This not only provides them with camouflage, but also reduces the amount of heat they absorb. A lot of desert animals have short hair or fur. This allows them to lose heat easily.

Living in Hot Places

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Many desert animals are active only at dawn and dusk, or even just at night. They hide in dens or burrows during the day and escape the worst of the heat.