Desert animals inhabit some of the driest biomes with intense sun rays, very little rainfall and living with the most dangerous animals. Temperatures throughout the day are the highest on the planet, reaching below zero at night until they boil in the middle of the day. Each year, only about 250 mm of rain falls.

Some land animals live in the desert


Types of deserts

There are two types of deserts, hot deserts found on both sides of the tropics, and semi-deserts found on continents, far from tropical regions. The main difference is that in a semi-desert it receives at least twice as much annual rainfall as a hot desert.

Desert animal adaptations

The animals that live in the desert have a very sacrificial life since they must endure high temperatures, days without water and food shortages. But that hasn't stopped life from emerging.

Although it is believed that there is very little life in them, most desert animals are nocturnal, coming out only at night when it is cooler and more bearable to live.

Survive without water

In the desert there is a great shortage of water and every drop counts. That is why some animals have developed adaptations to survive.

  • The roadrunner has a digestive system that extracts water from the feces before excretion.
  • The Dorcas gazelle survives without ever drinking water or urinating, obtaining it from its food and expelling only uric acid.
  • The desert lizard is able to absorb rainwater or wet sand through its skin.
  • The sand grouse has feathers that observe the water to carry them to their nest.
  • Camels' humps store fat, not water, to turn it into food and water.

Facing the desert

  • Some animals have an insulating layer to prevent heat from entering their body.
  • When the temperature is high, they begin to pant and sweat to cool down.
  • Some animals survive by digging large tunnels below the ground, where the sand is cooler.
  • The winding snake is able, through a rapid twisting movement, that only two small parts of its body touch the ground and thus avoid touching the hot sand excessively.
  • Sandfish are covered in tough membranes to protect themselves from sand.
  • The camel and jerboa can close their nostrils to prevent sand from entering.
  • The camel has eyelashes to clean the sand from its eyes.
  • The sand cat has developed claws that do not fully retract, allowing it to glide through the sand without burning its feet.
  • The mandrill escapes from its predators by hiding under rocks.
  • When the intense rays of the sun hit the furry ground squirrel it holds its bushy tail to create shade.
  • The “dark circles” of meerkats allow them to absorb sunlight and thus avoid being blinded by predators.
  • During times of drought, the African Pixie Frog burrows underground and covers itself with a mucous membrane where it can hibernate safely for up to seven years.
  • Birds extract nectar from cacti, while others use them for protection.

List of desert animals

Donkey looking at camera.


butter (Donkey donkey) the donkey has been a domestic animal for about 5.000 years, from Somali wild ass (Equus africanus somalicus) native to northeast Africa. Its domestication quickly spread throughout the world due to its enormous utility for the time, it could transport heavy loads and goods over long distances.

Wild Horse


horse (Equus Caballus) They have been around for 50 million years, and throughout that time they have evolved. Horses had many toes on their legs, even today’s beautiful horses, which only have one toe. The modern horse has been domesticated by the human being throughout centuries for transport or for battle.


chameleon (Chamaeleonidae), is a reptile which is part of the iguana suborder. These colorful lizards are known as one of the few animals that can change the color of their skin. However, it is a misconception for the chameleon to change color to suit its surroundings.

The camel is a very social animal.


camel (Camelus dromedarius) they are animals smooth finger ungulates, which means "animals with hooves." There are several groups of ungulate mammals whose weight is distributed roughly evenly between the third and fourth toes of their paw as they move. Camels are native to the dry desert areas of Western Asia and Central and Eastern Asia. The name camel comes from the Greek camels from Hebrew 'gamal'the arab'Jamal'.


kangaroo (Macropus Giganteus) is a large marsupial found only in Australia. They are identified by their muscular tails, strong hind legs, large feet, short hair, and long, pointed ears. Like all Marsupials are a subtype of mammal, the females have pouches containing mammary glands, where their young live until they are old enough to emerge.


caracal, also known as desert lynx (Caracal caracal), is a medium-sized feline with reddish coats and tufted ears, caracals are incredibly striking animals. They are also the heaviest of the small African cats.