What is the climate like in the desert? What kinds of life can you find there? How do they handle the conditions in the desert?
There are a couple of things that make deserts different from other
places on Earth. First, deserts are very dry. This is because they get
only a small amount of rainfall each year. Some deserts may go for a
whole year or more with NO rain!! Second, deserts have very hot days and
very cold nights. Even though the desert is too harsh
for most forms of life, there are plants and animals that can
survive in these tough conditions.
Many animals that live in deserts only come out at night when it's cool.
They sleep during the hot days in cool caves or underground burrows.
These animals also have special coverings to keep their skin from drying
out--like the scales you see on the skin of snakes and lizards.
Many plants that live in deserts have very short lives. They must
sprout, grow, and make seeds for new baby plants in just a few short
weeks. These plants do all their growing during the desert's rainy
season which may only last a few days! Other plants, like the big cactus
in the picture, keep water stored inside their stems. The spines help
protect it from animals that might try to sneak a drink!
(February 10, 1998)
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