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Desert Mammals - Windows to the Universe

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This is a spiny anteater. There are only three mammals that lay eggs, and the spiny anteater is one of them.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Corel Photography

Desert Mammals

There are several species of mammals in the desert. They range in size from a few inches to several feet in length. Like other desert wildlife, mammals have to find ways to stay cool and drink plenty of water.

Many desert mammals are burrowers. They dig holes in the ground and stay there during the hot days. They return to the surface at night to feed. Hamsters, rats and their relatives are all burrowers. Not only do the burrows keep the animals cool, they are also a great place to store food.

Of course, not all animals live in holes in the ground. The kangaroo and spiny anteater both live in the Australian desert region. Spiny anteaters are unusual mammals because they lay eggs.

The desert is also full of wild horses, foxes and jackals, which are part of the canine family. And we can't forget the cats. Lions are found all over the deserts of southern Africa. They get their water from the blood of their prey.

Last modified September 9, 2000 by Jennifer Bergman.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF