Desert animals need to keep their bodies as cool and moist as possible.
Many only come out at night when the desert cools down and have special features and types of behaviour to help them live more easily in the hot, dry desert conditions during the day:
- carnivores like the desert fox take in moisture from the blood of their prey;
- many desert animals like the jerboa have long ears, which lose heat easily;
- the elf owl nests in the stem of a cactus;
- geckos have tough, scaly skins to protect them from the sun and have webbed feet to help them move across the sand;
- the red kangaroo can keep itself cool by licking the fur on its arms;
- the ground squirrel can use its large, bushy tail as a sun umbrella;
- termite nests point north-south so only a small area faces the general direction of the sun.
There are two types of camel - a dromedary has one hump on its back and a bactrian camel has two humps. They:
- can drink 100 litres of water at a time, then survive for up to a whole week without another drink;
- have no fat under their skin to keep them cool - it is stored in their hump(s) instead;
- have long eyelashes and hairs in their nose to protect them from dust storms;
- have wide, padded feet to stop them sinking into the sand.