By Savanna Acree

Vitals of Deserts

A desert is part of the terrestrial surface of the globe where little rain falls and in which few plants or animals are able to exist. Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth. Many deserts are located on the continent of Africa Most deserts They often have little rainfall each year and high climates.

Plant and Animal Life

Deserts are the home of many plants and animals. Someof the plants are: the barrel cactus, the brittle bush, the triangle- leaf bursage, saguro cactus, octotillo, mojave aster, jumping cholla, palo verde, joshua tree, pancake prickly pear cactus, desert ironwood, chainfruit cholla, soaptree yucca, creosote bush, and the crimson hedgehog cactus. There are also many animals that call a desert their home. These include: the armadillo lizard, bobcat, cactus wren, javelina, thorny devil, sonoran desert toad, deseert tortise, coyote, and the cactus ferruginoug pygmy owl. These animals adapt to changes in their environment by finding many different sources of food, water and shelter in case one of them becomes unavailable or extinct. Many species compete to survive. A few examples are: different insects competing for plants, or a snake and a hawk competing for a desert rat. A lot of preditation goes on in deserts as well. Some examples of these are: a lizard hunting a butterfly, a snake hunting a rat, a scorpion hunting a beetle, and a hawk hunting a snake.

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Desert Climate and Rainfall

Deserts have ayear round average temperature over 64° F (18° C). The average rainfall is approximately 1 in. (.25 cm) of rain in dry deserts per year. This weather is year round.

Ecological Concerns

Deserts, as mentioned, have little rainfall and a high climate. This makes it hard for any plant or animal to live there. The kangaroo rat and the prairie dog and just two of the many endangered desert species. Not many organisms survive in deserts, unless they can adapt. Humans also are a threat to deserts. Companies are constantly digging for oil and other fossil fuels. This causes plant and animal life to decrease or in some cases, become extinct. Nonetheless, without deserts we wouldn't have the essential oils and fossil fuels that keep our economy strong.

Additional Information

  • During the day, deserts are very hot, but at night they can actually get very cold
  • The Sahara Desert is the largest desert, it covers 300 square miles!
  • Many animals that live in deserts are nocturnal
  • Dust storms are common in deserts, reaching up to 100 miles per hour!