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Desert Wildlife:

Desert Animals


Desert animals, like desert plants, have adapted in very special ways to live in this hot, dry environment. When finding water is a problem, many animals develop ways of living to help them use less water.

Most desert animals must rely on the water that they can find. Most of the time little water is available, so animals have to be masters at keeping cool and saving water.

Nocturnal

Almost all desert animals are smart enough to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. They stay deep underground in burrows. There the sand is much cooler, and burrowing animals, like the antelope squirrel, the badger, the gopher, the coyote and the kit fox, sleep while you are playing on the dunes. At night, after the sun goes down and the sand cools off, the animals come out to hunt for food. When an animal is active at night and rests during the day, it is called nocturnal.

Diurnal

There are a few animals that can be seen during the day. Darkling beetles are crawling about, red-tailed hawks are flying overhead, and you might see a whiptail lizard darting past your feet. These animals, active during the day and inactive at night, are called diurnal. Diurnal animals protect themselves from the heat by spending most of the day in whatever shade they can find.

Herbivores, Carnivores and Omnivores
Many animals get their water from the food they eat. Green leaves contain lots of water. The animals that eat only plants, like the cottontail and chuckwalla, are called herbivores. The body of an animal also contains liquid in its blood and tissues. Animals that eat only other animals are called carnivores. The coyote will eat just about anything, plant or animal. That's what makes him a master at desert survival. Animals that eat both plants and other animals are called omnivores.

Also see > Desert Wildlife


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Desert Wildlife Books
Books about Desert Animals
Photography Books
Books about Photography

Mammals - Predators
Mountain Lion
Coyote
Bobcat
Kit Fox
Badger
Ringtail Cat
Mammals - Prey
Desert Bighorn Sheep
Mule Deer
Desert Cottontail
Jackrabbit
Antelope Squirrel
Round-tailed Ground Squirrel
Mammals
Mustang
Wild Burro
Reptiles
Desert Tortise
Reptiles - Snakes
Mojave Rattlesnake
Mountain Kingsnake
Reptiles - Lizards
Chuckwalla
Horned Lizard
Black-collared Lizard
Mojave Fringe-Toed Lizard
Desert Spiny Lizard
Zebra-Tailed Lizard
Tree Lizard
Desert Iguana
Whiptail Lizard
Western Brush Lizard
Birds - Predators
Red-Tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
Roadrunner
Barn Owl
Birds - Scavengers
Raven
Vulture
Birds
Gambel's Quail
Mourning Dove
More Birds
Insects
Tarantula
Tarantula Hawk Wasp

Wildlife Watching *
Successful wildlife viewing requires a few simple tricks. Click here to find out what they are.

The Desert Food Chain *
Everything has its niche. Who eats what, and what eats who in the desert?
Click here to find out what more.

ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
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