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Amy Carlson
Amy Carlson

Desert Animal and Plant Adaptations

This features several animals and one plant that you can find in the desert. It provides information on the different ways they are all able to survive in the dry, hot environment.

Elf Owl
desertmuseum.org

Elf Owl

There are several different birds that live in the desert. The Elf Owl, like other owls, is nocturnal. It can be found in holes formed in trees and cacti. They fly silently in order to catch prey and will play dead if captured. The Elf Owl eats insects, but it can get too cold for them during a desert winter. Because of this, the Elf Owl might travel to places like Mexico to eat during this season.

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Addax Antelope
wildaddax.org

Addax Antelope

Living in a desert landscape means an endless search for food. Addax antelopes have several special adaptations and behaviors to cope with this harsh environment. I had never heard of the Addax antelope until now. There are many ways they adapt to the desert. These antelopes like to go out in the morning and at night. During they day they try to find a cool, shaded place to relax. They are herbivores because these plants have water in them. That way there are getting both food and water at the same time. Finally, just like camels, they have wide feet to help walk in the sand.

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Camel
exploringnature.org

Camel

A camel has many adaptations that allows it to live in the desert. I learned that they have flat and wide feet that help with walking in the sand. I learned from another article that a camel has 3 stomachs to help with digestion. This article adds that a camel has a long intestine in order to keep as much water as possible and get water from the foods it eats. Also, I never knew what a camel's humps were for. I thought it was cool that they are just full of fat to help a camel survive when they haven't had any food or water in a while. The humps get smaller as more fat is used.

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Kangaroo Rat
youtube.com

Kangaroo Rat

In the Mojave Desert, Chris finds an animal that has perfected the art of finding water in this arid environment.

This video describes how the Kangaroo Rat uses adaptations to survive in the desert. There are several interesting facts I learned from watching. For example, the Kangaroo Rat has a special type of kidney that does not let any drop of water go to waste. It also is nocturnal and burrows during the day to stay out of the heat. Finally, the Kangaroo Rat only eats seeds and stores them in cheek pouches to save for when it is burrowing.

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Cactus
youtube.com

Cactus

I was very interested in how plants survive in the desert heat. When I
think of the desert, I automatically picture a cactus. I learned a couple cool facts about how a Saguaro cactus and other types are able to live here. One fact is that they have waxy skin that keeps the water in. Also, a cactus is hollow so water can be stored on the inside. The thorns on a cactus keep animals from hurting it and getting the water. The roots do not go deep into the ground like most plants. They spread out sideways so water can easily collect. From a different video I watched, I learned that the ridges on the outside help shade the cactus during the day.

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