Living Things

Our Beautiful and amazing planet is inhabited by living things of all shapes and sizes, they live in a variety of climatic conditions that range from the snow capped poles to the warm tropics that are close to the equator.

The hairy hyenas

Large animals often die in the desert—of thirst, hunger, heat stress, or all three. There are always scavengers, however, to feed off the flesh and crunch thebones. Of the three main species of hyena, best adapted to very dry habitats is the brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea). Hyenas are much more actively predatory than their popular …

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A desert Fox

Desert dogs and foxesTwo members of the dog group that survive in varied habitats, including drygrassland and scrubby semidesert, are the coyote (Canis latrans) and the dingoAtlas of the world’s deserts 170(Canis dingo) of Southeast Asia and Australasia. The latter is tawny yellow incolor and can hardly bark, only howl. Sometimes regarded as a subspecies …

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The Very Small Desert Creatures

The mammalian fauna of most deserts is dominated by small rodents, includinghundreds of species of ground squirrels, mice, rats, kangaroo mice, kangaroorats, gerbils, jerboas, and jirds. Their burrowing, nocturnal habits are describedearlier. One of the best-known, from its success as a small, clean, fairly odorfreepet, is the Mongolian gerbil—technically called the Mongolian jird(Meriones unguiculatus)—of the …

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Desert Amphibians

Frogs, toads, and other amphibians usually need water in which to spawn—forthe first stage of their lives tadpoles are aquatic gill-breathers. Nevertheless,surprisingly, a few amphibians have managed to survive in the desertenvironment.In North America various species of spadefoot toads (genus Scaphiopus),such as the western spadefoot (S. hammondi), are well adapted to desert life.They are mostly …

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The Great Reptiles

The reptilian body, with its scale-covered, thick, leathery skin and low energyrequirements, is in a sense preadapted to desert conditions. Unlike mammals,too, it does not sweat and produces thick, pasty bodily wastes, which minimizeswater loss. A typical desert reptile, such as the desert night lizard (Xantusiavigilis) of southwestern North America, exploits a variety of arid-land …

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