The desert is like a barren wasteland, but with spectacular plants and
animals. Mostly all deserts are sand or gravel, but there are cold
deserts. The climate is very dry and probably only gets ten inches
of precipitation per year. The temperature can reach up to 125 Fahrenheit
during the day, but can get down to 50 Fahrenheit at night. The ground
is cracked, but cacti (cactuses) grow because they can store moisture in
the stem. Most of the landscape is plain and plant less, but when
it rains, beautiful plants and shrubs spring up but only can stay alive
for six to seven days due to fast moisture loss. An oasis is when
there is abundant water and plant life (mostly palm trees and shrubs).
They are very common but can be found in most deserts. The most common
desert plants are date palms, shrubs and bushes, and some grasses.
In the Gobi desert, it is landscaped by bare rocks and mountains.
Precious stones and jewels have been found in rocks in some deserts.
The amount of animal life in the deserts is amazing. It ranges from
the smallest protozoa to the largest carnivores. Shortage of water,
very little food, and extreme temperatures are some of the hardships that
desert animals face, if they can survive. Animals risk water loss
and overheating from the heat so they use some way to keep cool during
the day. Some animals burrow into the ground or hide under a rock
or some vegetation until night comes. Another way is to adapt to
the heat. Certain types of amphibians dig into the ground, hibernate
until the come which can be up to seventeen years, then come out and mate.
Most animals are nocturnal so they stay cool during the daytime by hiding
then come out are most active during the night. Mammals can endure
a large range of temperatures, but can't tolerate small rise in body temperature.
The desert mammals are mostly rodents, but there are some large antelope
type animals. Birds such as hawks, vultures, and owls live and perch
on cacti to seek out their prey. Many reptiles of all types live
in the desert and have special adaptations. Some snakes slither sideways
so only half of its will be on the ground at a time, and lizards (geckos)
run at very fast speeds and stand on opposite feet and alternate ever so
often. The desert is home to some interesting and amazing plants