Desert Animal Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

Desert Animal Adaptations: Lesson for Kids
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  • 0:04 Desert Animals
  • 0:29 Nighttime Living
  • 0:47 Big Ears & Light Colors
  • 1:28 Underground Homes
  • 1:53 Energy & Water Conservation
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Desert animals are good at staying cool. Deserts are hot environments that get very little rain, so the creatures that call the desert home have developed physical and behavioral adaptations that help them deal with the heat and conserve water.

Desert Animals

For you, the best way to cool off on a hot summer day is to jump in a pool. But how would you cool off if you lived in the desert, where daytime temperatures are blazing hot and water is hard to find? That's the problem that desert animals face. In this lesson, you'll learn about some of the cool ways desert animals - like small mammals, camels, and reptiles - have adapted or changed to survive in their hot and dry homes.

Nighttime Living

What's the best way to stay out of the sun? Come out at night! Nighttime is a busy time for nocturnal desert animals. Nocturnal is a word that describes an animal that is active at night and sleeps during the day. By coming out when the sun goes down, desert animals, like the scorpion, can hunt for hours in the cooler night air.

Big Ears & Light Colors

If you lived in the desert, you'd be cool if you had big ears. The big ears of desert animals are thin and filled with blood vessels. An animal's core body temperature is warm. So, to prevent overheating, blood vessels carry warm blood from the core to the exposed blood vessels of the ears where heat can be released. Desert animals, like the jack rabbit, can get rid of a lot of heat through their oversized ears.

An animal's color also plays a role in keeping cool. Dark colors absorb heat, while light colors reflect heat. So, desert animals that are active during the day tend to have light-colored coats. A black bear would be very hot in a dessert, but a pale-colored fennec fox stays comfortable in the sun.

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