Desert Animal Adaptations: Lesson for Kids

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Coral Reef Animal Adaptations Lesson for Kids

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 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
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Rebecca Gillaspy

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

Expert Contributor
Amanda Robb

Amanda holds a Masters in Science from Tufts Medical School in Cellular and Molecular Physiology. She has taught high school Biology and Physics for 8 years.

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.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Additional Activities

Create a Desert Creature

Now that you've completed this lesson and learned about the different adaptations for desert animals, it's time to create your own. In this activity you will draw and write about a new animal that you created. The only catch is it has to be able to live in the desert. Your animal should be a creation of your own imagination, and not necessarily a mash-up of organisms that already exist. When creating your organism you should make sure it has a way to get food and water, as well as to survive the extreme temperatures in the desert. Here are some guidelines to get you started creating your desert organism:

  • The organism has at least five adaptations to help it survive in the desert.
  • The organism has an adaptation to get water or conserve water.
  • The organism has an adaptation to survive extreme temperatures.
  • The organism has a way to camouflage or hide in the desert.
  • All adaptations are labeled on a drawing of the organism.
  • Each adaptation is explained in a written description of the organism and includes a rationale as to why they would evolve.
  • The written description includes an overview of what life is like in the desert.
  • The written description is between 500 and 1000 words long.

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account