The desert is often thought to be one of the hottest biomes on the planet today, but did you know that it is also one of the coldest? The desert biome covers about 20% of the land that is on the planet. There are actually four different types of deserts: coastal, cold, semi-arid, and hot. All deserts still support animal and plant life, even though conditions can be tougher in the desert than in other biomes.
1. There’s a Hopping Nightlife
Because the temperatures of the desert tend to be very hot during the day, most of the life that the desert supports comes out at night. You’ll find a number of reptiles, rodents, and other small animals all coming out of their shelters from the hot sun. These animals are very unique because they can store water better than most other animals in the world. This is because most deserts have very little water. Some animals even get the water they need from the foods that eat.
2. Some Deserts Are Really Big
Deserts come in all different shapes and sizes in the desert biome. Some are quite small and only consist of a few sand dunes or an area of scrub brush. The Sahara Desert, however, is incredibly large. It is over 300 million square miles in size and stretches across the entire northern portion of the African continent.
3. That’s Really Hot
All deserts get some rain during the year, but it usually isn’t very much. A few inches of rain, sprinkled throughout the year, is the best case scenario. There are many times, however, that the desert biome is so hot that when it could rain, it still doesn’t. This is because the rain that falls from the sky evaporates before it hits the ground because of the heat. The driest desert on the planet, however, receives 1 centimeter of rain every 5-20 years.
4. It’s an Interesting Location
The reason why animals and humans store body fat is because it gives added energy when there is no food available and provides warmth. In the desert, warmth is not something that is needed. If body fat covered the entire body of an animal in the desert, there is a good chance that they would overheat. Animals still create body fat naturally from the foods they eat. To solve this riddle, many animals have the ability to store body fat in one specific location – like a camel’s hump.
5. It Is Found Almost Everywhere
The desert biome is active on every continent except Europe. There are even deserts in Antarctica, but there are considered cold deserts. It’s like a hot desert, but in reverse. The conditions are so cold in Antarctica that most plants and animals cannot survive the conditions that are found there.
The desert biome might provide a harsh climate for long-term life, but it makes for the perfect place to visit. Rock climbing, off-roading, hiking, and other activities can make for a fun day away. By knowing these interesting facts, when you visit the desert, you can stay safe and have fun too.