A caracal is caught on a camera trap in Iran’s Kavir National Park. Caracals are typically nocturnal and prefer to live in dry habitats where there is little rainfall.
- Hostile Planet
Meet the animals that survive extreme desert conditions
Hot, dry, and barren, deserts may seem hostile to life. But many species do just fine in the heat.
There are a lot of ways, it turns out, to cope with unrelenting desert heat.
To regulate their temperatures, turkey vultures and black vultures urinate down their legs. As the water in their urine evaporates, it cools them off. Kangaroo rats live in deep underground burrows, which they seal off to keep out midday heat and to recycle the moisture from their own breath. They get all of their water from seeds they collect and store. Gila monsters store water in their bladders, which they can then draw from during hot summers.
Animals adapt over eons to be perfectly suited to their natural environments. But compared to other habitats—the rainforest, the ocean, grasslands—the desert seems