Did you know there are four different types of desert? The Gobi desert, for instance, covers nearly 1.3 million square kilometers – five hundred thousand square miles. It is located in Asia and includes parts of China and Mongolia. The Great Victoria desert, meanwhile, covers 647,000 square kilometers. This desert can be found in Australia, and covers parts of South Australia and Western Australia.
In the desert, many different species of animals exist. Some live alone and others live in bands. In most cases, these animals live in burrows, and they only come out to eat or warm up in the sun. Other desert animals, such as desert foxes, have a family unit consisting of a male and female, and their young. They can be found living in crevices, thickets, or underground burrows.
Many plants live in the desert and have adapted to this environment. Some plants shed their leaves in the winter to conserve water, while others develop a protective coating on their leaves to avoid being eaten by animals. Others have extensive root systems and long roots called tap roots to survive in the harsh environment.
Deserts are climates that are extremely dry and low in precipitation. Parts of the Arctic and the Antarctic are deserts, but the latter is the most arid, with extremely little precipitation. The plants and animals that do grow there have adapted to the harsh climate. In addition to plants, deserts are inhabited by reptiles and seed-eating animals.
Human activity in deserts has many negative impacts on desert life. For example, we damage the habitat of desert animals and plants by digging for fossil fuels and introducing invasive species. We also cause desertification by overcultivating and using poorly drained irrigation systems. However, there are some ways to mitigate some of these effects.
Cacti are a diverse group of plants. They are divided into two main groups: desert cacti and forest cacti. The former grow in arid environments while the latter grows in hotter climates. Both groups have evolved to adapt to their respective environments.
Temperatures in deserts can be extreme. Summers can reach well over 40°C, and nighttime temperatures can dip to the low 20s. While most deserts get less than 250 millimeters of rainfall per year, some areas can have heavier rains than that.
Atacama Desert is driest non-polar desert in the world
The Atacama Desert in Chile is the world’s driest non-polar desert. Its dryness and barren terrain remind people of Mars. In fact, NASA uses the Atacama as a proving ground for their Mars rover missions. Although it’s so dry that it’s difficult to imagine life there, hardy plants can survive here. These plants get their water from marine fog.