How Have Animals Adapted to Surviving in Hot and Arid Deserts

How Have Animals Adapted to Surviving in Hot and Arid Deserts

Animals are fascinating creatures. Desert animals, for example, have to adapt to extreme climates and figure out how to stay cool and survive. Luckily, these desert animals have innovative strategies to keep cool while not losing water from sweating.

Desert animals often have long ears that can grow and shrink. When they expand, they can help shed heat using blood vessels, and when the air is cooler, the blood vessels shrink and keep the warm blood in the body rather than releasing it back into the environment.

Other desert animals can absorb fluid from their urine. A spinifex hopping mouse’s record-holding pee can reach 9,000 milliosmoles per kilogram of water, according to a study. That is 10 times higher than was humans can hold! Other desert animals will find ways to avoid the heat as a whole. Many animals will burrow to escape the heat or find a place to post up out of the sun.

Spadefoot toads are an interesting species, and three species of the toads live in Arizona and New Mexico. Although the climate is hot and arid, these animals need to find standing water to lay their eggs. When water isn’t available, they burrow in the sand and stay with a slowed metabolism until the rain begins again.

The tadpoles then need to survive as well. These creatures develop lungs very early to breathe if their body of water dries out. To survive, tadpoles have even been found to take a break from their omnivore lifestyles to eat other tadpoles for a better chance at survival.

Despite all odds, desert animals have adapted to these extreme conditions and have figured out ways to survive. Unfortunately, with climate change looming, the weather is becoming more extreme, and animals can’t necessarily quickly adapt to these new drastic changes to their environment.

Not all animals have the ability to sweat like human beings, so they have to find other ways to cool their bodies down in warm climates. Many species have evolved to beat the heat, some ways are stranger than others!

The hotter the weather, the more likely we are to sweat. But not all animals are equipped with sweat glands. Mammals are the only ones capable of sweating. However, some mammals only use these secret-sweat weapons from gripping in the heat.

This article by Hailey Kanowsky was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 12 October 2022. Lead Image Source : Charles T. Peden/Shutterstock.

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