Desert Wildlife

Animals that live in the hot desert have many adaptations. They must survive in a hostile environment. Intense heat, searing sun, and lack of water are just a few of the challenges facing desert animals.   Some animals never drink, but get their water from seeds (some can contain up to 50% water) and plants. Many animals are nocturnal, sleeping during the hot day and only coming out at night to eat and hunt. Some animals rarely spend any time above ground.
Although at first glance the desert seems to have little in the way of wildlife, it actually contains large, diverse populations. The desert environment may seem an unlikely place for animals to thrive or even exist. However, desert animals have adapted to their environment, and each fills an important niche in the desert ecosystem.
Many desert animals get their water from the food they eat. Green leaves contain lots of water. The animals that eat only plants, like the cottontail rabbit and chuckwalla lizard, are called herbivores. An herbivore is an animal that eats only plants and no meat. However, many herbivores will eat eggs and occasionally other animal protein. Animals that eat only other animals are called carnivores. Carnivores are predators and chiefly eat meat, although some will consume plants. They will drink water when it is available, but are not dependent on it since the moisture-rich flesh of their prey satisfies their water needs The coyote for example, will eat just about anything, plant or animal. That's what makes him a master at desert survival. Animals that eat both plants and other animals are called omnivores. They will consume both other animals and plants as part of their typical diet.