Deserts: Animals

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11191

Would you want to live in a desert? You might be surprised how many cool animals (pun intended!) live in the desert! Watch and write about rats and rabbits, snakes and stink bugs, and other critters!


Life Science, World

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Deserts are hot and get very little rainfall. It doesn't seem like a great place to live, does it? Even though some deserts have extreme temperatures and very little rainfall, many different types of animals can still be found in deserts. Let's learn about these animals that live in the hot, dry deserts!

So far, you have learned about desert locations around the world, desert types, and plants that are found in the desert.

If you missed or need to review the previous lessons in our Deserts series, you can find them under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar.

Tell your parent or teacher about the different types of plants you learned about in the previous lesson.

Great! Now you are ready to learn about desert animals!

desert mice

Hot and dry deserts have very high temperatures and very little rainfall. How do you think animals survive in hot and dry deserts? Tell your parent or teacher. Let's learn about the animals that live in hot and dry deserts and how they survive such harsh climates.

Animals in hot and dry deserts usually stay hidden away in their homes during the day. Why do you think they do this? Tell your parent or teacher. Did you say animals hide to stay out of the heat? Great! It's so hot in the desert, most of the animals hide all day and come out at night. This means they are nocturnal.

Some examples of animals that can be found in hot and dry deserts are Horned Vipers, Ground Squirrels, Jack Rabbits, Kangaroo Rats, Sidewinder Rattlesnakes, and Antelope. Check out a few examples below.

What do all these animals have in common? Hint: Look at their color. Tell your parent or teacher. Did you notice all these animals are almost the same color as the ground? This is called camouflage. Camouflage keeps animals safe from predators, because they blend into their surroundings!

Semi-arid deserts are home to jack rabbits and kangaroo rats. Lizards, birds, snakes, insects, and mammals can be found here. Most of these animals are nocturnal because of the heat, but sometimes you will find animals wandering around in the shadows to stay out of the heat. You may also see large grazing animals like zebras, gazelles, and bison. If the desert is too dry, the grazing animals migrate elsewhere.

Carnivores can also be found in semi-arid deserts. Some examples of the carnivores that live here are: jackals, lions, hyenas, and coyotes.

The first picture shows a jackal. The second picture shows two gazelles. The final picture shows a hyena. All these animals have fur coats that blend in with their surroundings. This helps carnivores hunt for prey, and helps prey stay hidden from carnivores.

Coastal deserts are home to many animals as well! If you were to visit a coastal desert, you would see coyotes, badgers, toads, owls, eagles, lizards, and snakes. Did you know that toads that live in coastal deserts stay underground for up to nine months? They come out after it rains.

The first picture shows an eagle. The second picture shows a badger. They blend into their surroundings quite well, don't they?

Cold deserts are home to many small mammals. For example, jack rabbits, kangaroo mice, grasshopper mice, prairie dogs, pocket mice, and antelope ground squirrels can be found living in burrows here. Badgers, coyotes, and kit foxes are common predators found in cold deserts. During the winter, mule deer migrate to cold deserts.

The first picture is of a mule deer, and on the next is a picture of a coyote.

There are so many amazing animals that live in the desert.

Move on to the Got It? section to learn more about desert animals! 

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