10 most interesting animals of the Sahara desert


The word "desert" comes from the Latin "vastus", which means empty, lifeless. But in this seemingly uninhabited space, many species of living organisms live. To adapt to the existence in harsh climatic conditions, desert animals have developed specific abilities. Most of them are saved from the heat in a simple way: their activity is timed to the cool night hours. During the day, they try to hide in the shade or dig. Particularly adverse time, many representatives of the fauna spend in hibernation. They hide and slow down the metabolic process to save energy and water. Large mammals cool their bodies with evaporation. What animals live in the desert, and how did they learn to adapt to extreme conditions? About this you can learn from this article.

Camels - Sands Ships

The most famous inhabitant of the desert, of course, the camel. There are two types of camels - two-humped and one-humped. The scientific name of a double-humped camel is Bactrian (Camelus bactrianus), one-humped one is a dromedary (Camelus dromedarius).

Earlier, wild Bactrians met throughout Asia, today they live only in the Gobi Desert. However, domesticated double-humped camels can be found in China, Mongolia, Kalmykia, Kazakhstan, and Pakistan.

Wild dromedary no longer exist. Their ancestors once lived in the hot deserts and semi-deserts of Arabia and North Africa. Domestic single-humped camels are common in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Camels tolerate extreme conditions, heat and cold. Horn corns protect the soles and joints of the feet of the animal from the heat emanating from the sand. Long legs and a head held high ensure that sensitive parts of the body are located as far as possible from the heated soil. Very long eyelashes and slit-like closing nostrils protect the animal from flying sands. Fat accumulates and stores energy in the hump. Long nasal passages take precious moisture from exhaled air. In addition, the body of camels are so adapted to the lack of moisture that they do not harm the loss of water in an amount of up to 40% of body weight. They begin to sweat only when the body temperature reaches 40 C.

In the heat of the dramo can go up to two weeks without drinking. With a lower temperature and juicy food animals can not drink much longer. But when the opportunity arises, the camel drinks 130 liters of water in 10 minutes! They feed on cereal grasses, barbed vegetation and various types of acacias.

Previously, wild camels lived on the outskirts of the desert. And only after domestication did they begin, together with man, to cross huge areas of the Sahara. The man dug deep wells to supply the animals with water in a long way. This is how the interrelation appeared: without his “ship of the desert” a man could never cross these sandy seas, and without human participation the camel would not have been preserved on the planet as an independent species at the present time.

Wild ass - unpretentious animal

The African wild donkey (Equus africanus) once lived in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains up to Cape Horn and was spread throughout North Africa. Today it has been preserved only in tiny enclaves in deserted arid areas.

The food for the wild donkey is the cereals, dry grass and leaves of the shrubs. Metabolism in animals is such that they are satisfied with a small amount of food and even in especially dry periods do not suffer from malnutrition. However, they need to drink every day, so wild donkeys are trying to keep close to the sources, or at least puddles. In the dried riverbeds they dig deep holes and extract water there. To save moisture donkeys sweat a little while running, adjusting their pace of movement to the heat. These are unpretentious, hardy and fast animals. Unfortunately, they are threatened with extinction due to poaching.

From the African wild donkey came home donkey, which today in some area is a favorite pack animal.

Gazelles - the graceful inhabitants of the Sahara

The Sahara is inhabited by a sand gazelle (Gazella leptoceros) and a very similar colored, but darker colored brown gazelle dorkas (Gazella dorcas). Both species graze at dusk and at night, feeding on grasses, shrubs and grass. During the day they try to hide from the sun. They do not need drinking water, because all the necessary moisture is obtained from food. Wide hooves, similar to boots, help to move on the loose sand of the sand gazelle.

Rocky Damans and Gundi

Desert Damans of the genus Procavia are ungulates, relatives of elephants and sirens. Their fingers are protected by flat nails. Long, like hamsters, soles with pads when running, secrete sweat from the glands. Damans can easily move on sheer cliffs. The animals are not capable of digging holes or building nests, and niches of rocks serve as shelters.

Damans feed on foliage, branches and herbs.

Gundi - rodents, like guinea pigs. They live in rocky groups. Like damans, Gundi can also crawl over rocks, but their soles do not emit sweat. The thick silky fur of the Gundi is an excellent insulator, which allows them to endure the cold nights of the northern Sahara and not to hibernate. Thick fur saves from the heat of the day. As food they are seeds, leaves and other vegetation.

Both Gundi and Damani in the desert have many enemies. They are hunted by large birds of prey, desert monitor, fox, jackal, steppe lynx, etc.

Daman and Gundi are very similar, therefore both of these types are often called “Gundi”, which in Arabic means “watchman” (because of the large number of enemies of the animal colony, guard posts are set up).

Egyptian jerboa - excellent jumper

Egyptian jerboa (Jaculus jaculus) lives in North Africa, the Middle East and Iran. His hind legs are long and adapted to jumps for moving quickly over long distances, and his front legs are short, so animals cannot walk at all. When jumping, they balance the tail. The vertical position gives the jerboa an advantage, since the body of the animal is far more distant from the hot sand than when it moves on four legs.

In search of food, the Egyptian jerboa leaves at night. During the night, this small animal can overcome up to 10 km, collecting seeds, fruits and roots, not letting in insects and other small animals. In the short period of rains in the desert, "life" begins, the food becomes more and the jerboa accumulates fat in order to subsequently consume it in starvation time.

Desert Hedgehog - Scorpion Thunderstorm

The Ethiopian (desert) hedgehog (Paraechinus aethiopicus) is also found in the dry desert, but it prefers the wadi - dry river beds with poor vegetation. It is much smaller than its European counterparts, and there is a characteristic bald spot on the crown.

On the hunt, he goes under the protection of darkness. With his strong jaws, he grabs invertebrates living in the soil. Locust, spiders, millipedes become prey of a hedgehog. But most of all he loves scorpions. Before eating this arachnid, he deftly bites off the sting.

In the Arabian Peninsula and in the dry belt of Asia, Brandt's hedgehog or the dark-needled hedgehog (Paraechinus hypomelas) lives. He is a little less desert hedgehog. Almost black needles hang over the dark gray muzzle. Like his African colleague, Brandt's hedgehog is active at night. From the sun and enemies, he is saved in the niches of the rocks.

Both species hibernate, and during fasting they become numb, saving energy.

Maned sheep - unpretentious inhabitant of the mountains

Mane sheep (Ammotragus lervia) - representative of the family of bovids. He owes his name to the fact that he has a long mane around his neck and chest, and a bunch of long hair hangs at his front legs. The height of animals at the withers can reach 1 meter, and the weight - 140 kg. Strongly curved horns are found in all adult animals, and in males their length can be 70 cm.

The typical habitat of maned rams is an erosion prone area with steep cliffs turning into pebble debris. Here animals thanks to hard hooves and a muscular body can move quickly and deftly.

The maned sheep feed on grasses, lichens, leaves, the need for water is satisfied mainly by food.

Previously, these animals were widely distributed, but now they can be found only in some inaccessible regions.

Antelope Mendez - nomad of sandy seas

Antelope Mendez (or addax) (Addax nasomaculatus) is an African mammal of the bovid family. A characteristic sign of the animal - long twisted horns.

These are tireless explorers. Antelope groups overcome gigantic distances in order to find preserved pastures among sandy seas and scree.

It feeds on herbs and leaves of trees and shrubs. To extract as much fluid as possible, animals graze at night and at dusk when dew falls. In the heat of the day antelope Mendes body temperature rises by several degrees. So it avoids overheating and loss of moisture, because when cooled with sweat it would inevitably lose a lot of liquid. Protecting from heat, the animal with its front hoofs digs flat depressions in the ground and hides there in the hot afternoon hours.

Antelope jumper

Antelope jumper (springbok) (Antidorcas marsupialis) is the only species living on the open dry plains of Namibia and Kalahari. This antelope has received the name for ability to jump from a place on the big height. Elastic as a rubber ball, the antelope soars into the air, working simultaneously with all its limbs, arching its back, neck and head. She can jump to a height of 3 meters and a length of 15 meters!

Mountain zebras

Mountain zebras (Equus zebra) are the smallest among zebras. These herbivorous members of the horse family, easily recognizable by the characteristic dark stripes on a yellow-white background, graze on the mountain slopes. Their hooves grow very quickly, compensating for strong wear when moving over rocks.

To prevent danger from predators high in the mountains, they set up guard posts.

South African antelope oryx

The South African oryx (Oryx gazella) is another typical desert animal. The height of the Oryx can reach 1.2 meters. He has a massive torso and very long horn studs.

Orycteropus afer resembles a pig, but they are not relatives. Aardvark is the last surviving species of ancient ungulates.

During the day the beast is rarely seen, since at this time he is hiding from the heat in the shelter. It is active at night, and practically does not see in daylight. It feeds mainly on insects.

Predators of the desert

Along with herbivorous and insectivorous animals, predators are also found in the desert. First of all, it is lions, leopards and cheetahs.

Where there are no large predators, the black jackal (Canis mesomelas) rules the ball.

In the stony semi-deserts of Namibia, one can encounter more-tall foxes (Otocyon megalotis). The ears of this species are a little inferior to the ears of fenek in size, but the hearing of a larger eagle fox is just as good; it captures even the movement of larvae and insects underground.

The steppe lynx or caracal (Felis caracal) is another excellent hunter of the sandy seas. Previously, it was believed that the caracal hunts only small animals, but it turned out that this cat is only 50 cm high and attacks adult sprigbocks, whose weight is 2 times larger than its own. From a sitting position, the beast can jump a few meters in height and catch a bird.

Another predator living in extreme conditions is a hyena. It is easily recognizable by the long front legs, the back of the back, and a relatively long neck. The structure of the animal's body indicates its adaptability to the use of everything that large predators leave it after a successful hunt. However, the hyenas hunt well themselves.

Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a predatory mammal of the Mongoose family. These cute animals are spread in South Africa.

The diet of meerkats is made up of insects, lizards, snakes, spiders, scorpions, bird eggs, etc.

Read more about meerkats here.

Fenech (Vulpes zerda) is the smallest member of the canine family. Its remarkable feature is large ears, the length of which can reach 15 cm. It lives in the sandy deserts of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, most often found in the Sahara.

Chanterelle lurks its prey - insects, lizards and small mammals under the cover of night. Also eats eggs and fruits. Desert Fox satisfies the need for liquid at the expense of food. Read more about fenek in this article.

The bats

One species of bats has adapted to live in the Namib Desert. This glandular wing, belonging to the genus of night flashes, or short-eared bats (Myotis seabrai). The animals find refuge in the crevices of rocks found among the dunes. The life of these flying mammals is constantly endangered by coastal winds carrying silt.

In the desert, there are birds such as eagles, vultures, Mediterranean falcons, African ostriches, desert larks, sandgrouse, golden shiloklyuvye woodpeckers and many others.

Compared to most other desert inhabitants, birds have great advantages. Unlike mammals with a constant body temperature, the body temperature of birds is much higher, and therefore they tolerate heat more easily. But more importantly, they can fly, which makes it possible, with a strong heat, to rise higher in cooler layers of air.

Birds of prey circling in a column of ascending air high above the desert, where it is much cooler than at the surface of the earth. But most often in the midday heat, the birds sit motionless under bushes or among the branches of trees. They transfer their activity to more pleasant morning hours.

Snakes have conquered almost all the living spaces of the Earth and even the most lifeless regions. Snakes such as the horned viper, the dwarf African viper, the controversial viper, and the rattler snakes perfectly adapted to life in the hot sandy deserts. On the hot sand, they move as follows. When bent toward the snake, it touches the hot soil with a maximum of two or three points of its body. To do this, she raises her head and separates the body from the ground, turning it freely forward and to the side, and only then touches the ground. In this case, the head and body are directed away from the direction of movement. In the same movement, she makes a new round. She kind of “strides” forward.

Moorish Toad: Amphibians Live in the Desert

In the desert conditions only a few amphibians can live, since they need fresh water to spawn. Only the Moorish toad (Bufo mauritanicus) inhabits the water bodies and water systems of the oases of the Western Sahara. For throwing caviar, she is content with brackish puddles in which water lasts for several weeks. At night, the Moorish toad hunts for crustaceans, soil insects and centipedes.

The poisonous animal of the sands is scorpion

Many species of scorpions live in the desert, one of them is the Saharan fat-tailed scorpion (Androctonus australis). This species has a color ranging from light yellow to light brown, making it almost indistinguishable on light sandy soil. He digs his forelimbs in the ground burrows, sometimes hiding under pebbles. To reduce water loss, scorpion minimizes breathing. Only at night the predator leaves its shelter and goes hunting. Its prey are all kinds of insects.

Even moisture-loving mollusks managed to adapt to life in the sandy seas. These include, for example, the desert snail (Helix desertorum), some members of the Sphincterochiladae families. They are forced to protect their sensitive body from drying out. Thus, terrestrial gastropods (Sphincterochilidae) always have a very light color and a very thick shell, which reflects up to 95% of sunlight and protects internal organs from moisture loss. But since with severe dryness this is not enough, the snails close their house with a lime lid and can live for up to three years in this state.

Crustacean Artemia - water inhabitant of the desert

In those places where the water comes to the earth's surface, Artemia crustacean (Artemia salina) settles. This toad crustacean can even exist in a shotta brine (saline drying lake), and in such quantities that the water is dyed red. Adult crustaceans 1 cm long, they are transparent, red.

Desert Locust - a local disaster

Sometimes in the deserts during periods of rain there is a real disaster - a locust invasion. The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) in constant search for food gathers in huge flocks, which with the help of a tailwind can be transported over long distances, causing significant damage to the regions prone to this scourge.

The development of locust eggs requires moisture, which appears only after rare but heavy rains in places of its distribution. During the abundant growth of plants, thanks to the abundance of food, these insects multiply. At times favorable for locust, it lays up to 20 thousand eggs per 1 m2 of soil.

Sahara Lizards

Типичным представителем ящериц пустыни Сахара является шипохвост (Uromastyx) из семейства агам. Это животное кажется неуклюжим. У него уплощенное туловище и маленькая голова, напоминающая голову черепахи. Особенно бросается в глаза короткий хвост, покрытый оттопыренными колючими чешуйками, который служит для обороны. In case of danger, spiketails hide their head in the shelter, and with a prickly tail they fight off from the enemy.

Spiketails are well protected from strong fluctuations in temperature, characteristic of the desert. To do this, they change color. In the early morning, when there is still freshness after a cold night, the lizards darken and the sun heats up the body that has cooled overnight.

Spiketails are herbivorous animals, only young individuals sometimes diversify the diet with insects.

The pharmacy skink (Scincus scincus) is one of the most well-known representatives of skinks, an essential element of desert fauna.

This lizard, which looks like a miniature crocodile, deftly moves on the surface and inside the sand. Short but strong legs serve as a support, the tail - the wheel, and the sharp edges of the abdomen cut through the sand. When a skink moves, it seems as if it is floating on the sand.

In food, the skink is unpretentious, however, like other desert animals. He nibbles everything he can handle: beetles, their larvae, locusts, centipedes, etc. Whenever possible, he eats flowers, leaves, pods and seeds with pleasure.

Skink also learned to save energy and water. This is the only way to survive in an extremely dry and scanty surrounding space. As a source of moisture, it uses the fluid contained in the prey, and in the root of the tail it accumulates fat. If the sand is too hot during the day and too cold at night, the skink digs to a depth of 20 cm in loose sand where the temperature is more comfortable.

1. Animals in the Desert: Horned Vipers

By its scientific name - Cerastes cerastes - it may seem that these reptiles are harmless. In fact, venom of a horned viper causes serious damage to the tissues and red blood cells. Hematoxins in the body can be fatal. Today it is an endangered species.

2. Animal World of the Desert: One Humped Camel

It is worth noting that in the past, a large number of single-humped camels (or dromedars) roamed the deserts of North Africa, but today you can only find domesticated animals, which, being incredibly strong and enduring animals, help people in African and Asian countries to carry heavy loads.

They are also used for riding. Contrary to the opinion of many people, in their hump these animals do not store water, and the fat they eat in case of lack of food.

3. Animals living in the desert: Gazelle Dorkas

This animal has a sandy color that helps it to mask in the desert. Thanks to the dew on the plants with which it feeds, as well as the use of water-saving plants, this gazelle can almost never drink.

An animal can reach a height of 65 cm and a weight of 25 kg. It is worth noting that the gazelle dorkas instinctively jumps off when approaching a predator. This reflex serves as a warning signal to other gazelles. In addition, the gorzel-dorkas runs very fast, reaching a speed of almost 80 km / h.

5. What animals live in the desert: Addax (or Mendeses)

Addax was previously seen in deserts and semi-deserts stretching from Western Sahara and Mauritania to Egypt and Sudan. Today, the range has significantly decreased - Mende's antelope can be found only in several sandy and stony deserts of Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Libya and Sudan.

Due to the structure of their paws, these creatures can easily move through difficult, sandy areas. But, the same thing makes them vulnerable in the face of danger - they find it difficult to escape from predators. In total in the world there are about 500 individuals.

7. What animals live in the Sahara desert: African ostrich

Though the ostrich does not know how to fly, it is one of the fastest animals on Earth that can reach speeds of up to 70 km / h.

But in addition to its speed, the ostrich boasts several more characteristics: it can travel great distances, has excellent hearing and vision, and can safely fight off predators with its mighty legs.

It mainly eats grass, but can sometimes eat small animals. Ostriches from the Sahara desert are a separate subspecies.

8. Animals that live in the Sahara desert: Varan

Unlike simple lizards, the monitor lizard is very dangerous because of the poison, which can be compared to snake. But you should not be afraid of him, because he usually uses his main weapon for hunting insects, rats and other small animals.

These cold-blooded creatures easily adapt to the hot desert climate. When it gets very cold, they become more aggressive. In addition, they do not like to live in captivity.

9. Sahara Desert Animals: Fenech

This miniature fox is considered a night animal. It lives in the deserts of North Africa, and stands out for its unusually large ears, which protect it from overheating, allowing it to withstand the heat of the desert without any problems.

Fenek feeds on smaller desert inhabitants as well as plants.

10. Animals of the desert and semi-desert: Jerboa

This rodent lives in the steppes, semi-deserts and deserts of the Palearctic. It is able to withstand harsh climatic conditions.

In addition, this night animal is distinguished by its jumping ability - a quality that allows it to avoid predators. Despite the fact that his body size can reach a length of only 25 cm, he is able to reach speeds of up to 25 km / h.

Another interesting fact is that the jerboa does not drink water in the literal sense of the word, it extracts moisture from the food it consumes. Usually this rodent feeds on plants growing in the desert, seeds and insects.

What animals eat in the desert?

Among the inhabitants of the desert are many predators (jackals, lizards, snakes, foxes), but herbivorous still prevail.

Camels, antelopes and other herbivores feed on thorns and shrubs, rodents (gerbils, kangaroo jumpers, jerboas) have learned how to harvest the seeds with which the desert is covered, and lizards store fat in the tail.

Where do animals find water in the desert?

Life near the reservoirs always boils, but most of the inhabitants of the desert have enough morning dew, predators get moisture from the bodies of their victims, and herbivores are limited to sap of leaves of bushes. But the jerboa and kangaroo jumpers do not need water at all, they have enough of the liquid that is formed in their body during digestion.

"Ships of the desert" called camels. They are so well adapted to life in the desert that they can go without water for months. The main thing is that before a drought a camel can put fat in a hump, thanks to which it will then be able to get energy and moisture, which is formed during the splitting of fats.

The Sahara desert is the home of the smallest fox - fenek. With a body length of 40 cm, his tail becomes 30 cm, and his ears rise 10 cm up. It is the ears that help the fox to hunt at night - they serve as “antennas” for it, and also the ears help to remove excess heat from the body.

Lizards on paws have brushes of scales and bristles, which make it possible to move with lightning speed from bush to bush.

Snakes that live among the sands, were able to work out their own “style” of movement - a lateral course, thus a horned rattle, a tailed viper, a sandy ef.

Eared and sandy roundheads hide completely in the sand, as if they are drowning in the sand.

The most common inhabitants are turtles. On the surface, they are only 3 months, for which they lay a large number of eggs, and then again hide in the thickness of the sand in their holes.

The roundhead is a very interesting type of lizard - it runs, resting on wide-set paws, with its head high up. When moving very much like a dog. When the enemy encounters on the way, she hides with lateral movements in the sand, and if she is confident in her strength, she scares her with the tail first, and then opens her mouth, her corners of the mouth pour with blood and her mouth seems just huge.

Desert crocodile called the largest lizard - monitor lizard. It reaches a length of 1.5 meters.

The basis of the animal population of the desert are insects, among which are a large number of beetles.

Darkling bells are beetles with a brilliant black body that cannot fly. These insects can be very harmful by eating all the vegetation in their path.

At night, you can see the green light from the eyes of a tarantula - a large spider, which has as many as 8.

And in the desert live poisonous scorpions.

Air Force: Planet Earth. Desert. / BBC: Planet Earth. Deserts.

Lions of the desert, and even lions can live here!

The film - Wild Australasia. Part 2. The heart of the desert.

A series of films about nature - the Palaearctic Desert. Animal world of the Palearctic desert belt.

As you can see, even in such difficult conditions, animals have adapted to life and consider the desert - the best place on Earth. Probably…

African burrowing frog

The African burrowing frog, or the African speckled burrowing frog, is one of Africa’s largest frogs. It inhabits arid and semi-arid regions (savanna, steppe, areas covered with shrubs and semi-deserts). African burrowing frog is quite aggressive and can bite painfully. Locals consider the meat of this frog a delicacy. Predator, eating everything that fits in her mouth.

Area: Africa (Malawi, Zambia, Nigeria, Somalia, Mozambique, Angola, South Africa, Kenya, Rhodesia, Tanzania and Sudan).

The African burrowing frog is one of Africa’s largest frogs. The bull frog has a broad body with a short, rounded muzzle. The big mouth is supplied with sharp teeth. The hind limbs are very strong, with their help the frog digs deep holes. The species is quite aggressive and can bite painfully. The throats of the males are stained yellow, the females are the color of cream. Young and growing frogs have bright green backs with contrasting white spots.

Habitat: can be found in arid and semi-arid regions of Africa (savanna, steppe, areas covered with shrubs and semi-deserts).

Food: African burrowing frog is a predator, it eats everything that fits in its mouth: insects, small rodents, reptiles, birds, amphibians, including other frogs.

Behavior: the frog ox is terrestrial. Active in the dark. During the day, it sits in water in shallow water or buries in coastal soil. Most of the dry season, the African burrowing frog holds deep in burrows (in a waterproof skin cocoon consisting of dead skin layers), falling into a long hibernation.

In a genus with a bizarre name Chuckwell, several species of stocky lizards are combined, characterized by a wide flattened body and a relatively short, blunt-pointed thick tail.

Despite the impressive dimensions, the courage of the chuckwells are no different. If there is a danger, brisk iguanas rush to the nearest cracks penetrating the surface of the rocks. The reptiles wedged between the stones increase in volume by 50%. It is possible to achieve such a transformation in a short time by filling the lungs with an additional portion of air. The wrinkled skin that is not tight in the neck and shoulders at the same time is stretched, as a result of which the lizard appears larger. Coarse scales covering the body contribute to better adhesion to the surface. Predators, as a rule, are not able to reach the shelter in a similar way.

Mature males flaunt in a wide variety of outfits. Head, limbs and shoulders can be painted in yellow, orange, reddish-pink, light gray or black shades. Individuals and females that have not reached puberty have received a tone of yellow and gray scale, diluted with stripes and dark-colored spots. Males, surpassing girlfriends in size, are able to distinguish a rather dry secret from well-developed femoral pores. It is used for marking the territory.

Representatives of the Iguanov family are perfectly adapted to life in semi-deserts and deserts. Preservation of activity is also observed at rather high temperatures (up to +39 ° С). Amazing reptiles can be found in the southwestern regions of the United States and the northwestern part of Mexico. Open spaces animals are avoided. Preference is given to the outputs of rocks and thickets of shrubs. Some individuals were found in the mountains, towering above sea level at 1370 m. Lizards lead a daytime life: in the morning they take sun-baths, scorching the heat they wait in the shade, they feed in the evening.

This miniature animal has long attracted the attention of people. Its size is less than the size of an average cat. Such a fox weighs up to 1.5 kg, with a body length of no more than 40 cm. Its distinguishing feature is its large ears and the same rather big tail. There are large and expressive eyes on the sharp muzzle of the animal. It is thanks to them that the fox becomes even prettier than it is.

Fenecs are very active and playful. With the amazing dexterity of cats, they can jump onto tall objects. They know how to bark, whine, snort and grumble. Eat animal food, consisting of meat, fish, eggs. Also in the diet of these foxes include vegetables and fruits.

Fennek prefers to hunt in splendid isolation and at night. During the daytime, it hides in its own dug hole. Sometimes the territory of such underground labyrinths is so large that several fox families can fit in them. This social animal tolerates water scarcity without problems. It is compensated by their moisture in food. Between the animals communicate with the help of the peculiar, inherent only to them, sounds.

Cape hare or tolai

Small hare, in appearance resembling a small hare: body length 39-55 cm, weight 1.5-2.8 kg. Ears and legs are long, in relative sizes even longer than that of a hare. The length of the wedge-shaped tail is 7.5-11.6 cm, the length of the ear is 8.3-11.9 cm. The feet of the hind legs are rather narrow, this hare is not adapted for movement in deep snow. The color of the fur, in general, resembles the color of a light brown hare, but the fur does not have a characteristic undulation. Summer fur is gray with brownish or ocher coating, the alternation of dark and light guard hairs creates a pronounced fine shading. The head is dark, the throat and belly are white, the tail is dark above, with a brush of stiff white hair at the end. The most typical habitats - deserts and semi-deserts, have significant ecological plasticity, therefore they live both on the plains and in the mountains, where they rise up to 3000 m above sea level. m. (central Tien Shan). It prefers hilly sands, salt marshes, inter-mountain beams covered with vegetation, lives in river valleys, in flood plains, in the mountains it keeps on southern slopes with steppe vegetation or in mountain semi-deserts, in clayey desert it is rare.

Leads sedentary, making small migrations or migrations associated with feeding conditions, reproduction, protection from predators or a reaction to adverse external conditions. Forms temporary groups of up to three dozen animals during the rut, and sometimes in the winter period in the “experience” stations.

The burrow does not dig, uses an oval-shaped shallow bed, located at the footpath or on the crest of a hillock under a bush. In the mountains, weeds are common under stones; young animals hiding in the holes of rodents in danger.

Reed cat

Reed cat It resembles an ordinary domestic cat, but it is much larger and more aggressive. The body is elastic and strong with well developed muscles, it can be 1m in length. Weight is about 16 kg. The paws are high with very sharp claws, the tail is small, its length is no more than 30 cm. The head has large, triangular ears, with tassels at their ends, like a lynx. Thanks to this, the animal got its second name. «swamp trot». The upper part of the body is colored gray-brown with a red tinge, the lower part is light.

The predator suffers from poor frosts, so you will not see it high in the mountains. In the spring it can be found in the highlands. Sometimes settling near people. Predator loves night time more. On the hunt goes with the onset of twilight, although the winter is sent in search of prey in the daytime. He is a great hunter. Usually attacks from ambush, but can wait for prey near the hole. Well knows how to swim. Occasionally it can climb a tree.

Their diet is quite diverse. Most cats feed on rodents and birds. They can eat fish, lizards, snakes, turtles. In some cases, hunt for rabbits, hares and other small animals. They can eat domestic chickens, ducks, geese.

This is a cautious and secretive beast that prefers to hide in the reed beds during the day. The animal has excellent hearing, so when he heard that prey had appeared nearby, she quietly sneaks up and catches. He can catch a bird on the fly due to his ability to jump high.

Predator prefers to live alone. One male can live in a large area, which is fiercely protected from other males. On average, ownership of the reed cat occupy from 50 to 200 km. On this area can live several females.

Cape Ground Squirrel

The Cape earthen squirrel is a small rodent of the genus earthen squirrels that lives in the deserts and savannas of the southern part of the African continent. Coat squirrel hair is short and coarse. Leather black. The color of the back of the body varies between dark and light shades of reddish brown. Bottom torso, limbs, neck and muzzle are white. Ears are small. Характерной особенностью капской земляной белки является пушистый светлый хвост, длина которого равна длине тела животного. Половой диморфизм выражается в различии размеров тела. Самцы немного крупнее самок.

Капская земляная белка предпочитает тропические регионы с сухой средой обитания, например, пустыни, саванны и пастбища. Они также встречаются в пустыне Калахари, которая находится на высоте 600-1200 м над уровнем моря. Капские белки живут в норах, которые защищают их от экстремальных погодных условий и хищников.

Cape ground squirrel is a day animal, using burrows in the ground as shelters. As a rule, they leave the hole in the morning, a few hours after sunrise. First of all, they bask in the sun and take care of their fur, and then go in search of food. In the hottest hours, Cape squirrels use their big, fluffy tails like a parasol. To regulate body temperature, they regularly run into the holes. After dark, these animals tend to return to their shelters.

The body of camels strongly resembles the body of ungulates. For this reason, unknowing people think that camels are hoofed. In fact, just the hooves of these animals and not. There are two types of camels - one-humped and two-humped. Both animals are large enough. A single-humped camel dromedary, for example, weighs from 300 to 700 kg, its relative with two humps is slightly more - from 500 to 800 kg.

Their bodies protect animals from overheating. Wool, nostrils, and, of course, humps that save camels from dehydration help them with this. These mammals have learned to fight well with the cold of the night and the heat of the day. Desert solyankas, thorny bushes and stunted trees are the habitats of the desert ships. These are sedentary animals, but they are not accustomed to be on the site in their territory; transitions are performed regularly. Few people know, but the word camel itself translates as "the one that walks a lot."

For pasture, they choose the morning and evening hours. Happy lie and chew the cud. At night in the same places they arrange to spend the night. These social animals prefer to live in groups of 5-8 individuals. Superiority in these groups falls on males. It happens that among the males there are experienced solitary camels.

In food, animals are absolutely not picky. In the course goes the bitter and salty grass, dry and prickly vegetation. If a camel comes in the way of a camel, they drink with hunting and in large quantities. In order to protect his harem male does not spare any strength. A defensive reaction begins with the well-known camel spit. If this warning signal does not work, then the camels converge in a duel. The defeated opponent has to retreat. The enemies for these animals are wolves, lions and tigers.

Horned Viper

The Saharan horned viper is a snake 60–80 cm long, with a thick body and a sharply narrowed short tail. Above the eyes sticks out one sharp vertical scale. The length of these scales is very different. The scales on the sides of the body are smaller than the dorsal, strongly keeled and directed obliquely downwards, forming a semblance of a saw running along each side. The color of the horned viper is sandy-yellow with dark brown spots along the back and on both sides of the body. This snake inhabits the entire Sahara desert and the foothills and dry savannas adjacent to it, as well as the Arabian Peninsula. In the afternoon, the snake buries itself in the sand or hides in the holes of the rodents, and at nightfall it goes on the hunt for small rodents and birds. Juveniles feed on locust and lizards.

The horned viper is egg-laying, in its clutch there are 10–20 eggs. From the eggs, incubated at 28–29 °, the young hatch in 48 days.

The horned viper moves in a “lateral course”, throwing the back half of the body forward and sideways and pulling the front part towards it. At the same time, there is not a single trace on the sand, but separate oblique strips at an angle of 40–60 ° to the direction of movement, since when “throwing” forward the snake does not touch the ground in the middle of the body, leaning only on the front and rear ends of the body. In the process of movement, the snake periodically changes the “working side” of the body, moving forward either left or right side. Thus, a uniform load on the muscles of the body is achieved with an asymmetric method of movement.

Small keeled scales, sawn-shaped located on the sides of the body, bring the snake dual benefits. First of all, they serve as the main digging mechanism when a snake is buried in the sand. The Viper spreads the ribs to the sides, flattens the body and spreads the sand to the sides with a quick transverse vibration, “sinking” in it literally before our eyes. Kilevy scales act at the same time as miniature plows.

The spotted hyena lives south of the Sahara desert, inhabiting not only savannas and tropical forests, but also peaks in the mountains at an altitude of up to 4000 m. In general, hyena lives everywhere except in very dense forests. Most often, this type of hyenas can be found in Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya, Botswana and Ethiopia.

Crocuta crocuta is a very large predator, the weight of females reaches 64 kg, and males - 55 kg. On the territory of Zambia you can find the largest spotted hyenas, their weight reaches 67 kg.

The coarse hair of these animals is shorter than that of other hyena ones; brown spots can be seen at the top of the paws and on the sides. The front legs are longer than the hind legs, so the animal looks sluggish. The muzzle is long, and powerful jaws are able to bite any bones. Rough tongue allows no residue to remove the meat from the bones.

Despite the fact that hyenas are considered to be scavengers, only 20% of the animal’s ration consists of carrion, in other cases the animal hunts and eats fresh meat. Crocuta crocuta fails in hunting only in 10% of hunts, unlike lions, whose hunting is 50% successful. One hyena can overwhelm antelope, three times the mass of the predator itself.

Spotted hyenas live in small family groups in which the lowest social status is in males. Hyena status can be determined by the tail: lowered down - low status, raised up - high.

Pregnancy females lasts 14 weeks. Then no more than 7 puppies are born. A mother selflessly protects her cubs, who are more resilient and can go without food for a whole week.

This graceful cat is very different from other cats. The cheetah is different from most cats in a number of ways, and these differences are quite significant. In appearance and the anatomical structure of the body, the cheetah is similar to the greyhound dog than the cat, as it is perfectly adapted for fast running. Also, cheetahs sit like dogs, not like cats. They also hunt like dogs and even suffer from dog diseases. The hair of cheetahs is similar to that of smooth-haired dogs. But the spots on the skin of a cheetah still resemble cat fur. The cheetah's trail is also feline. In addition, like most cats, the cheetah likes to climb trees.

The legs are strong and very long, slender, although thin. The claws of the cheetah are partly retractile, this is not typical for the feline, and besides the cheetah it is observed only in the cat-fisher, the iriomote cat and the Sumatran cat. It is worth noting that cheetah kittens can pull claws up to 10-15 weeks of age. Later claws become still.

The tail of the cheetah is long and thin, pubescent evenly. When running fast, the tail acts as a balancer. The head is not large. The cheetah has a small mane.

The fur is short and sparse. The overall tone is yellowish or sandy. In addition to the belly, small dark spots are densely scattered all over the skin of the cheetah. Black stripes along the nose - the elements of camouflage color. They make the cheetah unobtrusive in the bushes and in the grass. And in combination with the spotted skin, the cheetah's disguise is simply gorgeous. The cheetah lives in flatland deserts and savannas. It is found in southwestern and eastern Africa, India and Asia. The cheetah is a small species and is rarely found throughout its habitat.

Cheetah, unlike many cats, is daytime. He hunts during the day or at dusk, sometimes at night. Before hunting, a cheetah is resting in his den, in the grass or in the shade of a bush. The cheetah has a very sharp eyesight. He notices his victim from afar and sneaks up on it, using uneven terrain for a distance of 151 to 200 meters. After that begins a fast and fast (up to 500 meters) chase. While running, the cheetah pushes off simultaneously with its back and front paws.

Coyote - This is an American jackal. Unlike many predators, he adapted to the invasion of civilization in the world of wildlife and managed to survive, although man destroyed it mercilessly. It was man who contributed to the resettlement of coyote throughout the continent. Previously, coyotes lived only on the plateaus of the West. After the start of hunting, he began to flee, and now these predators live throughout North America from Alaska to southern Mexico.

Their night-time howl is heard by movie stars in their villas among the hills of Hollywood, and tourists in the state of New Hampshire, where 30 years ago there was not a single coyote. The total number of coyotes in the United States is now about a million.

Coyote resembles a reduced copy of a wolf - it weighs from 9 to 18 kilograms: three times less than its large relative. His legs are thinner than those of a wolf, his paws are more graceful, his nose is sharper, his eyes are golden-yellow, and his tail is long and fluffy. In quick-wittedness, he is not inferior to a wolf, is more discriminating in food, has adapted to the neighborhood of people and has learned not to come across them.

Coyotes are distinguished by true family cohesion. Having once created a pair, they usually stay together until the end of life. Coyote male diligently helps the female to raise puppies. He guards them, plays with them, licks them, brings them a piece of booty. Coyotes are relatively small and therefore require a small amount of food.

Their needs are fully satisfied with hares, mice, lizards, bird eggs and scraps in garbage cans. It is the fact that they almost do not harm agriculture, and saved them from extermination. Of course, they sometimes love to raid the hen house, eat melons and tomatoes in the fields, but these are very small sins compared to the benefits they bring.

Immediately, the sheepmen breeders became the sworn enemies of the coyotes, who, without counting the lambs, fought a real war with the coyotes in fury. Although researchers show that coyotes attack sheep very rarely.

The biggest and most formidable of big cats is tiger. Adult Amur tigers reach a length of three and a half meters. A tiger weighs more than three hundred pounds. But these are the largest animals. Southern, Bengal tigers are much smaller. They weigh no more than 225 kilograms. It is believed that the homeland of tigers is Southeast Asia, from where they settled to the north more than 10 thousand years ago, reaching the Ussuri region and the Amur region.

In addition to the Far East, tigers lived throughout India, on the islands of the Malay Archipelago and on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Bali. But now tigers have become very rare animals. In India, there are only 2 thousand. And more recently, there were more than 20 thousand. In Sumatra, Java and Bali, the dark island tiger has disappeared completely. Predatory hunting put this magnificent animal to the brink of extinction.

A hungry tiger is ready to eat literally everything that meets on the way. The tiger's menu is very diverse; there are deer, wild bulls, domestic cows, buffaloes, monkeys, wild boars, bears, badgers, lynxes, wolves, crabs, fish, locusts, termites, snakes, frogs, mice, grass, and even land and tree bark. . There have been cases when tigers attacked crocodiles, pythons and leopards. Tiger, if completely starved, can have breakfast and their relatives. There are also cannibal tigers. This happens very rarely, but if such a villain turns up, whole areas lose their peace until he is killed.

In a zoo or circus, the tiger seems to be a very bright beast. But in the wild, an orange with black stripes hide it very well. The tiger is a lone hunter. Even with a female he hunts no more than a week, after which they diverge. Tiger - the eternal tramp. He, of course, marks his territory and warns with a loud roar that this is his home, but not for long. In a few weeks, he will travel again. Tigers live about twenty years.

Most cats do not really like water. But this does not apply to tigers. They just love to swim. Especially Bengal tigers that live in the tropics.

The tiger likes to attack from the thick bush. He almost merges with him, thanks to the coloring. Creeping up very close, he rushes to the victim with a swift jerk and kills her: bites into the throat or breaks his neck with a paw. Attacking, he never growls. Striking a tiger paw is terrible and deadly. With one blow he kills a horse. Tigers go hunting in the evening, but, sometimes starved, they hunt during the day.

Dune cat

It lives in the deserts of northern Africa and the central region of Asia. For the first time an animal is seen in the sands of Algeria. The discovery dates back to the 15th century. Then in the deserts of Algeria was a French expedition. In its composition was a naturalist. He described an unprecedented animal.

The barchan cat has a broad head with equally wide-spread ears. Their shells are looking forward. Ears are big. On the cheeks of a cat there is a likeness of whiskers. Thick wool is even on the pads. This is a device that saves the skin of a predator from burns when walking on hot sand.

The alter-dressing refers to the predators of the Mustelidae, listed in the Red Book, is the only species of its kind. For the beauty and originality of coloring wool they are called "marble ferrets" or pereguzny. Externally, the ligation or reload resembles a miniature ferret, the literal translation of the Latin name means "little worm." His muzzle is slightly rounded, his ears are large with a white rim. The body shape is typical for a family of mustelles: an elongated narrow body and short legs. Its main difference is the beautiful original motley color of coarse fur, consisting of alternating white, black and yellow spots on a brown background.

Ferrets of dressing live in nature for 6–7 years, sometimes up to 9 in a zoo. At warfare, when attacking enemies, he is saved in a tree, and with an immediate threat he bends his back, uplifting his hair, shows his teeth, tilting his head back. Awesome view is confirmed by growling, squealing and chemical attack: the animal rushes and releases a fetid liquid from the special anal glands from under the tail.

The main zone of residence is open steppe areas, treeless, sometimes covered with shrubs, the outskirts of forest massifs, river valleys, forest-steppe and semi-desert plains. Occasionally there are hori-dressings in the mountains up to a height of 3 km, they are found in city parks and squares, often settling near the melon-field. They choose places of residence for themselves in the ready burrows of other animals, sometimes dig their own, using paws with long claws and teeth to remove stones. In the daytime, sit in the shelter, and change it daily.

Griffon Vulture

The neck is of large size, light brown in color, with a long neck covered with a thin whitish down and decorated with white, and the young have a brown collar. The head is small, powerful beak. In flight, it can be recognized by its wide finger-like wings and by the short tail of a square shape. There is no sexual dimorphism.

Sedentary and nomadic species, 2 subspecies in southern Eurasia and in North Africa. In Europe, it is common only for Spain, there are quite large populations in Greece and in France. In Italy, in Sardinia, less than 30 pairs nest, in Sicily disappeared approximately since 1965. After a recent reintroduction, nesting cases were recorded in the foothills of the Alps in the Friuli-Venezia-Julia region and in the Apennines in the Abruzzi region.

For the nest she chooses sheer cliffs with eaves and cliffs close to open plots of land, pastures used for hunting. In the middle of winter, the only whitish egg lays, which both parents incubate for 54–58 days. The young bird becomes on a wing approximately in three and a half months after birth. In a year one laying. Usually a silent, white-headed vulture becomes vociferous in the mating season. It flies around hunting grounds, exploring them from a great height, to which it rises, taking advantage of rising warm streams. Falling down, he describes wide spirals in the air. On the ground moves clumsy jumps.

Legless lizards

Legless lizardwho is she like that? Myth or indeed lizards are like snakes. Yes dear friends legless lizards and the truth exists on our green planet, and today we will talk about these amazing creatures, tell you where they live, what they look like and what their lifestyle is like. You ask, is there a difference between a snake and a lizard? On this question you can find the answer in our article! So, let's start?

Well, legless lizards really looks like a snake, because the lizards are distinguished by the presence of their paws, and in our reptile they are absent, and the movements and expression of the eyes look more like a snake or a viper.

Let's start with the fact that all there is 4 species of legless lizards:

  1. California
  2. Jeronymsky
  3. Zheltopuzik
  4. Spindle

And how do you think is significantly different way of life legless lizard from the usual. Of course, the absence of paws makes itself felt, but still, both classes live on earth and lead a digging lifestyle. Reptiles dig mink depths of 10-15 cm, like an earthworm, and you must have seen how this happens. They hide in voids under stones or under trunks of trees lying on the ground in case of danger. Lizards are found more often in dense forests with vegetation, but they can also be seen on the rocks.

What is the diet? What else to feed on the lizard, if not insects and their larvae, spiders and various arthropods. True, food is extracted more from the ground than from the surface, waiting for the victim to accidentally go the wrong way and land right in the hole with his legless. При всем этом, способны по запаху обнаружить и на поверхности, быстро высунув свою голову и схватив добычу.

У этого представителя пресмыкающийся есть и сходства и отличия между подобными видами. Но все же, сам факт о безногости the creature makes you wonder how much amazing and unexplored in nature! And maybe today for some of you this was a new discovery.

Scorpio - a detachment of arthropods from the class of arachnids. Exclusively ground forms, which are found only in hot countries. Total known about 1200 species of scorpions. Among them are the largest arachnids, such as the Guinean imperial scorpion, reaching a length of 180 mm, and relatively small - only 13 mm long.

Scorpios - the oldest unit among terrestrial arthropods. The ancestors of scorpions are Paleozoic scorpiones (euripterides). On the example of scorpions, an evolutionary transition from aquatic habitat to terrestrial life is well traced. The eurypterids from the Silurian, which lived in water and had gills, had much in common with scorpions. Land forms close to modern scorpions have been known since the Carboniferous period.

The entire body of a scorpion is covered with chitinous shell, representing the product of the selection of the underlying hypodermic layer. Distinguish the cephalothorax, covering the cephalothorax from the dorsal side, then in the preabdomain region, respectively, the number of segments 7 of the dorsal and abdominal plates, interconnected by a soft membrane, and, finally, in the postadomain region 5 closed dense chitinous rings connected by a thin peel.

Scorpions are found exclusively in the hot belt and in the warmer areas of the temperate zone - in southern Europe (Spain, Italy), in the Crimea, in the Caucasus, in Central Asia, in North and South America, and in the Middle East. During the day, they hide under stones, in the crevices of rocks, etc., and only at night go beyond the prey. They run fast, bending the posterior belly (postabdomen) up and forward. Scorpions feed on insects and arachnids and seize prey with claws, while they lift it up above the cephalothorax and kill with a needle (sting) prick placed on the posterior end of the posterior abdomen.

Oryx or Oryx

Oryx or the oryx is a mammal from the detachment of the Artiodactyls, the family of the bovid. Height at withers is about 120 cm, long and sharp horns reach 85–150 cm. On average, weights weigh 240 kg.

Interesting features of the Oryx:

  • Orixes differ black and white color of the muzzle, which resembles a mask.
  • Oriksy reach speeds of up to 70 km / h.
  • Oryxes get up and follow the herd a few hours after birth.
  • Males fight for females. There is a certain ritual: the males stand shoulder to shoulder, after which they begin to "fence" with the help of horns. The winner is the one who lowers the opponent to his knees, or lasts longer if the opponent exhales. In this case, the Oryxes observe the rules of battle and never strike each other at the body, avoiding serious injuries.
  • Oryx is depicted on the coat of arms of Namibia.

Giant blind

A representative of the family of mole rats weighs almost a kilo, and is 35 centimeters in length. Hence the name. The animal is blind because it leads a life like a mole. The inhabitant of the desert also digs the tunnels in the ground. To do this, the beast is equipped with powerful claws and large teeth sticking out of its mouth. But the ears and eyes have no mole rat. Because of this, the appearance of the animal is daunting.

Blind - desert animalswhich can meet residents of the Caucasus and Kazakhstan. Sometimes animals are found in the steppe areas. However, living underground, blindfolded rarely appear above it. If this happens, the animals burrow back at lightning speed. Therefore, the habits of thugs are poorly understood even by zoologists.

These cute animals are found in great abundance in the territories of Asia and Africa, but some species are also found in southern Europe. The centers of maximum diversity of the jerboos family are the semi-deserts of western Mongolia and the deserts of Central Asia. In the same area, there are sometimes up to 6 different species.

These animals resemble miniature kangaroos in their appearance. They clearly show the same disproportionality of the body: the back of the torso is stronger, more massive, and the hind limbs are three times longer than the front. The length of the jerboa's body, depending on the species, varies from 5 to 26 cm.

The tail of such a cute animal is usually long and divided into two tassels. This part of the body is of particular importance for the life of the animal. His role is invaluable, because it is a reliable “stool” when he sits, and a “pusher”, when he pushes off the surface, and a steering wheel that maintains balance. Plus, it is also a means of communication.

The tail of the jerboa signals to the tribesmen that they are near. In addition, the same irreplaceable tail can fool enemies (the jerboa jumps to the left, and the tail moves to the right, and the predator does not see the tricks and runs in the wrong direction).

The jerboa's eyes are huge, since it requires a nocturnal lifestyle. The ears are straight, medium-sized, spoon-shaped, and from one-third to the size of the animal’s head itself (they sometimes grow into a “tubule”). Such an impressive hearing aid also demonstrates a great development of the ability to hear everything at long distances, which contributes to the successful production of food.

An active and indefatigable jerboa prefers to lead a sedentary lifestyle and not to leave his cozy mink for long distances. However, long movements in the surrounding area are quite possible. Often, these rodents choose for life the territories that are in close proximity to human habitation. Here the chances of good food are much greater. At a distance from people, the favorite natural food of the jerboas are various plants and their roots, insects, seeds, ovaries, etc. Favorite delicacies are bulbs and tubers. Do not shun these animals and try other people's eggs, and the chicks themselves. And pumpkins and watermelons - in general, the limit of their dreams!


The body of the armadillo is protected by solid bone shell. Growing together with the body, the fixed bone cover replaces the skin. The exception is three to six mobile belts that run in the middle of the back. Moving belts facilitate the movement of the animal. And one of the species of these individuals may even curl up. The abundance of teeth is another feature of armadillos. There are about a hundred of them. Like other half-toothed teeth, the five-fingered legs of this creature are armed with strong claws for digging the earth.

The main habitat of the armadillo is South America and northern Mexico. These animals are kept in the fields and sandy plains, near the forest edges, but they do not penetrate deep into the forests. Battleship - a lonely animal. He meets with females only during the breeding season.

Absolutely all types of armadillos hide in holes. These mammals dig their burrows mainly at the base of termites and anthills. This is understandable, because the main food of armadillos is termites, as well as ants and their larvae. Like many forest animals, armadillos eat slugs and worms; they do not disdain carrion. There are species that eat plant food.

The largest is the giant battleship - the animal weighs up to 50 kg, and its body length is more than a meter. The body is covered with bone shields with bristles sticking up between them. The legs are armed with strong claws intended for digging the earth. His habitat - Guiana and Brazil, less Paraguay. The natives say that this animal eats carrion, and also tears tombs and devours human corpses. But there is no scientific evidence for this. Only the larvae of beetles, spiders, worms, and caterpillars were found in the stomachs of armadillos. The musky smell of a giant armadillo is so strong that the Indians refused to eat it.

For a long time puma was attributed to the feline family, however, the animal is one of a kind. At first glance, the puma largely looks like a cat, but many features distinguish it from representatives of this large family. This statement applies to longer bodies and tails, reaching an aggregate of 1.5 to 2.8 meters, strong powerful legs, a relatively small head and the absence of a pronounced pattern on the hair. Puma fur is very thick and short, painted in colors of sand shades. Only on the belly the coat has a lighter color, and the ears are black. This predator weighs from 50 to 100 kg. It is worth noting that females are a third smaller than males, and pumas living in the north are much larger than individuals living in southern regions.

These inhabitants of the New World feed mainly on deer and mountain sheep, but they do not refuse wild peccary pigs, but also squirrels and rabbits. Pumas hunt for everything that moves, and eagerly eats everything. The exception is the foul-smelling skunks that these predators do not eat because of their unattractive smell. Cougars hide food in reserve if they cannot consume everything at once.

Like all cats, in the mating period, silent cougars make heart-rending screams. The female brings into the world 2 or 4 spotted cubs, the color of which varies by the year. Kids stay with their mother up to 2 years, after which they go to conquer their own space. These American cats live up to 20 years.

Because cougars are solitary, they avoid people. However, with careless human behavior and its invasion of the animal’s territory, this predator may be attacked with all the ensuing consequences.

Griffin - bird of prey, but this is not entirely accurate. The griffon rarely attacks animals, preferring carrion. Only sometimes, during the agonizing famine, the vulture dares to attack living animals, but even in this case it selects the weakest or the sickest. Most readily the griffons eat the carcasses of mammals, but do not neglect the corpses of birds, fish and reptiles. In India, they eat the bodies of people abandoned in the Ganges after death.

These birds inhabit almost the entire globe, except for Antarctica and Australia. Vultures prefer a warm climate, which is why they are most in Africa.

Vultures do not look very attractive. They have long, completely naked necks, a huge hook-shaped beak and a large goiter. The wings of the vultures are large and wide, rounded at the edges, the tail is rigid, stepped, and the legs are strong, but with weak fingers, equipped with short, blunt claws.

Vultures are rather agile and mobile birds. They walk easily, in short, quick steps, they fly well, but slowly, but they are able to climb huge heights. They are also not deprived of vision and see prey from a great height. The only thing that the vulture lacks is ingenuity. Some bluntness rewarded vultures with a large set of negative qualities. These birds are timid, imprudent, very quick-tempered and irritable. Among other things, they are arrogant, but cowardly. To top it off, the vulture is famous for being the most ferocious of all birds of prey.

Vultures they make their nests when spring comes. Most species choose either impregnable cliffs or dense forests for this. The nest is a solid structure, similar to the nests of other birds of prey. The laying consists of one, two eggs. Nestlings are born completely helpless and only a few months later they become capable of independent living.

The family of griffons is very diverse, it includes a gray vulture, eared, bald and brown vultures, as well as the American and the most noble of the entire scavenger family - ridge bar. A special genus consists of vultures. They are distinguished by their elongated weak beak, powerful legs and long goose neck.

The meerkat is the smallest member of the mongoose family. The total length of their body, covered with grayish-brown fur, is only 50-60 cm, half of which fall on a strong tail. Female representatives are somewhat larger than males, but they rarely reach a weight of 1 kilogram. Forepaws of meerkats are much more developed than in other members of the family. They serve both for food extraction, and for digging holes, where animals live. The developed third eyelid reliably protects the animal's eyes from hitting the sand, and long vibrissae help orient themselves in the dark corridors of the dwelling.

The area of ​​distribution of meerkats is the desert regions of South Africa. Animals are afraid of thickets and forests, preferring to settle either in open sandy terrain or in mountainous areas. Depending on this, they either dig entire cities under the ground, or build a dwelling in natural caves.

Usually, meerkats live in families with an average of 30 individuals. At the head of each family is the dominant female. She directs literally everything, and only she has the right to reproduce offspring. If any other female brings cubs, she can be expelled from the clan, which is equivalent to death. Among the male population in the families of meerkats skirmishes occur, as a result of which the dominant male is determined, and only he has the opportunity to mate with the dominant female.

The offspring of animals can bring up to four times a year, but most often it occurs during the rainy period, which lasts from October to March. Pregnancy lasts 70-75 days, after which from two to five cubs are born (a little meerkat is beautiful in general, see for yourself the video below). Each family has its own group smell, by which the animals recognize each other. On the territory of the clan, which can extend up to three kilometers, there are several holes, which are used alternately and are marked with the help of special glands. Meerkats are distinguished by strong cohesion, they literally do everything together. This applies to food, rest, care for the cubs and protection of the territory.

Guanaco is a hoofed mammal of the camelid family, a genus of llamas. This animal is the ancestor of the domesticated lama. The first description of guanaco was given by Cies de Leon in his book The Chronicle of Peru in 1553. In Quechua, the animal is called “wanaku”, from which its name “guanaco” is derived.

Guanacos have a slim, light build, proportions similar to an antelope or deer, only the neck is more elongated. The long neck for an animal is a balancer when running and walking.

Head compressed laterally, also long. Upper lip covered with hairs. It protrudes forward, deeply divided, very mobile. Eyes large, long eyelashes. Ears large, sticking out, pointed.

Shaggy skin has a yellowish or reddish-brown hue, ashy gray on the neck and head, whitish in the middle of the chest, behind, below and on the inside of the legs, blackish on the back and forehead.

Guanaco habitats are semi-deserts, pampas and highlands of the Andes from southern Peru to Tierra del Fuego, through Argentina and Chile. Also a small population of these animals was chosen by western Paraguay. Guanaco come high in the mountains - up to 4 thousand meters above sea level.

The speed that can develop guanaco, reaches 56 km / h. Animals live in open areas, so jogging is very important for them, it helps them to survive. Guanacos are herbivores that can go without water for a long time. Their natural enemies are pumas, maned wolves and dogs.

Domesticated animals are used as pack stock on the plains of Patagonia and Pampa, in the mountains of Bolivia, Peru and Chile, on islands near Cape Horn. In the wild, guanacos are still found in hard-to-reach highlands, but the numbers of these animals have decreased significantly.

Round Eared Head

Among the powerful sand dunes, covered with only individual bushes, lives a large eared roundhead. In the hot hours of the day, an eared roundhead runs along the sand, raising its body high on its widely spaced legs. At this time, it resembles a small dog. Such a posture protects the abdomen of a lizard from burning on hot sand. Having noticed a dangerous enemy, the long-eared round-headed runs across to the other side of the dune and immediately buries itself in the sand with the help of lateral movements of the body. But at the same time she often leaves her head on the surface in order to be aware of further events.

If the enemy is too close, the lizard moves to active defense. First of all, she energetically twists and spins her tail, painted - from the bottom in a velvety black color. Then, turning to the enemy, opens his mouth wide, "ears" - skin folds in the corners of the mouth - straighten and fill with blood. It turns out sham "mouth" three times wider than the real mouth. With such a frightening look, the lizard makes lunges in the direction of the enemy, and at a decisive moment, and seizes him with sharp teeth.

The scarab beetle belongs to the class of insects, the order of beetles of the platyla family, one of the signs of which is the special shape of the antennae, which is characterized by a plate-shaped pin, capable of opening in the form of a fan.

Currently, scientists have found more than a hundred representatives of this genus living in arid areas with sandy soils: deserts, semi-deserts, dry steppes, savannas. Most are found only in tropical Africa: in the Palaearctic (a region that covers Europe, Asia north of the Himalayas, and North Africa to the southern border of the Sahara) there are about twenty species, whereas in the Western Hemisphere and Australia they are completely absent. The length of scarab beetles ranges from 9.5 to 41 mm. Most of them are black, very rarely an insect of silver-metallic tone. По мере взросления жук приобретает блестящий отлив. Самца от самки отличить можно благодаря его задним лапкам, с внутренней стороны покрытые рыжевато-золотистой бахромой.

Переднеспинка у насекомого простая, сильно поперечная, зернистой структуры, мелко зазубренная на основании и с боков. Надкрылья с шестью бороздками, в два раза длиннее переднеспинки, основание без каймы, характерна зернистая структура. На основании задний отдел брюшка имеет кайму. На брюшке и лапках (всего у него три пары ножек) – длинные тёмные волоски.

In middle latitudes, the scarab beetle appears in the middle of spring and as long as it is cold at night and is active during the day. In the summer, when it is much warmer at night, it switches to nightlife. The insect was nicknamed a sanitation worker of the sandy soil (one might even say, a kind of waste disposal specialist): almost all his life is concentrated around the main source of food - manure.


Vultures are birds of prey specializing in carrion feeding. There are only two species of these birds in the world - the common and brown vultures, both of which are separated into independent genera in the family of griffons. Such isolation is explained by the atypical structure of these birds.

The first thing that catches your eye when looking at vultures is their small size. Both species in length do not exceed 60 cm, and weigh 1.5-2.1 kg. Thus, among other vultures, vultures are the smallest. To match their overall constitution and their beak - thin, weak, with a long hook at the end, it looks more like tweezers than a tool for crushing skulls. As for the plumage, in the brown vulture it grows on the body in the same way as in the other vultures, that is, the head and the neck remain uncarpated.

The brown vulture lives in Central and South Africa, with its counterpart the area covers the whole of Africa, as well as the Mediterranean coast of Europe, the Caucasus, India, some individuals are noted in the Crimea. Birds from European populations fly to winter in Africa for the winter. Although the vultures live in pairs, they can be called social birds. They easily form flocks, not only near the prey, but also on vacation. For communication, they use a variety of sounds: meowing and croaking (in flight and in a quiet state), hissing and even a growl (when angry or protected).

With their weak beaks, vultures are not able to tear off the thick skin of ungulates, it does not promise them lunch and the help of larger relatives, if after the meal of large vultures vultures remain and some pieces remain, then only the most insignificant ones. Therefore, both species of these birds specialize in eating the corpses of small birds, rodents, rabbits, lizards, snakes, frogs, rotten fish, insects - in a word, everything that is not able to interest the powerful vultures.

Skink gecko

Some lizards in the deserts have adapted to the nocturnal lifestyle. These are various geckos. One of the most remarkable representatives of nocturnal lizards is the scink gecko inhabiting the deserts of Central Asia. He has a large head with huge eyes that have a slit-shaped pupil and are covered with a transparent leathery film. Getting out in the evening from its mink, the gecko first of all licks both eyes with a wide spatulate tongue. This he removes dust and grains of sand that have settled on the leathery film of the eye. The skin of the skink gecko is delicate and translucent. If you grab it, skin patches easily get off the lizard body. An even smaller, elegant and fragile gecko is comb-fingered. Its body is so transparent that the bones of the skeleton and the contents of the stomach of a lizard are visible to the light. Our geckos have scallops of scales on their legs, making them easier to move on the sand. But the webbed gecko from the sandy Namib desert in South Africa has an even more unique adaptation. He has membranes between his toes, but not for swimming, but for walking on the sand.

Desert Crow

The desert rat is a species of raven birds. The sizes are smaller than that of the common crow: the body length is 52-56 cm, the average wing length of males is 411, females 310 mm. The average weight is 580 g. Young birds are brownish-black without a brown tint. Adult birds are black with a steel shade and differ sharply from the common crow with a chocolate-brown tint to the head, neck, back and goiter. Beak and legs are black.

In a typical desert, the raven is essentially the only black bird, since the black crow and the rook (outside settlements) are practically absent here. Even in the deepest places of the desert, the raven is distinguished by caution in behavior, does not admit it close to itself, and well “learns” the gun. In the nesting time is little noticeable and relatively rarely catches the eye. The voice, like that of an ordinary crow, is “crook, crook, crook ...”, in addition, a croaking cry, similar to the croak of a black and gray crow, issued by it during an attack. The raven does not run, only walks, rolling over from one side to the other, walks slowly and rather heavily. Rarely makes small jumps. During normal movements, the flight of the crow is smooth and smooth, while the wings are airborne, the flight is somewhat accelerated, a beautiful sight is well-known - the rapid fall of the crow by a spiral from a great height. On the hunt, the flight is very sluggish.

An ordinary bird, but not numerous. In Karakum, the number of crows, in general, increases from west to east, which finds its probable explanation in the peculiarities of the landscape and, in particular, in the relatively large development of saxauls in the eastern Karakum. The desert crow does not form large clusters in Turkmenistan even in the cold season. There are not observed those huge hundreds of packs, which are mentioned by researchers in North Africa.

Apparently, in Kyzylkum, migratory bird migrating to the south in autumn. In the Karakum desert is definitely found all year round. In the cold season, however, most ravens from the northern parts of this desert move to its more southern regions.

Addax, or antelope mendes

Antelope addax or, as it is otherwise called, Mendes is a mammal of the family of bovids. The name of the species comes from the combination of the words "nasus", which means "nose", and "macula", which translates as "spot", i.e. "Stained nose".

Summer color addaksov sandy-white, in winter - grayish-brown. On the abdomen, ears and limbs, you can see white spots, and on the nose - white X-shaped spot. Thin horns are directed back and twisted in 1,5-3 turns. In females, horns reach 80 cm in length, in males - about 109 cm.

Like the saber-legged antelope, the addax is a resident of the North African deserts, and the ancient Egyptians also kept him in captivity. But over the past century, the habitat of addax has greatly decreased. At the end of the XIX century. he completely disappeared from Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Senegal. By 1900, there was no addax in Egypt, and now it has been preserved only in the central and southern parts of the Sahara.

Addax is a great example of high specialization for living in extremely dry conditions. In small groups (only rarely in 10–15 animals), headed by an old male, addaks constantly wander in search of pastures, satisfying hunger with scarce desert vegetation. For weeks and months he can do without watering. Herbivores produce water that is necessary for life from absorbed plants. The greatest activity among the addaks is observed in the evening, at night and in the morning, since this is the coldest time of the day in the desert. In the daytime, they hide in deep pits that are pulled out in the sand by their hooves. Usually, this place is in the shadow of a large stone or rock.

Sand boa

This small snake lives in the south of Russia in Central Asia and in Eastern Ciscaucasia. They live mainly in sand, sometimes found in clay soils. Body length 40 - 80cm. The muscular body is slightly flattened, the small head is slightly flattened. He has small eyes, located on the elevation of the top of the head, directed upwards. The iris is yellow-amber color, the pupil is black. There are sharp small teeth in the mouth, which unpleasantly bite, but do not contain poison. The color of the snake is camouflage - yellow-brown with a pattern in the form of small specks or small spots and stripes of brown.

Shelter among the sands is not so easy to find, and the inhabitants of the desert adapt to life as they can. During the day it is very hot under the scorching sun, therefore, the sandy stranger buries itself in the sand for this time. He can say "floats" there at a shallow depth, moving quickly. Feels comfortable with it. You can see, and then, just looking closely, his bulging eyes and nostrils. This is him on the hunt. In summer, the snake is active at dusk and at night, and in spring and autumn it tracks down prey even during the day.

It feeds on rodents (gerbils, hamsters, jerboas), lizards (geckos, round heads), birds (sparrows, wagtails). He pounces on the victim suddenly and lightning-fast, grabs her with strong jaws, and then begins to choke, wrapping rings in the prey. The sand boa is waiting, hunting in ambush, and can “come to visit” himself, examining the homes of animals in the sand that are on his territory. Leads a single life. He has many enemies, although he leads such a secretive way of life - monitor lizards, hedgehogs, kites. Hibernates late October.

One of the most common desert animals - turtles. The period of activity in the Central Asian steppe turtles is very short - only 2-3 months per year. Coming out of the wintering holes in early spring, the turtles immediately start breeding, and in May-June the females lay eggs in the sand. At the end of June, almost no turtles will be found on the surface of the earth - they all burrowed deep into the soil and hibernated until the next spring. Young turtles, appearing from eggs in autumn, remain to winter in the sand and come to the surface only in spring. Central Asian turtles feed on all sorts of green vegetation. In the deserts of Africa, various species of land turtles live - the closest relatives of our Central Asian tortoise.

Efa is a small snake, usually 50–60 cm in length, occasionally reaches the size of 70–80 cm. Males are on average slightly larger than females. The eyes of the efs are large and high, so that any part of the head forms a noticeable deflection. The head is covered with small ribbed scales, on the scales of the body there are also sharp ribs. On the sides of the body are 4-5 rows of smaller and narrower scales, directed obliquely downwards and equipped with notched ribs. These scales serve as a "musical instrument", emitting a kind of dry hiss, described above in the horned viper. The overall physique of the epha is dense, but slender, which is associated with its great mobility and speed, in which it differs from most vipers.

The color of the body is diverse and changeable over a wide area, but the typical body color is grayish-sandy, and two light zigzag stripes along the sides, edged from the bottom with an unsharp dark stripe. From above, along the body, there is a row of light transversely elongated spots strictly aligned with the zigzags of the side stripes. A bright cruciform pattern stands out on the head, very much like the silhouette of a flying bird. This picture underlines the swiftness of the lightning-fast shots of a snake.

The habitats of the ephah are very diverse - hilly sands covered with saxaul, loess and even clay deserts, dry savanna woodlands, river precipices and terraces, the ruins of ancient settlements.

This is a desert cat. Easily kills antelope. To do this, the predator can not only powerful grip and agility, but also the size. The length of the caracal reaches 85 centimeters. The height of the animal is half a meter. The color of the beast is sandy, the wool is short and soft. On ears there are brushes from a long awn. It makes caracal look like a lynx. Desert lynx loner, active at night. With the onset of darkness, the predator hunts medium-sized mammals, birds, and reptiles.

Smoke phalanges

The phalanges with their appearance resemble spiders, the reason for this is the specific shape of the extremities (phalanges are arthropods) and their location on the body of this large (individual specimens reach 5-7 cm) of the animal, as well as the presence of cheller - mouth appendages that look like claws or podkleshen, like spiders. However, the phalanges, or, as they are sometimes called, solpugs, are not, although they are part of the arachnid class.

Phalanges are nocturnal predatory animals. Their diet consists mainly of small bugs and termites, although there have also been facts about the attack of phalanges on lizards, which makes it possible to consider them omnivorous.

Interestingly, when attacking a phalanx, it frightens the enemy with a loud sound, which is obtained by touching and rubbing the cheliceur against each other. Due to the specific shape of the body, phalanges are extremely mobile and maneuverable. Some individuals can reach speeds of 16 km / h. This property of theirs determined the origin of one of the species names in English - “wind scorpion” (“Scorpion of the wind”).

Large phalanxes can bite through human skin and this makes phalanx dangerous to humans. The fact is that although the phalanges do not have glands that produce poison, and specific devices for its injection, like their immediate relatives - spiders and scorpions, but fragments of previous victims often remain on their jaws, rotting and therefore very toxic. If it is bitten into an open wound, the substance formed as a result of decomposition can cause both local inflammation and general blood infection. The bite of the phalanx itself, even without consequences, is an unpleasant and painful thing.

Spiky lizard with a spiny tail. Spiketails are champions of endurance among lizards. Their habitats are the hottest deserts of Asia and North Africa, and they can withstand ambient temperatures of up to 60 ° C. Spiketails are rather large, the body length of some individuals reaches 75 centimeters. They received their name for the special structure of prickly scales on the tail. Young spiketails have teeth, but with age they fall out, and then the lizard's mouth becomes like a turtle. In a similar way, they eat, eating only herbaceous plants. The local population eat the spiketail in food, pulling this lizard from the hole by the tail.

What is desert and semi-desert?

Before we talk about what desert and semi-desert animals live on our planet, it’s worth talking about their habitats. What is the desert? What features is it characterized by?

Desert is a place with a harsh climate and virtually absent flora and fauna. There are several varieties of it:

Each of them has its own characteristics, depending on which the animals that live in them are also different. But, most importantly, in all varieties of the desert - a small amount of precipitation. As a rule, they do not reach 200 mm per year. And most of them (up to 50%) fall in the spring. But it is not uncommon that there is no rain at all for several years.

If we talk about temperature parameters, they can be different. Everything will depend on the location of the desert. If the largest “wasteland” - the Sahara, is famous for its high temperatures (of course, only during the daytime), then others, for example, the famous Gobi, are famous for winter frosts (up to -50 degrees). Generally speaking, in the summer in any desert is very hot in the daytime, and at night the temperature can fall below zero. In winter, much colder, but not everywhere. Everything will depend on the distance of the desert from the ocean coast. The farther, the colder.

Russia does not possess real deserts. But there are semi-deserts in the country. Here the climate is slightly milder, and the flora and fauna is richer. Temperature drop here is not so significant. And precipitation falls three to four times more than in the desert.

Features of the animal world of the desert and semi-desert

The fauna that inhabits the desert and semi-desert has some peculiarities. They are associated with the specifics of the habitat.

  1. Large herbivores run fast. The desert is characterized by poor plant life, to have enough food you need to run a lot. Besides there is no place to hide, which means salvation from predators only in fast running. The same goes for birds. They are able to fly long distances in a day.
  2. Smaller animals, to escape from predators, learned to jump. The jerboas and hares, fleeing foxes, jump and confuse their tracks.
  3. Since many small mammals and lizards live in burrows, they have acquired various devices for digging (combs and brushes on their paws).
  4. Due to the lack of large vegetation, many birds make their nests in abandoned burrows.

All these features create a special fauna of the desert and semi-desert. But, in addition to specific inhabitants, representatives of adjacent climatic zones also live here. For example, in semi-deserts one can often meet a steppe wolf or a fox.

Fauna of the Russian deserts and semi-deserts

Russia, as mentioned earlier, does not have real deserts. There are several places covered with sand (Tsimlyansky and Archedinsko-Don sands), but their territory is rather smalltherefore, the natural world there is the same as in the neighboring steppe zone.

But Russia has some semi-desert areas located in the southern regions (Orenburg, Rostov, Volgograd regions). Here is the real semi-desert and the animal world corresponds to it.

Here live representatives:

  • mammals: sandstone hare, eared hedgehog, gopher, jerboa, corsac,
  • feathered: sparrow, bullfinch, bustard, partridge, Slavka, lark, jay,
  • reptiles: monitor lizards, various lizards, numerous snakes, steppe turtles,
  • insects: spiders, beetles, locust (a real disaster for agriculture).

Most animals, especially in the summer, are nocturnal. This is due to high temperatures. Whole they spend the day in holes и только в сумерках выходят на добычу пропитания.

Но есть и такие, которые бодрствуют днем. Так, например, настоящим стражем полупустыни можно назвать сусликов. Это типичные для России обитатели таких регионов. Они живут большими группами, несколько представителей которых постоянно находятся на страже.

Хищники представлены корсарами. Это небольшое (длина тела до 60 см) животное из семейства псовых. The corsair lives in holes, but he rarely digs them himself. Mostly uses abandoned dwellings. In addition to the corsair you can often meet wolves and foxes, but they come here from the steppes adjacent to the semi-desert.

The largest representative of the inhabitants of the semi-desert is a camel. In our country, he lives in the Kalmyk and Orenburg steppes. This large animal can go without water for many weeks.

But still, due to the lack of food, most of the representatives of the fauna of such regions are small. All sorts of representatives of rodents and lizards, small birds and small predators - these are the main inhabitants of such arid areas.