Table of Contents
In the vast expanse of deserts, where the arid climate presents relentless challenges, a remarkable array of animals have not only managed to survive but have thrived through ingenious adaptations and strategies. This article takes a captivating journey into the world of desert dwellers, revealing their secrets to resilience and resourcefulness in overcoming the harshness of their environment. From burrowing gerbils to crafty darkling beetles, venomous snakes to nimble mongooses, and enduring camels, we unravel the fascinating mechanisms and behaviors that enable these creatures to conquer the desert’s adversities.
Deserts are arid environments with little rainfall, but desert animals have adapted to survive. They employ various strategies to cope with the harsh conditions. For instance, gerbils retreat to cool underground burrows during the hottest part of the day, while darkling beetles capture drops of moisture on their legs to quench their thirst. Deserts can exhibit diverse landscapes, including sandy dunes, rocky terrain, and even blooming flowers during the spring.
Snakes are prevalent in deserts, with some being venomous. The rattlesnake, found in the dry American deserts, possesses a notorious reputation due to its rattling tail and lightning-fast strike. While it prefers to avoid confrontation, it coils and bites when threatened. Mongooses, on the other hand, are social animals known for their ability to kill snakes without harm. They hunt together, communicate with special calls, and remain vigilant for potential predators.
Camels are another desert-dwelling species, domesticated by humans long ago. They have adapted to survive in deserts with their long shaggy coats for insulation and the ability to go for extended periods without drinking water. Camels store fat in their humps, not water, as an energy source during food scarcity. They possess additional adaptations, such as tough mouths to withstand thorns, allowing them to thrive in desert environments.
Overall, desert animals have developed remarkable adaptations to endure the challenging conditions of arid regions, showcasing their resilience and unique survival strategies.
Questions and Answers
Working with text
A. 1. Talk to your partner and say whether the following statements are true or false.
(i) No animal can survive without water.
(ii) Deserts are endless sand dunes.
(iii) Most snakes are harmless.
(iv) Snakes cannot hear, but they can feel vibrations through the ground.
(v) Camels store water in their humps.
While water is essential for most animals, there are some species that have adapted to survive in arid environments with very limited water sources.
Deserts can have various landscapes, including sandy dunes, but they can also be rocky, pebbly, or even have vegetation like small bushes and colorful flowers during certain seasons.
The majority of snakes are harmless and pose no threat to humans or other animals. Only a small number of snake species are venomous and potentially dangerous.
Snakes are deaf in the conventional sense, but they can sense vibrations through the ground, allowing them to perceive movement and potential threats in their surroundings.
Camels do not store water in their humps. Instead, their humps are reservoirs of fat, which serves as an energy source during times of food scarcity. Camels are able to extract moisture from the plants they consume and can survive for extended periods without drinking water.
A. 2. Answer the following questions.
(i) How do desert animals survive without water?
Ans. Desert animals have various adaptations that allow them to survive without water for extended periods. Some desert animals, like gerbils, seek shelter in cool underground burrows during the hottest parts of the day to avoid dehydration. Other animals, such as darkling beetles, have specialized mechanisms to collect and extract moisture from the environment. Additionally, many desert animals have physiological and behavioral adaptations that help them conserve water, such as efficient kidneys, concentrated urine, and reduced sweating.
(ii) How do mongooses kill snakes?
Mongooses have developed remarkable agility and quick reflexes to defend themselves against snakes. When confronted by a striking snake, mongooses can swiftly dodge and evade the snake’s attack. They are incredibly fast and can anticipate the snake’s movements, allowing them to avoid being bitten. Mongooses often harass and provoke snakes until the snakes become fatigued, at which point the mongoose seizes the opportunity to attack and kill the snake.
(iii) How does the hump of the camels help them to survive when there is no water?
The humps of camels serve as fat reservoirs rather than water storage. Camels can convert the stored fat into energy during times of food scarcity, allowing them to survive when there is limited access to food. As the fat is utilized, the humps gradually shrink. The ability to store and use fat as an energy source helps camels endure long periods without food and sustain themselves in harsh desert environments where food resources can be scarce. Camels primarily obtain the water they need from the vegetation they consume, rather than relying on the humps for water storage.
B. Read the words/phrases in the box. With your partner find their meaning in the dictionary.
harsh, conditions, harmless, survive, intruder, threatened, predators, prey, continually
Fill in the blanks in the following passage with the above words/phrases.
All animals in forests and deserts struggle to ——————————— in ———————————————— . Though most of the animals are ———————————, some are dangerous when ———————————. If an ————————————— is noticed, they attack or bite to save themselves. They struggle ——————————— for food and water. Some animals are called ————————————— because they —————————— on other animals.
All animals in forests and deserts struggle to survive in harsh conditions. Though most of the animals are harmless, some are dangerous when threatened. If an intruder is noticed, they attack or bite to save themselves. They struggle continually for food and water. Some animals are called predators because they prey on other animals.
Speaking-based questions and answers
Look at these sentences.
- Deserts are the driest places on Earth.
- Gerbils spend the hottest part of the day in cool underground burrows.
Now form pairs. Ask questions using a suitable form of the word in brackets. Try to answer the questions too.
Do you know
- Which animal is the ___________ (tall)?
- Which animal runs the ___________ (fast)?
- Which place on earth is the ___________ (hot) or the ___________ (cold)?
- Which animal is the ___________ (large)?
- Which is the ————————————— (tall) mountain in the world?
- Which is the ___________ (rainy) place on earth?
- Which is the ____________ (old) living animal?
- Which animal is the _tallest_ (tall)?
The giraffe is the tallest animal.
- Which animal runs the _fastest_ (fast)?
The cheetah is known for its incredible speed.
- Which place on earth is the _hottest_ (hot) or the _coldest_ (cold)?
The hottest place on earth is Death Valley in California, USA, while the coldest place is Antarctica.
- Which animal is the _largest_ (large)?
The blue whale is the largest animal.
- Which is the _tallest_ (tall) mountain in the world?
The blue whale is the largest animal.
- Which is the _rainiest_ (rainy) place on earth?
Mawsynram in Meghalaya, India, is considered the rainiest place on earth.
- Which is the _oldest_ (old) living animal?
The Galapagos giant tortoise is known for its long lifespan, making it one of the oldest living animals.
- scorching: very hot
- gerbils: mouse-like desert rodents with long hind legs
- dunes: heaps of sand formed by the wind
- pebbly: stony
- voles: small plant-eating rodents
- chipmunks: small ground squirrels having light and dark stripes
- predator: an animal naturally preying on others.
- amusing: interesting; enjoyable.
- forage: search for food.
- dodge: move quickly to avoid its enemy
- Deserts: Dry and arid regions with little to no rainfall.
- Driest: Having the least amount of moisture.
- Gerbils: Small burrowing rodents found in arid habitats.
- Hottest: Having the highest temperature.
- Cool: Moderately low in temperature.
- Underground: Beneath the surface of the ground.
- Burrows: Tunnels or holes dug by animals for shelter.
- Struggle: Engage in a difficult or challenging effort.
- Dangerous: Potentially harmful or threatening.
- Attack: Act aggressively to cause harm or injury.
- Bite: To use teeth to grip or injure.
- Save: Protect or rescue from harm.
- Food: Nourishment consumed by living organisms.
- Water: Essential liquid for survival.
- Called: Referred to as or named.
- Prey: Animals hunted and eaten by other animals.
- Forests: Dense areas with trees and vegetation.
- Run: Move swiftly on foot.
- Tall: Of great height.
- Fast: Moving at high speed.
- Place: A specific location or area.
- Hot: Having a high temperature.
- Cold: Having a low temperature.
- Large: Big in size or extent.
- Mountain: Elevated landmass higher than a hill.
- Rainy: Receiving a lot of rainfall.
- Old: Having existed or lived for a long time.
- Living: Existing or alive.
- Animal: Living organism that is not a plant.
- Earth: The planet we inhabit.
- Arid: Dry and lacking moisture.
- Temperature: Degree of hotness or coldness.
- Moisture: Small amount of liquid or dampness.
- Rodents: Group of mammals characterized by gnawing teeth.
- Habitat: Natural environment where an organism lives.
- Effort: Physical or mental exertion.
- Threatening: Expressing a potential danger or harm.
- Injury: Harm or damage to the body.
- Engage: Participate or become involved.
- Grip: Hold tightly.
- Nourishment: Substance needed for growth and health.
- Consumed: Eaten or used up.
- Essential: Absolutely necessary or vital.
- Liquid: Substance that flows freely, like water.
- Referred: Mentioned or directed to.
- Named: Given a specific name.
- Vegetation: Plants collectively.
- Foot: Lower extremity of the leg used for walking.
- Location: Position or site.
- Exist: Have reality or be present.