Due to the scarcity of water and extreme climatic conditions (hot, dry, windy) prevailing in the desert, it is very difficult for animals and plants to survive. They have to adapt themselves to the desert conditions so that they can live. Let us see what types of vegetation and animals are found there and how they survive. The vegetation of a desert mainly consists of thorny shrubs, cacti and palm (especially date) trees. Cacti, prickly pear, saguaro, century plant, etc., have adapted themselves to live in desert conditions. These plants have ways to store water in their fleshy stems. The leaves have squeezed themselves into tiny thorns to reduce the loss of water. The roots go deep into the ground and are widespread to collect every drop of water available in the soil. The stem stores the water and slowly gets thinner as the water gets used up. In some cacti, the thorns point towards the earth. The dewdrops deposited on the tips of these thorns fall to the earth and get absorbed by it. In this manner, a cactus plant manages to create moisture on the ground around it. Most desert animals sleep during the day to escape the high temperatures and come out at night in search of food. Some animals sleep during the hottest part of the year. There are very few animals found in deserts such as snails, pack rat, jerboa, etc. These have adapted themselves to the desert conditions. Animals such as the kangaroo rat and gerbil can survive with little or no water. Reptiles adjust their body temperatures to cope with heat and cold. The Australian desert toad stores water in its body. Some species of lizards, ants, owls and snakes also live in deserts and adjust to desert conditions.
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