When you think of a desert, what do you imagine? Perhaps you imagine the saguaros of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Maybe you think of the camels and sand dunes found in the Sahara Desert in Africa. Both of these images are correct, but did you know that deserts can also be cold?
A desert is any place that gets less than 10 inches of moisture each year. Most deserts actually lose more moisture than they gain. Some deserts are really hot! The Sahara Desert can reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit. The Gobi desert in Asia is very cold. So is the desert in Antarctica. Both these places are deserts because they are very dry.
Deserts probably don’t seem like very fun places to live. Most deserts seem bare and desolate. But, over 1 billion people live in desert areas. Life is challenging in the desert. Both people and animals must adapt. Crops don’t grow well and water is scarce.
Fun Facts about Deserts for Kids
- Many animals that live in the desert are nocturnal. They hide out in burrows during the day and come out at night when it’s cooler.
- Deserts cover over 20.9 million square miles of the planet.
- Lots of plants and animals live in the desert. In fact, only rain forests have more kinds of life. Over 200 rattlesnakes can live in one square mile of the Sonoran desert.
- Desert plants have padded leaves that store water during drought.
- Saguaro: large cactus with limbs that look like arms
- Desolate: empty, bleak
- Scarce: in short supply
- Nocturnal: an animal that sleeps during the day and wakes at night
- Burrow: hole in the ground
Learn More All About Deserts of the World
Check out this fun video all about deserts:
A video documentary about deserts and semi deserts.
Question: What is an oasis?
Answer: An oasis is a wet area in the desert where there is a river or pond. Both animals and people gather at these places.
Question: Do hot deserts ever get cold?
Answer: The Sonoran desert can be very hot during the day and very cold at night. The temperature can drop up to 59 degrees from day to night.