What Animals Live in the Sahara Desert?

animals-live-sahara-desert Credit: Jon Rawlinson/CC-BY 2.0

The Sahara Desert is home to approximately 70 species of mammals, 90 species of birds, 100 species of reptiles and several different arthropods, such as scorpions and spiders. The dromedary camel is easily the most popular animal resident of the Sahara. Introduced to the desert around 200 A.D., the dromedary camel is well-adapted to the harsh Saharan climate, having the ability to last for weeks without any food or water.

Apart from the dromedary camel, other mammals that live in the Sahara include the fennec fox, the Barbary sheep, the baboon, the spotted hyena and the addax, which is a large antelope that can survive for a full year without drinking water. Among the Saharan bird species are the ostrich, African silverbill and Nubian bustards. The desert is also home to reptiles such as the cobra, chameleon, sand vipers and crocodiles in areas where there is an ample supply of water. The dangerous death stalker scorpion is among the several arthropods that are endemic to the desert.

The Sahara is the world's largest hot desert and the third largest desert next to Antarctica and the Arctic. It has a land area of approximately 3.6 million square miles, which is about the size of the entire United States. Covering much of Northern Africa, it occupies a portion of 12 African countries, which include Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Chad and Niger.