What is some basic information on deserts?


Quick Answer

Deserts are dry and arid areas that exist near the equator and are very hot, although there are also deserts areas that are very cold, such as in Antarctica. These areas all have one thing in common, they are extremely dry, getting very little rain yearly. Deserts are also very varied in their appearance because they are not all covered with sand dunes or snow.

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Full Answer

Desert areas are often full of mountains, canyons and valleys instead of the images typically seen in movies and photos. In spite of their dry condition and extreme temperatures, deserts support a large variety of plants and wildlife. This diverse type of biome takes up almost a quarter of the worlds land surface.

Because the average desert only gets a maximum of 10 inches of rain per year, the plants and animals that live there have had to adapt to small amounts of water. Some plants store water deep under the ground or in their stems to use later or as they need it. These same plants are sometimes fed on and used as water sources by animals in the desert. Other animals have evolved to be nocturnal or store fluid in the fat of their bodies, much like camels who have adapted to go days without both food and water. These adaptations make the wildlife of a desert very susceptible to changes to the area.

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