Ghost Mine Episode 3

Mystery at Ghost Mine an Ace Detectives Mystery Adventure

How Desert Animals, Birds and Reptiles Keep Cool

Giant Desert Tortoise

Desert animals have either developed ways to cool down, or they keep out of the heat.

  • Many small mammals live in shelters or burrows underground. They come out to search for food at night and store their food in their burrows.
  • Camels have long legs to keep the sand’s heat away from their bodies, and long hair for warmth.
  • The Golden Mole lives just below the surface in sand deserts. It hardly comes out.
  • Fennec Fox has huge ears that lose heat for its body – and furry soles on its feet to help with walking on hot sand
  • Kangaroos lick their forearms to cool themselves down
  • Gerbils stay underground during the day and come out at night
  • Desert tortoises spend over 90 per cent of their time underground in burrows to avoid extreme heat and cold and conserve moisture and food
  • Karlahari ground squirrels have a bushy tail and use it as a sunshade
  • Turkey Vultures urinate on their legs or fly up into cooler air if they get too hot
  • The Sand-diving Lizard holds its feet up in the air to cool down, when the sand is too hot
  • Large mammals find shelter in the shade of a rock or tree. Some of them lose heat through their skin by evaporation
  • Some mammals, like hares, have large ears with lots of blood vessels, which remove heat.
  • The dog and cat families don’t have sweat glands, so they pant to cool down
  • Scorpions can't stand bright light, but can survive freezing cold.

Desert birds have adapted to heat and cold:

  • They can’t sweat, so they pant or flutter to cool down.
  • They use muscles to hold their feathers upright when there is a breeze. This cools their skin and traps a layer of air that insulates them from heat and cold.
  • They find shelter underground in the shade of rocks or bushes.
  • They fly at high altitudes to avoid the heat.

Reptiles can control their body temperature by gaining or losing heat from their surroundings – lying in the sun or moving into cooler, shady places.


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