These are the 5 Weirdest Animals in the Desert

INDONEWTRAVEL.COM - The desert is not an easy place to become a habitat because the environment is very extreme, hot during the day and very cold at night. Even so, the barren desert turns out to be inhabited by an amazing variety of animals.

The creatures that call the desert home have adaptations to help them survive and thrive in extreme conditions.

Many of these creatures do not need to drink and have skin or scales that allow them to store the little water they need. Some have evolved to move around and are active only at night to escape the hot sun.

Here are 5 of the strangest animals found in deserts around the world:

1. Fennec Fox

Desert animals are not much cuter than the fennec fox (Vulpes zerda). These tiny canids are smaller than domestic cats, measuring 35.6 to 40.6 centimeters in length, excluding the tail.

This fox has very large ears that can grow to an length of about 10.2 cm to 15.2 cm. These ears help the fox release heat and listen for prey under the sand.

When foxes catch the sound of mice, insects, or other small animals they are hunting, they use all four claws to dig their prey in the sand.

Fennec foxes are well adapted to life in the deserts of Africa and Arabia. Their pale fur camouflages them in the sand; it also grows on the underside of their feet to give them traction when running in the sand and protect their feet from the hot desert surface.

As temperatures rise, foxes can pant up to 690 times per minute to cool off. Fennec foxes also dig burrows to shelter from the heat during the day.

2. Hairy Armadillo

This hairy armadillo is one of the unique animals that can make a scream when its condition is threatened. This scream is terrible and is similar to the sound of a newborn baby crying.

Research published in 2019 suggests that these screams are designed to startle predators. This scream is also to distract predators so the armadillo can escape.

The tiny screaming furry armadillo weighs only 0.86 kilograms. They live in the Monte desert in Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, preferring places with loose sandy soil where they can dig burrows, according to the Smithsonian's National Zoo.

Armadillos rarely drink because their kidneys are very efficient, and they get most of the water they need from the plants they eat. They also eat insects and other small animals such as lizards and mice for added protein.

3. Hairy Scorpion

Among the many scorpion species that call the desert home, the desert hairy scorpion (Hadrurus arizonensis) stands out the most. This scorpion can measure between 10.2 to 17.8 cm. According to the Utah Hogle Zoo, this size makes it the largest scorpion in North America.

This scorpion is olive green in color which glows under ultraviolet (UV) light. No one knows exactly why scorpions can glow. Possibly UV light helps them hunt at night.

The desert hairy scorpion is found in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of North America, as well as in Nevada and Utah. When they want to mate, male and female desert scorpions lock each other like a wrestling match. In fact, if the male doesn't flee immediately after mating, he may become his mate's food.

Females carry their young for six to 12 months, giving birth to up to 35 cubs that cradle their mother's carapace until they are old enough to hunt on their own.

Fortunately for humans, desert hairy scorpions prefer to flee rather than sting, and their venom is relatively weak. For most people, the sting is similar to a bee sting.

4. Long Eared Bat

Once dubbed "the loudest bat in the world", the desert long-eared bat (Otonycteris hemprichii) is found in North Africa and the Middle East.

These long-eared bats hunt scorpions by dropping them from a height before eating them. These bats are also immune to scorpion venom.

Israel's Ben-Gurion University researchers also found that these long-eared bats can change the settings on their sonar, using one type of echolocation to search for land-dwelling prey such as scorpions and others.

5. Thorny Lizard

No list of strange desert animals would be complete without this spiny lizard. This spiny lizard is only found in Australia. They grow to a length of 21 cm. From nose to tail all are covered with sharp spines which serve as a defense against predators.

The spiny lizard also has two heads, one of which is a false head in the form of a protrusion above its neck. When threatened, the spiny lizard will lower its real head, presenting the fake head as bait.

Spiny lizards also have a jerky gait that can confuse predators. Although it looks scary, this lizard only preys on ants.

These desert dwellers "drink" through their skin, collecting dew and moisture from the sand with tiny channels between their scales.

These straw-like channels, which direct the precious droplets into the lizard's mouth, are just one example of the creative hydration mechanisms that keep animals alive in the driest places on Earth.

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