Desert animals are distinguishable by their physical adaptations to be able to live in a harsh, dry environment. In the desert, water can be scarce and temperatures can reach upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). This is why desert dwellers, such as the Camel and the Jackrabbit, have evolved to be equipped to handle extreme conditions with the Camel having the ability to store and carry large amounts of water and the Jackrabbit with large ears that help cool and deflect heat. Not only can deserts be extremely hot, but their temperatures can also drop at night, as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) due to the lack of cloud cover to maintain heat. The animals living in these desert habitats have evolved to adapt and thrive in one of the most inhospitable, ever-changing habitats on Earth.

How do desert animals survive without water?

Desert animals can survive without water through various physical adaptations. For example, the camel has a hump in which fats are stored and small insects absorb moisture from their surroundings or water droplets from xerophyte plants. Some animals also rest in the colder areas below the desert soil.

Why do desert animals have fur?

Desert animals may have fur to help provide some traction from the ground. Fur also helps the skin of desert animals from the hot sand and ground surfaces. The fur also helps protect them from the sun rays while serving as insulation during cold nights.

What do animals eat in the desert?

Typically, animals in the desert eat plants, insects, and carcasses. It is often easier for smaller animals to find food in the desert and stay satisfied. This is due to the scarcity of food and water as well as extreme climate conditions. Animals usually find food by scavenging around the desert.

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Desert Animals Guides
Browse through our curated Desert Animals Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Desert Animals. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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30”-46” | 76-117 cm
4’7”-6’5” | 1.4-2 m
265-500 lb | 120-250 kg
12-18 years (wild); 18-20 years (captivity)
Asiatic Lion
117.000
200.000
250.000
20.00
7400
3D
Asiatic Lion
7’ | 2.13 m
7.42'-11.5' | 2.25-3.5 m
990-1100 lb | 450-500 kg
20-40 years; 50 (wild)
Bactrian Camel
213.000
350.000
500.000
50.00
12000
3D
Bactrian Camel
Cougar
150000
21”-28” | 53-71 cm
42”-54” | 107-137 cm
65-200 lb | 30-91 kg
10-13 years (wild); Up to 20 years (captivity)
Cougar
71.000
137.000
91.000
20.00
150000
3D
Cougar
21”-24” | 53-61 cm
32”-37” | 81-94 cm
20-45 lb | 9-20 kg
10-15 years (wild); up to 20 years (captivity)
Coyote
61.000
94.000
20.000
20.00
600
3D
Coyote
1.8”-2” | 4.5-5 cm
2.75”-3.1” | 7-8 cm
.35-.6 oz | 10-17 g
2-3 years (wild); 4-5 years (captivity)
Dark Kangaroo Mouse
5.000
8.000
0.017
5.00
8000
3D
Dark Kangaroo Mouse
.2”-.43” | 5-11 mm
3.9”-5.9” | 10-15 cm
7-10 years
Desert Millipede
1.100
15.000
10.00
1150
3D
Desert Millipede
Dingo
105000
20”-24” | 51-61 cm
28”-43” | 71-109 cm
30-45 lb | 14-20 kg
3-7 years (wild); up to 16 years (captivity)
Dingo
61.000
109.000
20.000
16.00
105000
3D
Dingo
Donkey
119000
43”-57” | 109-145 cm
57”-76” | 145-193 cm
400-500 lb | 180-225 kg
25-40 years
Donkey
145.000
193.000
225.000
25.00
119000
3D
Donkey
7’ | 2.13 m
7.17'-11.17' | 2.19-3.41 m
880-1320 lb | 400-600 kg
40-50 years
Dromedary Camel
213.000
341.000
600.000
50.00
3400
3D
Dromedary Camel
22”-25” | 56-64 cm
34”-39” | 86-99 cm
45-55 lb | 20-25 kg
10-15 years (wild); up to 20 years (captivity)
Eastern Coyote
64.000
99.000
25.000
20.00
3600
3D
Eastern Coyote
7”-9” | 18-23 cm
10”-16” | 25-41 cm
2-4 lb | 1-2 kg
8-10 years (wild); up to 10-14 years (captivity)
Fennec Fox
23.000
41.000
2.000
14.00
166000
3D
Fennec Fox
2.6”-4” | 6.6-10.2 cm
6”-9” | 15.2-22.9 cm
.9-1.3 lb | 400-600 g
2-4 years (wild), up to 6-10 years (captivity)
Four-Toed Hedgehog
10.200
22.900
0.600
10.00
3750
3D
Four-Toed Hedgehog
.28”-.55” | 7-14 mm
3”-6.3” | 7.5-16 cm
3-5 years
Giant Centipede
1.400
16.000
5.00
29040
3D
Giant Centipede
.47”-.63” | 12-16 mm
6.7”-7.9” | 17-20 cm
3-6 years
Giant Desert Centipede
1.600
20.000
6.00
7600
3D
Giant Desert Centipede
18”-20” | 46-51 cm
27”-33” | 69-84 cm
18-24 lb | 8-11 kg
8-10 years (wild); up to 16 years (captivity)
Golden Jackal
51.000
84.000
11.000
16.00
5000
3D
Golden Jackal
26”-33” | 66-84 cm
40”-72” | 102-183 cm
50-150 lb | 23-68 kg
6-8 years (wild); up to 17 years (captivity)
Gray Wolf
84.000
183.000
68.000
17.00
35000
3D
Gray Wolf
Kit Fox
13000
10”-12” | 25-30 cm
17”-21” | 43-53 cm
4-6 lb | 2-2.7 kg
4-7 years (wild); up to 12-14 years (captivity)
Kit Fox
30.000
53.000
2.700
14.00
13000
3D
Kit Fox
2.2”-2.7” | 5.6-6.8 cm
4.5”-5.7” | 11.5-14.5 cm
2-4.6 oz | 60-130 g
2-3 years (wild); 3-5 years (captivity)
Mongolian Gerbil
6.800
14.500
0.130
5.00
2700
3D
Mongolian Gerbil
41.3”-55.1” | 105-140 cm
55.1”-70.9” | 140-180 cm
441-573 lb | 200-260 kg
15-40 years
Mongolian Wild Ass
140.000
180.000
260.000
40.00
3180
3D
Mongolian Wild Ass
1.8”-2.4” | 4.5-6 cm
3.5”-5.5” | 8-14 cm
2.1-3.4 oz | 60-95 g
2-5 years (wild); 5-10 years (captivity)
Ord’s Kangaroo Rat
6.000
14.000
0.095
10.00
26000
3D
Ord’s Kangaroo Rat
56.3”-63” | 143-160 cm
66.9”-75.6” | 170-192 cm
441-573 lb | 200-260 kg
20-40 years
Persian Onager
160.000
192.000
260.000
40.00
1000
3D
Persian Onager
51.2”-61” | 130-155 cm
63”-74.8” | 160-190 cm
551-794 lb | 250-360 kg
20-25 years
Przewalski's Horse
155.000
190.000
360.000
25.00
310
3D
Przewalski's Horse
Red Fox
112000
14”-18” | 35-46 cm
22”-34” | 56-86 cm
12-18 lb | 5-8 kg
2-4 years (wild); up to 10-12 years (captivity)
Red Fox
46.000
86.000
8.000
12.00
112000
3D
Red Fox
4’10”-6’10” | 147-208 cm
39”-63” | 99-160 cm
50-200 lb | 23-91 kg
8-16 years (wild); up to 25-27 years (captivity)
Red Kangaroo
208.000
160.000
91.000
27.00
132000
3D
Red Kangaroo
1.1”-1.9” | 2.7-4.7 cm
2”-3” | 4.5-7.6 cm
.7-1 oz | 20-30 g
2-3 years (wild); 4-5 years (captivity)
Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
4.700
7.600
0.030
5.00
17000
3D
Roborovski Dwarf Hamster
11”-12” | 28-30 cm
15”-21” | 38-53 cm
4-7 lb | 2-3 kg
3-6 years (wild); up to 10-14 years (captivity)
Swift Fox
30.000
53.000
3.000
14.00
7600
3D
Swift Fox
.28”-.47” | 7-12 mm
3.9”-7.1” | 10-18 cm
4-6 years
Tiger Centipede
1.200
18.000
6.00
2600
3D
Tiger Centipede
Donkey (Equus africanus asinus)
Dimensioned drawing of an average donkey compared to a human for scale

Donkeys, also known as asses or burros, are members of the horse family (Equidae) that are distinguished from horses by their stockier stature and floppy ears. With variations that include wild, feral, and domestic, donkeys are herd animals found around the world that are most commonly kept as beasts of burden that have assisted in the transportation of goods for thousands of years. On farms, donkeys are often bred as pets and for producing milk but they have also been found to act as guardians that help protect the other livestock. Male donkeys are called jacks, while female donkeys are known as jennies or jennets.

The average Donkey has an overall height of 43”-57” (109-145 cm), withers height of 36”-48” (92-123 cm), and body length of 57”-76” (145-193 cm). A typical Donkey weighs between 400-500 lb (180-225 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 25-40 years.

Illustrations of a donkey as viewed from the side, front, and laying down with dimensions
Donkeys, also known as asses or burros, are members of the horse family (Equidae) that are distinguished from horses by their stockier stature and floppy ears. With variations that include wild, feral, and domestic, donkeys are herd animals found around the world.

The average Donkey has an overall height of 43”-57” (109-145 cm), withers height of 36”-48” (92-123 cm), and body length of 57”-76” (145-193 cm). A typical Donkey weighs between 400-500 lb (180-225 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 25-40 years.

Illustrations of a donkey as viewed from the side, front, and laying down with dimensions
Donkey (Equus africanus asinus)
Height:
43”-57” | 109-145 cm
Width:
Length:
57”-76” | 145-193 cm
Depth:
Withers Height
36”-48” | 92-123 cm
Weight:
400-500 lb | 180-225 kg
Area:

Uses: Milk, pack (transport), guardians

Scientific Name
Equus asinus
Lifespan
25-40 years

Drawings include:
Donkey side elevation (standing), side (male farmer), front, side (laying down)

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Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus)
Dimensioned drawing of a Bactrian Camel standing next to a man for scale with measurements for heights and width

The Bactrian Camel is a two-humped camelid residing in the Central and Eastern Asian Desert and is closely related, but wholly distinct from, the Wild Bactrian Camel, Camelus ferus. With its tolerance for both hot and cold temperatures, adaptation for high altitudes, and endurance for many miles, the Bactrian Camel enabled trade along the Silk Road from 130 B.C. to 1453 A.D. as a versatile pack animal. While mostly domesticated, a small feral population still exists in southwest Kazakhstan and India. Similar to the Dromedary Camel, the Bactrian Camel rarely sweats, can close its nostrils to sand, and has two rows of eyelashes to protect his eyes.

The average Bactrian Camel has an overall height of 84" (7’) (2.13 m), withers height of 62"-71" (5’2”-5’11”) (157-180 cm), and body length of 89"-138" (7’5”-11’6”) (225-350 cm). A typical Bactrian Camel weighs between 990-1100 lb (450-500 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 20-40 years; 50 (wild).

Illustrations of Bactrian Camels in various postures including walking, standing, and lying down
The Bactrian Camel is a two-humped camelid residing in Central and Eastern Asian Desert and is closely related to the Wild Bactrian Camel. Similar to the Dromedary Camel, the Bactrian Camel rarely sweats, can close its nostrils to sand, and has two rows of eyelashes to protect his eyes.

The average Bactrian Camel has an overall height of 84" (7’) (2.13 m), withers height of 62"-71" (5’2”-5’11”) (157-180 cm), and body length of 89"-138" (7’5”-11’6”) (225-350 cm). A typical Bactrian Camel weighs between 990-1100 lb (450-500 kg) and has a lifespan of roughly 20-40 years; 50 (wild).

Illustrations of Bactrian Camels in various postures including walking, standing, and lying down
Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus)
Height:
7’ | 2.13 m
Width:
Length:
7.42'-11.5' | 2.25-3.5 m
Depth:
Withers Height (Shoulder)
62"-71" | 157-180 cm
Weight:
990-1100 lb | 450-500 kg
Area:

Uses: Pack animal

Scientific Name
Camelus bactrianus
Lifespan
20-40 years; 50 (wild)

Drawings include:
Bactrian Camel side elevation (standing), side (person), front, walking, lying down

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Tiger Centipede (Scolopendra polymorpha)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Tiger Centipede to other myriapods

The Tiger Centipede (Scolopendra polymorpha) is a centipede that lives in dry grasslands, forests, and deserts in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico, north to the Pacific coast. In these habitats, the Tiger Centipede resides under rocks, burrows, and inside rotting logs. The species usually has a darker brown, red, or orange-colored head, and the body segments are orange with yellow legs. The coloration of the body contrasts with the one dark lateral stripe also on the segments, and there are seven or more smooth segments on the antennae. They are carnivorous and eat insects, lizards, frogs, and rodents.

The Tiger Centipede has an overall length between 3.9”-7.1” (10-18 cm) and width of .28”-.47” (7-12 mm). The typical lifespan of the Tiger Centipede is between 4-6 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Tiger Centipede in various poses
The Tiger Centipede (Scolopendra polymorpha) is a centipede that lives in dry grasslands, forests, and deserts in the Southwestern United States and northern Mexico, north to the Pacific coast. In these habitats, the Tiger Centipede resides under rocks, burrows, and inside rotting logs.

The Tiger Centipede has an overall length between 3.9”-7.1” (10-18 cm) and width of .28”-.47” (7-12 mm). The typical lifespan of the Tiger Centipede is between 4-6 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Tiger Centipede in various poses
Tiger Centipede (Scolopendra polymorpha)
Height:
Width:
.28”-.47” | 7-12 mm
Length:
3.9”-7.1” | 10-18 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Scolopendra polymorpha
Lifespan
4-6 years

Drawings include:

Tiger Centipede top view (assorted)

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Golden Jackal
Scale illustration of an average Golden Jackal with dimensions for height and length compared to a human

The Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) is a wolf-like canid. Their coats range from yellow to gold, but they vary from season and region. They are native to southeast Europe, and south Asia. Golden jackals like to live near valleys, by rivers, canals, lakes, and seashores.

They are highly social and adaptable. Golden jackals are omnivorous and they are both predators and scavengers. Their diet consists of rodents, birds, and fruit. They will also scavenge any of the preys by the lion, tiger, leopard, dhole, and gray wolf.

Golden Jackals have a shoulder height of 18”-20” (46-51 cm), body length between 27”-33” (69-84 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 18-24 lb (8-11 kg). The typical lifespan of a Golden Jackal is 8-10 years in the wild and up to 16 years in captivity.

Collection of scaled drawings of Golden Jackal in various poses
The Golden Jackal (Canis aureus) is a wolf-like canid. Their coats range from yellow to gold, but they vary from season and region. They are native to southeast Europe, and south Asia. Golden jackals like to live near valleys, by rivers, canals, lakes, and seashores.

Golden Jackals have a shoulder height of 18”-20” (46-51 cm), body length between 27”-33” (69-84 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 18-24 lb (8-11 kg). The typical lifespan of a Golden Jackal is 8-10 years in the wild and up to 16 years in captivity.

Collection of scaled drawings of Golden Jackal in various poses
Golden Jackal
Height:
18”-20” | 46-51 cm
Width:
Length:
27”-33” | 69-84 cm
Depth:
Weight:
18-24 lb | 8-11 kg
Area:
Coat Color
Scientific Name
Canis aureus
Lifespan
8-10 years (wild); up to 16 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Golden Jackal side elevation (standing), front (standing), front (sitting), side (lying down)

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Mongolian Gerbil

The Mongolian Gerbil, also called a jird and originally recognized as the ‘desert rat’, is a small rodent with the scientific name Meriones unguiculatus. It’s adapted to a desert environment, having fur on its entire body, including the tail, to protect itself from the sun.

The Mongolian Gerbil has also adapted for safety, possessing the ability to shed its tail if a predator latches on. This act of survival is important as the Mongolian Gerbil’s tail is approximately as long as its body. It is both a tunnel maker and a considerable chewer, having teeth that grow all the time (a trait shared by all rodents).

Mongolian Gerbils have a height of 2.2”-2.7” (5.6-6.8 cm), body length between 4.5”-5.7” (11.5-14.5 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 2-4.6 oz (60-130 g). The tail length of a Mongolian Gerbil is 3.5”-4.7” (9-12 cm). Mongolian Gerbils have a typical lifespan of 2-3 years in the wild and 3-5 years when raised in captivity.

Set of dimensioned elevation drawings of the Mongolian Gerbil
The Mongolian Gerbil, also called a jird and originally recognized as the ‘desert rat’, is a small rodent with the scientific name Meriones unguiculatus. It’s adapted to a desert environment, having fur on its entire body, including the tail, to protect itself from the sun.

Mongolian Gerbils have a height of 2.2”-2.7” (5.6-6.8 cm), body length between 4.5”-5.7” (11.5-14.5 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 2-4.6 oz (60-130 g). The tail length of a Mongolian Gerbil is 3.5”-4.7” (9-12 cm). Mongolian Gerbils have a typical lifespan of 2-3 years in the wild and 3-5 years when raised in captivity.

Set of dimensioned elevation drawings of the Mongolian Gerbil
Mongolian Gerbil
Height:
2.2”-2.7” | 5.6-6.8 cm
Width:
Length:
4.5”-5.7” | 11.5-14.5 cm
Depth:
Weight:
2-4.6 oz | 60-130 g
Area:
Tail Length
3.5”-4.7” | 9-12 cm
Scientific Name
Meriones unguiculatus
Lifespan
2-3 years (wild); 3-5 years (captivity)

Drawings include:

Mongolian Gerbil side elevation (standing), front (standing)

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