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Adaptations

Fennec foxes

Fennec foxes have their own “radiators” which help them survive in hot deserts. The large surface area of their ears bring many blood vessels close to their skin surface, allowing their hot blood to lose heat to the surroundings efficiently.

Ground squirrels

Being able to avoid direct sunlight is a key strategy to survive in hot, dry environments. Ground squirrels do so by shading themselves with their long, bushy tails as they feed out in the open.

Evaporative cooling

Animals that live in hot conditions make use of the concept of evaporative cooling to help their bodies lose heat faster. As water on their skin evaporates, it gains heat from their bodies! This is done by sweating, panting, licking themselves or simply spraying themselves with water! 

Aestivation

Similar to how animals hibernate in the cold to conserve energy to survive in winter when food is scare, animals that live in hot, dry environments undergo aestivation, conserving energy to survive the heat and lack of water in the hottest and driest months of the year. 

Reducing surface area in contact with hot sand

Animals that live in the desert, such as the lizard and sidewinder snake, have behavioural adaptations that allow them to reduce the surface area of their bodies in contact with the hot sand, preventing them from gaining too much heat! 

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