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Monday, March 24, 2014

15.. Desert Animals That Will Make You Melt With Their Cuteness!

1. The Hyena

In addition to being 100% more adorable than you ever thought possible, hyenas are pretty darn smart! Their problem solving and “counting” skills rival those of some primates.

2. The Meerkat

Meerkats are kind of the superstars of the desert, but just in case you haven’t heard about how awesome they are… meerkats are really social creatures. They live in “mobs.” They stand up and act as security guards/lookouts for each other while they’re hunting!

3. The Sand Cat

Sand cats are specially designed to live in the hot desert. Tufts of fur on their paws keep them from getting burnt by the scorching sand, and it also allows them to travel across it without sinking in! It’s very hard to track the sand cat because their paw prints are practically invisible.

4. The Fennec Fox

The fennec fox is the smallest breed of the fox family, but it has super large (and adorable!) ears that help radiate body heat so that they can withstand the desert sun.

6. The Pronghorn Antelope

The pronghorn, in addition to being quite adorable, has a neat way of adapting to the desert heat. When hot, their fur lifts up on end in order to release body heat and cool them down. The pronghorn is also critically endangered in its natural habitat; approximately 100 Sonoran Pronghorns exist in the wild.

7. The Armadillo Lizard

As you might have guessed, the armadillo lizard is named as such because of its ability to roll up into a ball. They’re actually able to bite onto their tails and position themselves so that all of their vulnerable body parts (their soft little bellies!) are protected by the hard armor on the outside. That way they’re just a spiky ball that no predator wants to deal with.

8. The Coyote

Coyotes can adapt to live in all kinds of environment, but are found in the desert often. Coyotes are their own breed, but they can also mate with dogs as well as wolves! A coyote/wolf hybrid is called a coydog.

9. The Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

The jackrabbit may look like a cute and harmless creature, but they can reach speeds up to 40 MPH when running! Their large ears are useful for listening for predators.

10. The Ostrich

Ostriches are amazingly powerful creatures, and also live in herds with an alpha male and dominant female. When the hens lay eggs, they are all placed in the same nest as the dominant female’s, but the the top birds’ babies have a place of honor to indicate their superiority.

11. The Mouse-Tailed Bat

Mouse-tailed bats store layers of fat on their bodies that are more heavy than their bodies themselves, all so they can go for months without food and water during times of scarcity.

12. The Bobcat

Bobcats are found in all kinds of climates, but commonly live in the desert. They have two to three kittens in a litter, and after a few months of nursing them, the mother starts to feed the kitten meat. After they’ve grown a bit older, the mother starts to bring live prey back to the nest so that the babies can practice their hunting skills. Talk about homeschooling!

13. The Desert Hedgehog

When hedgehogs are born, they’re deaf and blind. Their spines are hidden underneath their skin so that they don’t damage their mother while she’s giving birth to them. Within a few hours of being born, the babies’ spines emerge.

14. The Rhinoceros

Rhinos are really tough and are able to withstand extreme temperatures in a desert environment. Unfortunately, due to hunting and poaching, their population was nearly depleted entirely in the arid regions. Thanks to conservation efforts and reintroduction of rhinos into the wild, their numbers are rising slowly.

15. The African Wild Dog

African wild dogs travel in packs and are experts at coordinating with each other in order to hunt with incredible accuracy. When they attempt to hunt an animal, their success rate is 80%. This may not sound impressive, but considering lions’ accuracy is 30%, you can see why they’re considered such formidable opponents!

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