All About the Hot Desert



The hot desert biome can be found between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Many hot deserts can be found in the west coast of the US, South America, and Africa, as well as, parts of the Middle East.


The hot desert is, obviously, very hot, although it can get quite cold during the night. It is generally very warm year-round, yet can become sweltering during the summer.

Soil Conditions

The soil of the hot desert is very similar to the soil of the chaparral. The top layer of soil is very fine and easily blown away, while the second layer is sand or rock. The soil is very nutrient-poor.

Climate Conditions

The hot desert is very hot, and there is little humidity to reason with the harsh glare of the sun. However, this biome shows daily extremes–the days are very hot and dry, while nights can be freezing. The hot desert goes through periods of no rain, and when there is rain it is in very quick, concentrated bursts. Approximately, only 1 inch of rain falls on the hot desert biome. All moths have an average temperature of 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Below is a temperature graph of an example of a hot desert biome.


Below is a precipitation graph of an example of a hot desert biome.


Plants and Animals

1) Barrel Cactus


The barrel cactus, at most, grows to be 11 feet tall. It has ridges that run down its sides with 3 to 4 inch spike. The barrel cactus can be found in the Mojave desert, Sonora desert, and Chihuahua desert.

2) Soaptree Yucca

soaptree yucca

The soaptree yucca is mostly found in North American hot desert biomes. It is a tall plant with large leaves, almost like palm leaves. Soaptree yucca leaves are long and triangular. The soapstone yucca’s fruit resides in a capsule until summer where it splits into three sections. True to its name, the soaptree yucca contains a soapy substance within its roots and trunk. The soapstone yucca easily adapts to its environment.

3) Desert Tortoise


The desert tortoise is a land-dwelling turtle, also known as the gopher tortoise. Its front legs are flat with long claws. To scare away other animals and to communicate, desert tortoises may hiss. The desert tortoise can be up to 100 years old. Upon first meeting, male desert tortoise will automatically fight one another. The desert tortoise can mate anytime it is on land, but they reproduce very slowly because female tortoises must be at least 15 years old to began laying eggs. It is unlawful to touch, kill, or hunt a desert tortoise because they are very endangered. touching a wild desert tortoise could kill it, because its defense mechanism is to let go of all its stored water. The releasing of all its water often kills them.

Their Adaptations

Due to the extreme heat, many animals in the hot desert biome cope by only being active from dusk to dawn to avoid the heat. Animals who do this are crepuscular. Some animals take it a step further by being nocturnal, or only being active at night. To avoid the heat, smaller desert animals burrow underground. Other animals dissipate heat. There are several ways to do this; some animals leave their mouths open while rapidly fluttering their throats to evaporate water from their mouths, while others have (over time) developed long appendages that release heat (i.e. jackrabbits’ long ears).


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