Desert Habitat Activities

What is a desert? Are deserts always

  • hot?
  • sandy?
  • barren?
  • dry?

It turns out that only one of these is correct. 

Deserts are not necessarily hot. In fact, some are quite cold. Because they do not have a great deal of moisture, which tends to moderate temperatures, deserts are more likely to have extreme fluctuations from hot to cold than other areas. 

Desert soils can be sandy, but they can also be clay or other soil types. Certain layers of soils in the Sonoran desert contain a lot of calcium carbonate, which makes up chalk.  

Are deserts barren? Some might seem like it, but many deserts are teeming with life of all sorts. Because temperatures are often cooler at night, many desert animals are nocturnal and you have to visit at night to see them.


The only characteristic that really defines a desert is it is an area with infrequent or scarce rains. A true desert receives less than ten inches of rain per year. So, a desert is indeed dry. 

Let's learn more about some of the living things that make deserts their home. Links are to pages in this website.

Desert Animals

Desert Plants

Desert Food Webs

© Roberta Gibson 2021