MNN Galleries

17 animals amazingly adapted to thrive in deserts

March 4, 2014, 9 a.m.
meerkat family

Photo: tratong/Shutterstock

10 of 18

Meerkats

Meerkats have become an iconic figure of the Kalahari desert. But not only is this species full of personality, it is also well adapted for its tough home. Meerkats have several physical features that make them well-suited for the desert life. They get a good deal of water from their diet, and dine on insects, snakes and scorpions. They are immune to scorpion venom and can tolerate up to six times the amount of snake venom that would kill a rabbit. They may eat roots and tubers if they are in need of additional water. They make use of burrow systems for escaping predators and harsh weather. They can close their ears to keep sand out, and have a third eyelid to protect their eyes. The dark coloration around their eyes further protects them by reducing the glare of the sun so they have a better chance of spotting danger.