MNN Galleries

17 animals amazingly adapted to thrive in deserts

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on March 4, 2014, 9 a.m.
arabian oryx

Photo: Max Earey /Shutterstock

4 of 18

Arabian oryx

It is strange to think of a large mammal capable of living in intensely hot desert conditions, but the Arabian oryx shows us how successful they can be. This herbivore has a white coat to reflect the sunlight of the day, while its dark legs help absorb heat during cold desert mornings. It can sense rain over long distances and so can find fresh grasses and plants, and will even eat roots when no other forage is available. It feeds during dawn and late afternoon, resting in shaded areas during the mid-day heat. As for water, the Arabian oryx can go for days, and sometimes even weeks without a significant drink, finding enough water by drinking dew that has formed on the plants it eats or from the water content of plants themselves.