MNN Galleries

17 animals amazingly adapted to thrive in deserts

By: Jaymi Heimbuch on March 4, 2014, 9 a.m.
pallid bat on rock

Photo: minicooper93402/Flickr

15 of 18

Pallid bat

Bats are an important part of any ecosystem but not just any bat can handle the tough environment of a desert. Found in western North America as well as in Cuba, the pallid bat prefers dry habitats of grassland, scrub desert, and is even found in Death Valley. The pallid bat is unique among bat species because it has the ability to control its body temperature, matching its internal temperature with its environment during winter hibernation and during rest to conserve energy. Also unique among bats is this species preference for catching prey on the ground; it almost never catches prey in mid-air, as other insectavorious bats do. Instead, it will swoop down on prey, capture it, and carry it to a more convenient location to eat. Though some desert dwellers get all the water they need from their prey, the pallid bat does need a water source nearby.