Question Sheet: Living in the Desert


Before reading:

  1. Name four animals that live in the desert. 
  2. Give an example of a way in which an animal has adapted to live in a hot,

    dry climate.

During reading:

  1. Where are sand gazelles found? 
  2. What is a mitochondrion? What is its function? 
  3. How does a decrease in the size of a sand gazelle’s liver help it conserve


  4. What do kangaroo rats eat? 
  5. How do extra-long kidney tubes allow kangaroo rats to conserve water? 
  6. How does a sand grouse bring water to its young?

After reading:

  1. Pick a desert-dwelling animal not mentioned in the article. In what ways has

    this animal adapted to survive in the desert? See

    (Idaho PTV). 

  2. Do you think being a small animal would be beneficial for desert survival? 
  3. Life on Earth can’t exist without water. Is there anything else that life

    must have to survive? 

  4. Pick an animal that lives in a habitat other than the desert. Describe any

    special ways in which it has adapted to its environment. 

  5. How long could a person without any food or water survive in the desert? How

    might such a person get some water? What sorts of supplies do people need to

    survive in the desert? See

    (DesertUSA), (City of Phoenix), or (Wilderness Survival).


Pick two deserts, each one in a different part of the world. Compare the deserts. Note where they are located, how large they are, what special features they have, what sorts of animals and plants live there, and how much rainfall they get. See (Living Desert)

or Monster).


  1. Suppose that you were trekking across the desert. Write a journal entry

    describing what you might see and do on one day during your trip. 

  2. Jean Craighead George has written many books for young children about life

    in different kinds of environments. Go to the library and select one of her

    books about life in certain environment (for example, Everglades or

    One Day in the Desert). Write a brief review describing how George

    makes the book appealing and understandable to young readers. You can find a

    list of her books at (Jean Craighead



A camel must travel 1000 miles across a desert to the nearest city. She has 3000 bananas but can carry only 1000 at a time. For every mile she walks, she needs to eat a banana. What’s the maximum number of bananas she can transport to the city?