Living and surviving in the Sahara Desert is very challenging to animals, plants and people. They must adapt themselves to the very hot climate and find ways to survive.
Sahara Desert is a place seemingly uninviting to living creatures. However, there are previous evidences of desert life. Sahara Desert has adequate landforms and oasis although it is made of compact rocky land and shaped into plateaus.
Sahara Desert allows animals to find their shelter and survive in this kind of environment. Recently, the most numerous are cattle. Today, many species found in this desert include foxes, gazelles, desert hedgehog, gerbils, jerboa, deer, and baboon. These are joined by spotted hyena, jackal, Libyan striped weasel, the slender mongoose, and hares.
Over three hundred migratory bird species live here. Some of the most common birds found are ostriches, raptors, and ravens. Several types of reptiles such as frogs, toads and crocodiles; snails, brine, shrimp, and other crustaceans are found within the lakes, river and pools. Lizards, chameleons, skinks, and cobras are found among rocks and sand dunes.
Most desert animals spend their daytime underground, unexposed to the sun. They also eat foods rich in water content to help them survive. They hunt for foods during night time because it is cooler. They are usually small in size to reduce water loss in their body.
The Sahara Desert is very far from the animal-free climate because many living creatures call this place a home. Additionally, over thirty thousands petrolyphs or primitive drawings of animals such as crocodiles and the fossils of dinosaurs are found in the area of Sahara. This is evidential proof of life and existence.
Many types of plants grow in the Sahara Desert. Grasses like Eragrostis, Panicum and Aristida are abundant. Trees such as Acacia and Atemisia and the shrubs like doum palm, and date palm are the common. These planta are saline-tolerant, also found in saline depression area. They are adaptable to the excessive heat and precipitation.
Plants need enough water for survival. Desert plants must adapt to very hot and harsh state. For example, the cactus plant has spines instead of a broad leaves to minimize too much loss of water and thick stem to store water in a plant’s body for a long period of time.
Some plants possess very long roots that go deep down to the earth to be able to survive in hot and dry place. Most plants grow in oases and along the river beds which water is present.
Nomads are the majority of the people living in Sahara Desert. They constantly move from one place to another to improve their living conditions. They usually wear a headdress called howli to protect them from excessive heat, and long woolen fine clothes called barracans for protection from the intense heat of the sun.
They eat rice and dates. They also eat camel or sheep meat because these are abundant around them.
Another group of people that dwell in Sahara Desert are the Berbers. They are mostly found in Morocco and in Algeria. They reside in the place where they can raise animals like cattle and sheep. They even plant crops mainly for their own consumption.
Berbers used to stay in stone houses, in clay huts or in tents so they can easily move to other places. Their houses are cool inside even without air conditioning. During day time, most people stay inside their house. If they go outside, they wear loose clothes to keep themselves out of the sun.