8 Animals that Live in the Desert

Desert animals are creatures that don’t mind the harsh conditions of some of the aridest places on the planet. Thye have adapted in such a way that they can cope with little precipitation, a remarkable feature in itself.

Many of the most famous deserts in the world are inhabited by a wide variety of animals species. There are, however, places where even the toughest animals simply can’t survive due to extreme heat or a complete lack of water.

In this article, you’ll discover some of the animals that live in the desert, creatures that have developed defense mechanisms to deal with conditions that no human being could ever cope with.

1. Mountain Lion

The mountain lion (Puma concolor) is also known as the cougar or puma and is the 4th biggest cat in the world. The range of this large cat is extensive as they live in the Yukon in Canada to the southern part of the Andes Mountains in South America.

They don’t have a problem living in the harsh conditions of desert areas, especially mountains regions. They do depend on other animals in their territory as these are ambush predators, hiding behind the bush or rocks to prey on unsuspected creatures roaming around.

Mountain lion animals that live in the desert
A mountain lion on a rock waiting to attack / Wiki Commons

2. Wolf

The wolf (Canis lupus) is also referred to as the gray wolf or grey wolf and is another fearsome predator wide a wide range. They occur in both Eurasia and North America and is the largest member of the family Canidae to which every aggressive dog and domesticated dog belongs to.

The natural habitat of these animals is just as varied as their range. They can live in wetlands, shrublands, grasslands, and forests. They don’t mind living in arid areas as long as they can find prey. Especially hoofed animals should watch out if a pack of wolves is approaching.

Wolf in the desert
The fearsome wolf / Larry Lamsa / Wiki Commons

3. Gobi Bear

The Gobi bear (Ursus arctos gobiensis) is a subspecies of the brown bear and was named after their native habitat, the Gobi Desert. This immense desert covers large parts of northeastern China and southern Mongolia and the Gobi Bear exclusively lives in Mongolia today.

The main reason why we can be sure that their range doesn’t extend into China is that there are very few individuals of this bear species left living in the wild. They are referred to as the “world’s rarest bear” bear and are critically endangered with just a few dozen bears still roaming around in the wild.

Gobi Bear
The remarkable brown bear / Modzzak / Wiki Commons

4. Ostrich

The ostrich (Struthio) is the only extant member of the order Struthioniformes, a type of large flightless and relatively dangerous bird (they can attack when threatened). The two extant members of this order are the Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) and the Somali Ostrich (Struthio molybdophanes).

The nominal species of this bird used to live in the Sahara Desert, East Africa, and large parts of Asia Minor. Their native habitat has moved a bit and they are now most common in the Sahel of Africa, a savanna region just south of the Sahara.

Ostrich desert animals
A common ostrich / Dick Daniels / Wiki Commons

5. Redback Spider

The redback spider (Latrodectus hasselti) is sometimes referred to as the Australian black widow. The spider probably originated in the southern part of Australia or the deserts of Western Australia and is easily recognizable because of the red markings on its back.

These scary spiders are extremely venomous and can now be found throughout the country. They are some of the most feared creatures in Australia and can tolerate extremely harsh conditions. They are capable of living in the Simpson Desert in the Northern Territory, one of the driest places on the Australian continent.

Redback Spider Animals desert
Redback spider / Don Horne / Wiki Commons

6. Wild Horse

The wild horse (Equus ferus) is a species of the genus Equus to which all horse-like animals belong, including domesticated horses, donkeys, and zebras, to name just a few. These are grazing animals that prefer vast open areas of grasslands and steppes.

The presence of wild horses is one of the reasons that wolves, spotted hyenas, and mountain lions can survive in arid conditions as they might fall prey to these predators. The Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) lives in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and is the only wild horse that still lives in the wild today.

Wild horses desert
Wild horses in the desert / Wiki Commons

7. Scorpion

Scorpions are members of the order Scorpiones in the extensive arachnid class to which also spiders belong. These are predatory creatures with a distinctive stinger and a pair of pincers and the desert regions all across the world are their native habitat.

All scorpions are xerocoles, the general term given to animals that have adapted to living in the desert. Despite being able to live in extremely arid conditions, they have adapted in such a way that they can live in just about any location on the planet, including mountains and caves. This makes them some of the most versatile creatures in the world in terms of habitat.

Scorpion in the desert
A scorpion in the desert / Wiki Commons

8. Bactrian camel

The Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) is also known as the Mongolian camel, a reference to their native habitat which is the steppes of Central Asia. These are some of the most distinctive desert animals on the planet as they have two humps on their backs, as opposed to the dromedary camels which only have one hump.

These animals have been loyal companions of people since ancient times as they can withstand harsh conditions such as extreme drought and high altitude levels. They were used to traveling back and forth on the so-called Silk Road, ancient trade routes between Europe and Asia.

Bactrian Camel in Mongolia Desert animals
A Bactrian Camel in Mongolia / Alexandr Frolov / Wiki Commons