Desert Plants &Animals
in the Bible
and their Adaptations
By Kathy Applebee
Aligned with VA SOL’s 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 4.5
are nicknamed “ships of the desert”
because they travel well in hot, dry conditions.
Arabian or dromedary camels have one
hump. Bactrian or two humped camels live in
have noses that can close to keep the
sand out. Their eyes have bushy brows and 2
sets of eyelashes to protect them.
mouth can chew
Camels can grow
more than 7 feet
(2 m) tall and
weigh almost a
God gave camels
wide, padded feet
and thick leathery
pads on their chest
and knees for
The camel's hump does not contain extra water.
God designed the camel to carry extra fat in its
hump. Because of the stored fat, a camel can go
without food and water for 3 to 4 days.
adapt to desert life with camouflage
and burrowing. Camouflage means being the
same color as where you live so predators
that would eat you, can’t see you as easily.
gave rabbits strong legs to jump quickly
and to burrow holes. The holes provide a
cool place to live and hide from predators.
As the Children of
Israel traveled in the
desert God gave them
rules about what
animals they could &
could not eat.
Lev. 11: 1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 "Say to the
Israelites: 'Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones
you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a split hoof
completely divided and that chews the cud.
4 " 'There are some that only chew the cud or only have a split
hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the
cud, does not have a split hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you.,,.
6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it
is unclean for you.
in the desert often are nocturnal; they
hunt at night. Some birds, like the owl here,
hunt during the day.
gave owls super sight and hearing, plus
their feathers are shaped so they fly without a
owls, like this one, can burrow into the
ground to hide from predators and keep cool.
Owls eat insects, snakes,
other rodents and other
birds. They have sharp
talons or claws to grab their
prey and sharp beaks.
also have sharp talons and beaks.
They are scavengers. God created them to
help clean up dead animals.
11:13 " 'These are the birds you are to
detest and not eat because they are detestable:
the eagle, the vulture, the black vulture, 14 the
red kite, any kind of black kite, 15 any kind of
raven, 16 the horned owl, the screech owl, the
gull, any kind of hawk, 17 the little owl, the
cormorant, the great owl, 18 the white owl, the
desert owl, the osprey.
Some lizards can break off
their tails to escape . The
predator is distracted and
eats the tail. The lizard
eventually grows it back.
Desert lizards called chameleons
use camouflage to protect
themselves from predators and to
hide from their prey.
Camouflage means they can change
their skin color to match the
Usually lizards eat insects
but larger ones can eat
birds or their eggs. A few
are herbivores, which
means they eat plants.
Lizards are cold-blooded.
changes with the
temperature of their
Like other reptiles,
snakes are cold-blooded.
They have a long, narrow
bodies and scaly skin that
protects them. God gave
rattlesnakes poison to
help protect them from
predators and to help
them catch their food.
cold-blooded animals digest their food
using the sun’s energy. When you see a
reptile sunning themselves they are probably
digesting their dinner.
God did not make reptiles food for the Children
Lev. 11: 29 " 'Of the animals that move about on the
ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat,
any kind of great lizard, 30 the gecko, the monitor
lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon.
Deserts cover about 20 percent of
the land on earth. To be
considered a desert, an area must
get less than 10 inches of
precipitation a year.
The desert is a harsh environment
with extreme temperatures;
without clouds the heat of the day
quickly disappears and deserts can
be freezing at night.
Because of these dry conditions,
there is limited plant and animal life
Cacti is the plural of cactus.
God gave the cactus special roots
to help it survive in the desert.
Prickly Pear cacti have long
roots, which absorb water from
deep down in the soil.
Some, like ball cacti, have shorter
roots that absorb dew that falls
off the cactus.
Cacti can survive during drought
s. A drought is a long period of
time with no water
Sauaro cactus can store water for
long periods of time.
God gave cacti thick skin with a
waxy coating. This keeps water
inside the cactus from evaporating.
The cacti have thick spongy or
hollow stems to store water.
cacti have spines or scales instead of
leaves. Leaves would lose water through
The spines protect the cactus from animals
that would like to eat the cactus to obtain
food and/or water.
Cacti produce flowers for a short time in the spring.
Later they grow seed bearing fruit. Bats spread cacti
pollen as well as some of the insects that live in the
How much precipitation do deserts get each year?
How did God adapt the camel to desert life?
How did God adapt plants to live in the desert?
Think of three ways God made desert birds or reptiles
able to survive in the desert.
(Look back to check your answers)