15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara

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The Sahara Desert is the world’s largest desert. It covers almost the whole of North Africa.

The Sand dunes, large abrupt mountains, rocky ground, gravel plains, sparse rivers and extreme heat makes it tough for life to exist here.

However, despite the extreme conditions it is home to many animals.

Here is the list of 15 of amazingly adaptive animals live in Sahara.

If you are interested to visit Sahara then you have to visit Erg chebbi located in Morocco. Marrakech is famous for its desert tours. Every year many people visit it to enjoy the beauty of Sahara Desert. The highlight here is Erg Chebbi. We recommend the Marrakech to Erg Chebbi desert tour when you visit there. 

Arabian Camels

Image by Wolfgang_Hasselmann from Pixabay

The camels found here are also known as dromedary camels. The arid climate of the Sahara is perfect for them. This is the main reason that most of the people living near Sahara have them.

Camels here are used for transport cargo as well as people around Sahara. They were first introduced in Sahara around 200 A.D. and are perfectly adapted to the harsh desert environment. The fat storage hump is their most unique feature. The single humped camel can store up to 40 kg of fat. When they don’t get any food or water they can get the energy by breaking the fat into food and water.

Their thick fur helps them to keep their body cool in hot hours and provide comfort at night. They can also drink up to 50 liters of water in less than 10 minutes. The average weight of these camels is around 1000-1500 pounds and the grow to a height of up to 10 feet.

Saharan Cheetahs 

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Saharan Cheetahs are also known as African cheetahs and they are also highly adapted to the cruel physical conditions of Saharan desert. Saharan Cheetahs are very different from rest of their species because they are more active at night. This action helps them to prevent overheating and conserve water.

They have shorter coats and the color is white. The color of the spots vary from black to light brown. There are some cheetahs that have no spots on their appearances and their tear stripes are absent.

Saharan cheetahs are now scare and the species is likely to become extinct. Their population in the wild is around 300 individuals. Male cheetahs prefer to live alone and it is very rarely seen due to the cheetah migrations.


Dorcas Gazelle

Image by anas barouki from Pixabay

This endangered species of antelope is mostly found in the Sahara. They are not solitary like cheetahs, but live in large groups of varying sizes. One feature makes ideally adapted to the Sahara Desert. Dorcas gazelle can withstand hot temperatures and go longer periods without water. They consume moisture from selective plants which quench their thirst. In summer season they are active early in the morning or at night, to prevent water loss. They are herbivores and they prefer to eat the Pancratium plants.


This small furry mammal looks like an oversized pig and is also called a rock rabbit. The Saharan hyrax is pretty different from others sharing the name hyrax, especially rock hyrax and tree hyrax. They are herbivores. Their usually eat leaves, herbs, grasses, and fruits. Hyraxes can get water from their food and can live without water for days. Their average life span is about 7-10 years.

Scarab Beetle

15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara Scarab Beetle

There are more than 300 species makes it the most diverse groups of insects. Dung and rhinoceros beetles are two of the famous beetles of the scarab family. Dung Beetles are the kind of beetles that love to do the work that even humans don’t like. They might be little and doing the filthy work yet their job to keep the ecosystem healthy which is very important. They get their food from the dungs of animals.

Desert Monitor Lizards

It is the largest species of lizard and can be found in Western Sahara and reigns across all across Asia. Desert lizards have a long body and they can reach up to 2 meters and they have strong limbs with powerful tail. Their skin is very hard which protects them from extreme heat in the Sahara. Because of their hard skin you can find them during the day even in summers. They hunt early in the morning and spend rest of the day in their burrow. They usually eat toads, eggs, snakes, frogs and other lizards. They can run up to 20 miles per hour and spend huge distances during the day in search of food.


15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara Ostrich
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

The ostriches we see in the Sahara Desert are North African ostriches. These flighless birds can run up-to 45 miles per hour.  The average height of ostrich can reach to 2.5- 3 meters.

They are heavy creatures. This large bird is ideally suited to survive the Sahara desert – they can go for long periods without water and they can absorb water from the plants they eat. Therefore, the extreme heat and lack of water do not affect them.

They can detect the predators from a long distance because of their long and heavy neck. Also, they have very strong legs that they utilize in close encounters with predators like Golden jackals whom they kick with strong legs.

Fennec Fox

15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara Fennec Fox
Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

It is the smallest species of fox and can live in arid regions of the Sahara Desert. They look very cute and usually are white in color. They are about 30-40 cm long and weighs around 1 kg. They are known for their long ears at about 6 inch in length. These ears help the foxes to release excess body heat and helps to regulate their body temperature in extreme. Fennec foxes can live without water for long period of time. Their body will consume more moisture from food they consume. These features make them a perfect inhabitant of Sahara Desert.

Golden Jackal

15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara Golden Jackal
Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

The jackal is similar to fox we described earlier. Actually Golden jackals are closely related to grey wolves and Coyotes. Female Golden jackal can weigh up-to 7-12 kilogram and adult can have a weight of 6-14 kilogram. Their fur color changes from season to season.

Throughout the summer they have a light yellowish color and in winter they change it to darker one with brown shades in it. They have a striking night vision and have an accurate sense of smell and hearing.

They have the ability to adjust their body temperatures according to the environment. Their homes are their dens which are about 3 meters in length and 2 meter in depth.

Horned Viper

15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara Horned Viper
Image by Andrea Bohl from Pixabay

These are some of the deadliest species of snakes in the world. They are easily identified by the two horns over their eyes. Horned snakes have a length of up to 3 feet. This poisonous desert snake has a color of sand with dark rectangular patches over the body.

The sand shade of horned snakes causes them to effortlessly hide with the desert condition. During hot day hours, horned snakes cover themselves in the desert sand with nostrils uncovered. With fast sideways movements, they can easily go and hide under the sand. It also protects them from the extreme desert heat. They usually eat lizards. However, lack of food force them to feed on some birds and mammals in the desert. They have the perfect features to live in Sahara Desert.

Death Stalker Scorpion

One of the most poisonous creatures you can find in Sahara Desert. Yellow to Orange in color with some shades of black in the abdominal area. The average size of an adult scorpion is about 2 inches to 3 inches long and weight is less than 3 gram. Scorpions have many pair of eyes. One pair of eyes is on the top of the head and the rest of the pairs of eyes are located along the sides of the head.

To escape from the hot temperature they usually go under burrows or beneath the rocks. They come out for hunting only at night. They usually eat insects, spiders, beetles.

Slender Mongoose 

In the Sahara these are the most common form of Mongoose. The average lifespan of slender Mongoose is 10 years in the wild. They are small sized animals with the height of 10-15 inches and length of tail is about 9-13 inches. Their body weight is 500-755 grams. They are called Slender Mongoose since they have a slim and long body. Lower portion of these animals are very tiny. Males are more dominant and bigger than the females.

Addax Antelope

15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara Addax
Image by eliza28diamonds from Pixabay

 Addax antelope are the species most adapted to desert living. They have the curled long horns to fight in emergency situations and they have the ability to change their coat color. These endangered species and left only 400 in the world.  They have a height between 100-120 centimeters and weigh up to 124 kilograms. They are only became active in early morning and in evenings and rest during hot house. The coat of Addax Antelope plays a key role in regulating their temperature.

Saharan Silver Ants

This insect might be little in size however it has an exceptionally astonishing and unique versatile capacity. Its body has a gleaming appearance because of its silver-shaded hair. These hairs works as the ant’s protective layer from the extreme heat of the sun. This layer is likewise their best survivable quality. It directs their eating regimen, their everyday activities, and how to remain safe from their predators. Unlike many others in the list these ant stay at home during night and by day they only come out at the noon when the sun is at its full peak. They just have a 10-minute window to assemble their food so they need to move fast. After 10 minutes their chances of survival decreases so they have very short time to gather food. They have an amazing defense mechanisms and scientists till this date studying them to build better technology.

Desert Crocodiles

15 Adaptive Animals that Live in the Sahara Crocodile
Image by TeeFarm from Pixabay

These are known as the western African crocodiles. They can also be found in the forests of west and central Africa. A normal Desert Crocodile has a length of 5 to 8 feet long from the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. The grown-up female can develop to a body length of 10 to 13 feet. The grown-up male can grow up to 20 feet in body length. Its weight is around 2,000 pounds or 900 kilograms.

They are protective parents and continually guarding their homes against all enemies. When it is the ideal opportunity for their infants to turn out, the two guardians will assist their children with hatching. They will put the eggs inside their mouths and break each egg tenderly utilizing their tongues.

Compared to the Nile crocodiles these are smaller in size and less aggressive. In any case, there are few assaults on people that has actually led to deaths.

Sherazi Shahzad

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