6 Unique Animals in Sahara Desert You Never Know

The Sahara Desert is the largest desert in the world. This desert is full of large oasis depressions, shallow basins, sand seas, dunes and sheets, rocky plateaus, mountains and gravel plains.

All of us know how hot it is in the Sahara, however, there are still hundreds of animal species inhabiting and thriving there. You can also read these specific kind of desert animals you must know.

These animals are well adapted to the extreme conditions in the region. Their bodies are also well-equipped so that they can survive in the cruelty of nature.

So, let’s see each of these animals that inhabit Sahara Desert along with their unique characteristics.

  • Saharan Cheetah

Cheetahs, one of the fastest land animals in the world, can also be found in Sahara Desert. They are known as Northwest African cheetahs or Saharan cheetahs. Their bodies and behavior are adapted well to the physical conditions of the desert.

These cheetahs are more active at night so that they can avoid the extreme heat of the desert sun as well as to conserve water. They feed mainly on antelopes, hares and other small mammals. Interestingly, they can survive without drinking water for a number of days.

Compared to the other species of cheetahs, Saharan cheetahs are a bit different. They have shorter coats and their color is almost white. The color of the spots ranges from black to bright brown. The size is a bit smaller compared to the other kinds too.

Have you ever got confused to determine cheetah and leopards? Make sure to read these differences between leopard and cheetah and don’t get confused anymore.

  • Dorcas Gazelles

Dorcas gazelles are mainly found in Sahara Desert and some regions in North Africa. Their body is well adapted to live in dry areas like sand dune fields, wadis, semi-deserts, and savannahs. They are herbivores and they mainly feed on the Pancratium plants.

The Dorcas gazelles are considered as one of the smallest animals in the world. Females weigh around 12 kilograms and the males weigh 16 kilograms.

They have various colors, depending on the location in the Sahara Desert. Their color ranges from ocher, reddish-brown or pale. All of them have a white underbelly.

  • Fennec Fox

Fennec fox, the smallest fox in the world, is about 9.5 inches to 16 inches from the head down to the body. It has ears that are not just used for hearing, they are also used for releasing heat and keeping them cool.

Fennec foxes are mostly found in North Africa and in the sandy areas of the Sahara Desert. These foxes are active at night so that they don’t have to deal with the burning heat of the sun during the day to hunt for food. They are equipped with long thick fur to protect their bodies from cold nights and hot days.

They live in underground holes. They usually live in a community composed of 10 individuals led by males.

  • Dung Beetles

The Sahara Desert is not inhabited by mammals and big animals. You can also find beetles there. Dung beetles, the kind of beetles that love to do work that humans hate. They are small and doing dirty work so that the ecosystem can be kept healthy.

They love animal dung so that they can get their food. Their mouth have some special parts that they use to get nutrients from the droppings of the other animals.

However, they won’t eat any animals’ droppings. Instead, they choose the dungs (droppings) only from the plant-eating animals, such as elephants, horses, sheep and others. No wonder, they are used as one of the natural methods to control flies on cattle.

  • African Wild Dogs

Also known as African hunting dogs, African wild dogs are equipped with unique patterns on their coat, consisting of black, brown, yellow and white colors.

Their bodies are slim and they have slender legs. They are about 5 feet long and their body weight is about 80 pounds. The distinctive feature of this dog is each of their paws has only 4 toes.

African wild dogs can be found in woodlands, savannahs, and grasslands throughout the Sahara Desert. They are carnivores and they mainly feed on gazelles, impalas, antelopes and zebras.

They live in a pack consisting of 20 individuals, mostly males. Each pack has two alphas: an alpha male and an alpha female.

  • Horned Viper

Horned viper is one of the most poisonous snakes in the world. Horned vipers can be found in the Sahara Desert, especially where the climate is semi-arid.

Their name derives from their horns, which they use to protect their eyes from the sand as well as to blend in the environment for protection.

Horned vipers are nocturnal animals as they are more active at night. They hunt for food at night. They love to bury themselves in the sand in order to hide from their enemies and prey.

Viper is also listed as one of the venomous snakes in Indonesia. Beware of their existence.