Zoology & Botany

fennec fox, camel, vulture, scorpion, snake - desert

Prepare a picture of/book about/a toy desert, fennec fox, camel, vulture, scorpion, snake in advance

(Show the picture of a desert) Say: Deserts cover about one fifth (20 percent) of the earth's land area. The desert is a harsh environment with very little rainfall and extreme temperatures. Because of these dry conditions, there is limited plant and animal life in deserts. Animals in the desert have adopted to cope with the lack of water, the extreme temperatures, and the shortage of food.

(Show the picture of a camel) Say: Camels are mammals with long legs, a big-lipped snout and a humped back. In addition to their humps, camels have other ways to adapt to their environment. They have a third, clear eyelid that protects their eyes from blowing sand. Two rows of long lashes also protect their eyes. Sand up the nose can be a problem, but not for camels. They can shut their nostrils during sand storms.

Humans have used camels as a means of transport for thousands of years. They can carry about 500 pounds on their backs, earning a nickname, "ships of the desert." Domestic camels are often the main source of meat, milk and even leather or wool products. Camels have played such an important role in Arabian culture that there are over 160 words for ‘camel’ in the Arabic language.

(Show the picture of a fennec fox) Say: The fennec fox is the smallest fox in the world. Its most distinctive feature is its unusually large ears, which also serve to dissipate heat. Fennec foxes have thick fur on the soles of their feet that protects them against the scorching hot sands of the desert! This fur also gives them greater traction while walking on loose sand. Fennec foxes are nocturnal animals meaning that they sleep in their burrows during the day and hunt for food above ground when it is dark.

(Show the picture of a vulture) Say: The vulture is a large, carnivorous bird that is most well known for its scavenging nature. A particular characteristic of vultures is a bald head, devoid of normal feathers that has been historically believed to help keep the head clean when feeding. Vultures may remain aloft for hours, soaring gracefully on long, broad wings. Vultures are of great value as scavengers, especially in hot regions. Vulture stomach acid is exceptionally corrosive, allowing them to safely digest putrid carcasses infected with bacterias that would be lethal to other scavengers.

(Show the picture of a scorpion) Say: Scorpions are arthropods; they have eight legs, two pedipalps, and a tail with a venom-injecting barb. Scorpions have two venom glands that produce venom used in hunting and self defense. Scorpions do not have bones instead they have an exoskeleton made of chitin, which is similar to the shell of a shrimp. Scorpions are generally nocturnal animals meaning that they spend the day under rocks and in crevices and then come out to hunt in the safety of darkness. Scorpions are carnivorous animals and paralyze their prey using the venomous sting on the end of their tail so that the scorpion can eat it without trouble. (Show the picture of a snake) Say: Snakes are elongated, limbless, flexible reptiles. Their body shape depends on the habitat in which they live. Aquatic snakes usually have a flattened body; those living in trees are long and slender with a prehensile tail while burrowing snakes tend to be compact. Snakes have internal ears but not external ones. Since they don't have legs snakes use their muscles and their scales to do the "walking". To avoid daytime heat, many desert animals are nocturnal; they burrow beneath the surface or hide in the shade during the day, emerging at night to eat.

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