Though we're taught that much of the Earth is covered in water, in fact, deserts make up one third of Earth's land surface, and that amount is growing every year!
We all know deserts are dry, but did you know that the Mojave has an average rainfall of only five inches? For comparison, the average rainfall in Mobile, AL is sixty-seven inches. There are even parts of the Atacama Desert in Chile where no rainfall has ever been recorded!
The Mojave Desert is home to Death Valley, which gets its name from being the lowest, driest, and hottest place in North America.
The scarab beetle is an essential part of life in the Sahara Desert. It's also known as the "dung beetle" because they are able to survive almost entirely on animal feces. They roll dung into a ball and push it or dig a new burrow next to a heap of dung in which they live. What a life, huh?
If you're a true desert lover, there is an annual ultramarathon (yes, ultramarathon) held each year in the Sahara Desert called the Marathon des Sables. It is a six-day 156 mile trek through the sands. It is, unsurprisingly, considered the toughest foot race on the planet.
If you are stranded in the desert, we hope you have your phone and some Wi-Fi so you can look at this list and learn that prickly pear cactus is your best option for water and nourishment. Some species of cacti could give you headaches and diarrhea, so choose your prickly partner wisely.
Thought the desert may seem, well, deserted, it's actually home to an incredibly diverse array of plants and animals. In fact, only rain forests have a more diverse ecosystem.
The first dinosaur eggs discovered were found in the Gobi desert in 1923 by an expedition led by the American Museum of Natural History. So really, we have the desert to thank for Jurassic Park.
An adult desert tortoise can survive more than a year without water and can tolerate temperatures that exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Betcha no hare could do that!
The largest desert in the world is Antarctica! You heard that right: a desert doesn't have to be sweltering hot. It just has to lose more moisture than it gains. And Antarctica is quite dry, with an average annual precipitation of only eight inches.