5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Desert. Here at the Wild Tales, we’re experts in all things Guyana. From adventure travel and ecotourism initiatives to jungle filming and survival courses, we definitely know our way around this South American country.
But we also know a lot about different kinds of environments and ecosystems, such as deserts.
If you want to know more about the desert, keep reading. Here are five interesting facts about the desert.
FROM ONE EXTREME TO THE OTHER
When we think about deserts, most of us probably think of hot, sandy places like the Sahara Desert or the Kalahari Desert. We imagine towering sand dunes glistening in the heat of the desert sun.
And yes, the desert is generally accepted as being pretty hot – the Sahara can reach temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).
But once the sun goes down, temperatures in the desert can easily fall to well below freezing.
That’s because there’s not enough humidity (i.e. moisture) in the desert air to retain the heat. Once the sun sets, the temperature drops quickly and dramatically. These extremes of temperature are very characteristic in sandy desert environments – but as we’ll see in a minute, not all deserts are hot.
AS COLD AS ICE
Africa’s Sahara Desert is probably the best-known desert in the world, and many people believe it’s the largest. But in reality, the Sahara is only the third-largest desert in the world.
The Antarctic and Arctic Deserts that sit at each pole of our planet are larger by surface area than all other deserts on Earth.
Again, most people don’t picture ice and snow when they think of a desert. But subtropical deserts like the Sahara are only one type of desert. The Arctic and Antarctic Deserts are polar ice and tundra deserts, but they’re still classified as deserts.
That’s because a desert isn’t defined by heat or sand, but by how dry it is – anywhere that receives under 40 centimetres (about 16 inches) of precipitation in a year is classified as a desert.
That means even somewhere covered with ice caps can be classified as a desert.
DAYS THAT NEVER END
In these polar deserts, the sun doesn’t set for 60 days at a time at the height of summer. In the Arctic Desert, for example, you can go months at a time without darkness.
Tourists from all over the world head as far north as north goes during summer to visit the land of the midnight sun. This incredible natural phenomenon occurs due to the curvature and tilt of the Earth, and the further north you go, the longer the sun stays in the sky.
VAST EXPANSES OF OUR PLANET
There’s a good reason that Earth is known as the Blue Planet. The majority of our planet’s surface is covered with water – about 70%.
But at the other extreme, approximately one-third of the planet’s surface is covered with desert. And with climate change and global heating already having a huge effect on the ecosystems and animal habitats around the world, this number is sure to change.
CREEPY CRAWLIES GALORE
Unsurprisingly, our planet’s deserts are home to some fascinating creatures and critters. Many of these animals are highly dangerous.
One such example is the inland taipan, a snake that has the most deadly venom in the world. The taipan lives in the desert landscapes of Australia and has adapted to kill warm-blooded species. In fact, just one bite is thought to have enough venom to kill up to ten people.
The good news, though, is that it’s a pretty shy animal and doesn’t tend to confront people. Phew!
ADVENTURE TRAVEL WITH THE WILD TALES
Has learning about deserts whet your appetite for some adventure tourism? Well, you’ve come to the right place.
We run fantastic adventure holidays to Guyana, including ranch stays, vaquero experiences and jungle survival courses.