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While we humans, struggling with the first warm weather, we are unable to walk a few meters without air conditioning, in the hottest terrestrial deserts there are those who can endure far worse temperatures without the help of technology. The animals that inhabit them have evolved physical and behavioral devices that help them keep cool even when the thermometer does not forgive, and to survive other prohibitive conditions (such as abundance of predators and food shortages). Let's see what these "tricks" are: you never know, they could come in handy.

The adaptation of this desert devil (Moloch orridus) is hidden among its "thorns": the scales covering it are in fact covered with tiny channels that absorb the little water available in the Australian Outback and convey it to the corners of the mouth of the reptile. A sort of blotting paper to always have a liquid source available.

Something similar also does a Namibian beetle, the Stenocara gracilipes, which uses, however, a different source of water: the condensation that forms in the desert where it lives early in the morning, when its habitat is hit by a thick fog. The insect has learned to remain still and let the droplets of moisture condense on its body. Then, by gravity, these liquids reach up to its jaws.

Some researchers have studied the hydrophilic materials of its shell to create tissues capable of self-breathing of water even in places where the water is more inaccessible.

At the end of the rainy season in the African savannah, the bullfrog of the genus Pyxicephalus digs a cavity 15-20 centimeters in the ground, and shelters there protected by a mucus sac secreted by itself. The mucus hardens making them a shield, a barrier that will keep it in a state of hibernation even for very long periods: up to 7 years. At the first rains of the following season, the membrane starts to soften again: for the frog it is the signal of the end of hibernation.

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A portable umbrella always at hand, to be lifted effortlessly: the xero of the head (Xerus inauris) originating in the drier areas of South Africa, uses the thick hairy tail to shade itself and cover the back and the head. Always for thermoregulation needs, it often rolls in the sand.

The pàcari (fam. Tayassuidae), mammals related to pigs living in Central and South America, have learned to feed on cacti without feeling the damage of thorns: in this way they stock up on food and at the same time liquids (the in fact, succulents contain large amounts of water).

Moving sideways instead of frontally guarantees a Namibia desert viper, the Bitis peringueyi, to hold on to the sand dunes, but above all to support each time only two ends of the long body on the hot sand.

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The lack of sweat glands in the lower limbs could create problems for kangaroos. Fortunately, Australian mammals have developed another trick to cool off: lick their paws and let the heat evaporate, lowering their body temperature.

The black color around the eyes of the meerkats absorbs sunlight preventing it from reflecting in the pupils, sheltering the animals from the Sun and allowing them to see clearly during daylight hours (as opposed to nocturnal predators like the lion that have no particular eye protection).

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Ears as large as those of the fennec, a small fox of the deserts of North Africa, do not only serve to capture even the most imperceptible vibrations of the soil (and more easily find the insects on which it feeds). Their role is to dissipate heat, through the blood vessels of which they are innervated.

The addax or antelope from the vine to horns (Addax nasomaculatus) needs very little water to survive. His secret? A clever change of clothes: in summer its coat is white, to reflect the sun's rays and keep cool; in winter it darkens, to absorb the heat available.

The males of the Pteroclidae family, feathered that populate the African and Asian deserts, soak the feathers of the scarce water resources available and fly to the nest, where they squeeze their wings like sponges to give to their companions and brood to drink.

More like worms than reptiles, the blind lizards of the Typhlacontias brevipes species solve the problem of burning sand by living under it. They capture the insects they feed on in tunnels that dig underground in the Namibian desert, where temperatures are lower.

In order not to expel precious liquids with urine in American deserts, already poor in water resources, the road runner (Geococcyx californianus) that we all know with the name Beep beep, eliminates excess salts from his body through a gland positioned just near to the eyes.

The gazella dorcade (Gazella dorcas) native to North Africa does not even need to drink, because it takes with the food all the liquids it needs. His urine is very concentrated, to avoid expelling precious liquids.

In a habitat where food is scarce, it would be a pity to miss out on one of the few food resources available. Thus the common real snakes (gen. Lampropeltis) have become immune to the poison of their main antagonists, the rattlesnakes. And indeed, they turned them into their favorite dish.

In an inhospitable environment like the deserts of North Africa and the Near East, even the smallest blood loss could be difficult to manage. Fortunately, rodents of the genus Acomys have a particularly thin skin that heals in a very short time, minimizing cutting damage.

In addition to the humps able to cram the reserves of excess fat, camels and dromedaries have a series of other desert-proof features: very long eyelashes to protect the eyes from the sand, a thick coat in the ears and closable nostrils for the same purpose, and flat and calloused legs to walk easily on the sand.

Instead of accumulating fat in the humps, the monster of Gila (fam. Helodermatidae), a large saurian that lives in the American deserts, crowds the stocks of lipids in the tail. In this way it can survive underground for several months, before a new meal. Here we see him eating some eggs and accumulating energy.

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Without water or food, scorpions can slow down their metabolism and enter a state of hibernation that can last up to a year. Unlike other animals that go into hibernation, however, even in these periods they manage to react to the attacks of predators with lightning reflexes.

That of the Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater), a lizard of the family of iguanas that inhabits the deserts of California, Mexico, Utah and Nevada, is not really a adaptation to the heat, but it is a perfect defensive behavior for the desert habitat in which it lives. When his predators try to draw him out of the cracks of the rocks in which he hides, the reptile inflates the folds of skin that cover him like a puffer, making it impossible to extract him from his refuge.

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The adaptation of this desert devil (Moloch orridus) is hidden among its "thorns": the scales covering it are in fact covered with tiny channels that absorb the little water available in the Australian Outback and convey it to the corners of the mouth of the reptile. A sort of blotting paper to always have a liquid source available.