A desert is any large region that gets very little rain each year. Very few plants or animals live in desert areas.
Deserts cover about 20 percent of Earth’s land surface. All the continents have them. Deserts differ greatly in their land features. They may include dunes of shifting sand, mountains, bare rock, and plains of gravel and boulders.
Deserts may be hot or cold. In hot deserts daytime temperatures are often above 100 ° F (38 ° C) in summer. The temperature drops sharply at night. The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert. Cold deserts are farther from the equator than hot deserts. Though they are very dry, the main reason they have few plants is that it is so cold there. A cold desert covers much of Antarctica.
Gobi in Inner Mongolia is a cold desert.
Desert plants and animals have features that help them survive in the dry climate. Some plants have special roots that help them absorb the small amount of water that is available. Cacti and yuccas are common desert plants. Desert animals include camels, gazelles, snakes, lizards, and small rodents.
"Desert." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 19 Sep. 2016. school.eb.com/levels/elementary/article/346108. Accessed 5 Dec. 2016.