Hot Desert (Kalahari desert)

The Kalahari Desert is in South Western Africa. It is in parts of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. It is one of three deserts in Africa.

Climate in the Kalahari Desert

  • To qualify as a desert, a region must have less than 10 inches of rainfall per year on Average.
  • A desert also has high loss of water through evaporation and transpiration.
  • The Kalahari averages 8 inches of rainfall per year, but can get anywhere from 5 to 10 inches of rainfall per year.
  • The Kalahari gets as hot as 115 degrees Fahrenheit, and as cold as 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • November-March is the wet season, April-October is the dry season.

The Kalahari Desert receives more rainfall then most deserts and is considered a semi-desert. As shown in the chart, Deserts/Polar Tundras make up most of the land surface in the world. Hot Deserts are typically found 15-30 degrees north of the equator, and 15-30 degrees south of the equator. Hot deserts are not very diverse, with a very low concentration of organisms in the biome.

The Soil Quality in the Kalahari during the dry season is very poor, only some grasses, cacti and specially adapted trees survive the dry season. In the Wet Season, fertility of the soil increases dramatically and leads to much plant growth.
The Prickly Pear Cactus is an invasive species in the Kalahari that was introduced as a way to make dye for exporting to other countries, they were purposely introduce by people who brought them back from colonies in the New World.
The African wild dog is an endangered species in the Kalahari Desert. It is endangered because Farmers kill it because they are worried it will attack their livestock (overharvesting in HIPPCO), Habitat loss from human settlements ( H in HIPPCO), and they are very easily affected by disease spread by domesticated animals (population in HIPPCO)
Kalahari Lions are a sub-species of the well known African Lion. Because they live in a place with less food to hunt for then most habitats, they hunt in smaller packs for smaller prey then most lions do. It also is a lighter color to help it blend in with the sandy environment while hunting.
The Gemsbok is a species of Oryx in the Kalahari desert. They can go days without water. They also feed at night when plants have more dew then during the day so they get food and water when they eat.
Meerkats live in the Kalahari desert. They are Immune to venom so they can eat snakes and scorpions. They also have a patch of skin on their belly to absorb heat after cold nights.
The Camelthorn Acacia is the most important plant in the Kalahari desert. It is specifically adapted for the harsh enviornment and provides shelter, shade, and nutrients to many animal species.
The Hoodia Gordonii is a shrub that grows in the Kalahari desert. It does very well in extremely high temperatures. The indigenous San people use this cactus to keep hunger and thirst at bay on long hunting trips.
The Devils claw plant is one of many plants that grow low to the ground, and spread themselves out far to get as much water as possible in this dry environment.

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