• Fat plays an important role in the water metabolism, since its a natural way to store both energy and water. But there is a certain downside: the thicker the layer of fat is, the worse is thermoregulation. This is why desert animals store their fat only in one part of the body. For instance, camels have an essential stock of energy and water in their humps

  • Desert rodents like jerboa can easily live without extra water. They get all the liquid from food. Besides, they don't lose any water while sleeping in their damp and cool deep burrows during daytime

  • Siberian dwarf hamsters have been popular pets for a long time. They don't need any drinker or a water bowl, since their homeland, the deserts of Central Asia are not abundant in water. Couple of sips daily and fresh greens are enough for the animal

  • Stray cats don't even know how to drink. All the liquid they need they obtain from their prey, small birds and rodents

  • Sea water is good for the kitty if no other options are available. Since the cat's kidneys are working at maximum capacity, they are very prone to various diseases. Make sure your pet cat always has an access to clean drinking water

  • Fennecs, cute desert foxes, are gaining popularity as pets . Their funny ears are not only for your entertainment, it is a way of thermoregulation. This way they get rid of excess heat not losing any liquid

  • Thermoregulation in lions and other felines is directly related to their sleep-wake mode. They are active only when it is chilly outdoors, relaxing on the rocks during daytime. Lion cubs are exactly like human kids: they don't like to go to sleep and distract their moms

  • Pet rodents are as water-efficient as the wild ones. For example, hamsters need only one drinking bottle of water per week

  • Eagles fly high. And they need it in order not to die from desert heat. At the height of several kilometers sun only shines, but never burns. They are so used to such lifestyle that they can spot a prey and catch it from a height of one kilometer

  • Nightjar is a small and humble bird. But its body has developed special methods of dealing with the loss of fluid. For example , its feathers are almost perpendicular to the body, thus creating efficient ventilation during flight

Water Conservation:

How Does Mother Nature Do It

Why do cats sleep during the day and get rowdy by night? The answer is simple: to save water. Birds fluff feathers for cooling, while we lose liquid through sweating. This is Mother Nature's way to make even the most lifeless desert always be swarmed with animals. Da-Voda tells you about the most amazing ways of water conservation both in wild and domestic animals.

Sleepy During The Day, Awake At Night. This lifestyle is typical for all felines – both proud lions to ordinary domestic cats. Explanation of this habit is quite simple: lions inhabit arid African savannah, and cats were first domesticated in the Egyptian deserts. Over decades of evolution these animals worked out thir own ways to conserve water.

Running under the scorching sun, when ground temperature rises to 50 degrees, is not particularly nice for predators like all felines. That's why they hunt during the night, and sleep, when the sun is high. Cats were domesticated relatively recently in terms of millennia of evolution, therefore they haven't yet managed to break the habit of nocturnal rampage.

Kidneys Save Water. And so does the digestive system. That is why the smell of cat urine and excrements is so sharp: it is a very concentrated liquid, and the feces are normally dry lumps. Desert predators could easily live without any extra water, extracting the liquid they need from their prey's blood. Their kidneys are far more efficient than human. For example, no human could quench thirst with seawater, while felines are okay with that, drinking from the ocean and swallowing blood and other liquids from the tissues of their prey.

No Sweat To Save Water. In the heat we lose liters of moisture through sweat. There is no way to stop it, since sweating is a natural mechanism of thermoregulation. Otherwise, we would be dead from overheating. Desert animals never do it! Have you ever met a sweaty cat or a gerbil?

Unlike dogs, desert animals stick their tongue out to cool down only when the temperature is unbearably high. According to recent studies, their thermoregulation is directly related to circadian rhythms, which means that the animals go to sleep when it's too hot.

Fennec foxes, cute inhabitants of Sahara desert, are adorned (and adored for) large furry ears, which are, by the way, their own method of thermoregulation. These tiny canines never sweat, instead their body gets rid of excessive heat through ears.

Rodents Run For Water. Both jerboas and gerbils, rodents of arid areas, have a very special structure of hind limbs that let the animals run fast and cover long distances searching for food and avoiding predators.

One species of jerboa holds a world speed record among rodents can accelerate up to 25 km per hour. These small animals don't need extra water at all, because they easily obtain all the liquid from their food: leaves, seeds and small branches of bushes. They save up food in their burrows when it's available, and the stockpile sometimes is as much as 60 kilos! This is why desert rodents have to do so much running around during the wet season.

Feathers Keep The Liquid In. Birds in the deserts also used to saving every drop of precious liquid in the body. There are to major ways to do it. The first one is the height of flight: the higher you fly, the colder it is. Efficient thermoregulation leads to liquid loss control.

Another way is a special internal structure birds' bodies and feathering. For example, streaked scrub warblers, tiny birds, that inhabit deserts of Middle East and Western Asia, have a very lightweight heart comparing to their bodies. Thus, they manage to save up to 15% of liquid without any harm for their regular activities. It is also proven that excretory system of birds nesting in the desert adjusts to the environment and works differently than that of the same species nesting in more humid areas. Feces of desert birds are up to ten times more concentrated.

Oscillation of beak skinfold is also a very efficient method of thermoregulation. It has been adapted by nightjars: if the environment temperature reaches 43 degrees Celsius, their heat transfer rate is over 170%. Other ways of thermoregulation include air sacs that are essential for respiration and are used as bellows during the fight.

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