Lesson Worksheet: Adaptations of Desert Organisms Science

In this worksheet, we will practice describing the conditions of a desert, and outlining adaptations that plants and animals have to survive in a desert.


Which of the following best describes the conditions of a desert, such as the Sahara?

  • AA rapidly changing environment that experiences many different weather events
  • BA relatively warm and humid environment, home to many species of plants
  • CA very dry environment that receives little sunlight
  • DA hot and dry environment, with very few sources of food or water


Which of the following is a structural (physical) adaptation that would benefit a plant living in the desert?

  • AHaving a thick layer of fat underneath the waxy covering of the leaves
  • BHaving a large, fleshy stem in which to store water
  • CBecoming dormant (inactive) during the winter months
  • DGrowing exclusively in the shade


Which of the following is a behavioral adaptation that would benefit an organism living in the desert?

  • AFinding shade during the hottest part of the day
  • BHibernating during the summer months
  • CHaving a thick layer of fat underneath the skin
  • DHaving large ears and feet to allow heat loss


Complete the sentence: Even in very hot temperatures, desert animals like camels and Arabian oryx regulate body temperature by very rarely .

  • Astaying still
  • Bsweating
  • Cbreathing
  • Dreproducing
  • Emoving


Complete the sentence: Desert animals like camels and Arabian oryx have wide feet so they .

  • Acan store more water
  • Bcan sweat through the soles
  • Cdo not sink into the sand when walking
  • Dcan absorb more heat from the sand
  • Ecan store more fat


Camels can consume large amounts of water in one go, and their intestines are specially adapted to absorb most of the water from their food. Why is this an advantage when living in the desert?

  • AThey do not produce as much waste.
  • BThey can survive a long time without access to water.
  • CThey can digest larger amounts of food.
  • DLonger intestines allow them to regulate their body temperature better.


Which of the following is not an advantage for a cactus to have spines and thorns?

  • AThey fall out when the cactus has enough water and regrow when water is scarce.
  • BThey prevent herbivores from eating it and accessing its water stores.
  • CThey help condense water at night when the temperature is cooler.
  • DThey reflect the sunlight so the plant does not overheat.


Complete the sentence: Cacti have large and fleshy stems to store .

  • Asoil
  • Boxygen
  • Cnitrogen
  • Dwater


The photograph shows a tillandsia plant, or air plant. These plants have adapted to rely on their leaves instead of their roots to absorb their nutrients and moisture from the air. What type of adaptation is that?

Tillandsia on white background
  • AStructural
  • BBehavioral


Which of the following is not a usual challenge of life in hot deserts?

  • ALack of shade
  • BLittle water and food availability
  • CSandy environment
  • DHot nights

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