A description of the conditions found in a desert habitat, featuring the adaptations that the fringe-toed lizard and the camel need to survive in this harsh environment. The presenter describes the sand and heat of the desert before explaining how the fringe-toed lizard has adapted to the environment by keeping out the sand with u-bend nostrils and large scales to grip the loose sand. It hides from the heat under the sand. He then talks about the camel, which stores almost all of its body fat in its hump and can live on this for weeks at a time. The camel has several other ways of coping with the sand and heat.

First broadcast:
10 October 2007

Before watching this clip students could discuss what they believe it would be like to live in the desert. They could compile a list of environmental challenges that animals which inhabit this arid area must overcome in order to survive. Students could use their prior knowledge to brainstorm the things an animal might do, or any physical features they may have, to help survive these challenges. This list of solutions could then be added to after watching the clip. Students could conduct further research into other desert animals such as kangaroo rats, meerkat or desert toad, and consider the ways in which their physical and behavioural characteristics have adapted. Challenge students to use all of these researched adaptations to design the perfect desert animal.

Alternatively, students could conduct an experiment to investigate how well suited camel’s feet are to walking on the hot sand of the desert, and consider how to use this information to design the perfect shoe for wearing on the beach or in the desert. Using a sandpit, students could test a range of shoes including high heels, trainers, flip flops or boots and consider which is easiest to walk on. They could also note that getting sand on their feet from the sandpit in class is very different to getting sand on your feet in the desert: it would burn their feet. Students could then use their findings to design the perfect pair of desert shoes.

Alternatively, students could research an endangered species, the reasons it is endangered, and present their findings to the class.