Plants & Animals in the Australian Desert


Much of the continent of Australia is made up of desert. The environment is hot and dry, but plants and animals still live there. The main deserts in Australia are the Western Desert, Great Victoria Desert, Gibson Desert and Simpson Desert. The desert regions of Australia are largely uninhabited, but there are some indigenous people that live in the deserts.

Plant Life

  • Plants that live in the Australian deserts are extraordinarily sturdy. Spinifex grasses live in most of the deserts. After rainfall, the Western Desert blooms with triodia grasses, acacias and other small shrubs. But if there is no rainfall, there is not much more than spinifex in Australia. The Australian deserts differ from American deserts because there are not as many cacti or succulent plants in Australia.

Cold-Blooded Animals

  • Reptiles and amphibians are able to regulate their temperature to adapt with the hot desert environment, but many of them still bury into the sands during the day to get away from the brutal sun. Lizards and water-holding frogs are commonly found in the Great Victorian Desert. Monitor lizards, thorny devils, bearded dragons and goannas are the most common lizards found throughout the Australian deserts. There are some snakes in the Australian Outback.

Warm-Blooded Animals

  • The most common mammals found in the Australian deserts are marsupials. Most common are kangaroos, which live in the Western Desert, along with dingos and feral camels. Marsupial moles live in the Great Victoria Desert. Small mice live in northern desert areas of Australia, as well as unique furry animals like bilbies. There are a number of bird species that live in the desert as well, including the grey falcon, painted snipe and freckled duck. Large emu also live on desert lands.

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