How do Desert Animals Use Thermoregulation to Cope With Hot Climates?
Rodents living in arid environments are much more efficient in conserving energy and water in comparison to their counterparts in mesic (moderately moist) habitats. Reduced resting metabolic rate and the use of non-shivering thermogenesis are important adaptations in the desert rat. The resting metabolic rate for desert rats at their thermoneutral zone are lower then predicted for their body mass according to allometric equations. Deviations from allometric equations can be due to environmental conditions as well as food quality and quantity. One desert-adapted species, Acomys cahirinus is nocturnal and loses relatively high amounts of water by evaporation. Its diet includes snails and green plants, both high in water contents, as well as camel and goat feces. A.cahirinus’ resting metabolic rate is again lower then the predicted value based on its body mass. When in cool Mediterranean habitats, A.cahirinus can lower its body temperature for several hours, even becoming hypothermic. Thi