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The Desert Around Dubai is Alive With Wild Life

Updated on January 14, 2020
emge profile image

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places

Desert scene
Desert scene
Arabian leopard
Arabian leopard

Introducing the Desert

The Arabian peninsula is a significant landmass in Eastern Asia. The peninsula houses a sheikhdom consisting of 9 small states who have joined together to form the United Arab Emeritus. One of the significant places in this Emeritus is Dubai. It is a mega-metropolis located on the edge of the Arabian peninsula abutting the Arabian Sea. The entire Arabian peninsula is desert land dotted by arid mountains.

This vast wilderness, where (to quote Lawrence of Arabia) the heat comes out “like a drawn sword”, blankets the Arabian Peninsula. Its indeed a hot place and the desert sand has a peculiarity that results in a temperature difference of almost 50 degrees between the night and day.

The desert is very sparsely populated and only a few nomadic tribes used to live in the vast expanse of sand close to an oasis. The vehicle for communication was the camel but times have changed and now you have the land cruiser and Sand Scooter.

One may get a feeling that this vast expanse of the desert beyond the city of Dubai is empty and devoid of wildlife. On the face of it, it looks likely but the desert is alive with a variety of wild animals and wildlife inhabit this land.

The wildlife of this area may look very sparse but it is very vibrant. Only those animals have survived in the desert who could mutate and assimilate the great heat and dry climate. This survival of this wildlife is an excellent laboratory test of Darwin's theory of evolution.

A trip into the desert dunes is something exciting and if one wants to observe the wildlife of this desert region then the period between twilight and sunset is the best because that is the time these animals come out.

Sand viper
Sand viper

Wild life

Wildlife and the desert are friends only within parameters. That means that only those animals can survive which has been able to adjust to the high temperatures and scarcity of water.

The heat does inhibit wildlife but animals who have survived hundreds of years I temperature in the desert, as well as extreme heat hardy animals and they, make their presence felt once the sunsets. Most animals in the desert spend long periods in holes underground and there are many others like the sand skink and sand boa which have the peculiarity to move just below the surface of the sand. Many species come out only at night when the desert is cooler.

Desert scene with Arabian Gazelle
Desert scene with Arabian Gazelle

Reptiles

One species of animals that thrive in this desert scenario are the snakes and reptiles. A vast number of such species move around in the desert. These are the main animals in the desert. They consist of desert lizards and monitors. Some of them are nearly a meter long. Many other types of Lizards, snakes, also survive in the desert sands. The desert viper is the most common and it has a deadly poisonous sting. A vast number of snakes that have adapted to the heat also live in the desert and they will only come out after the sunsets.

There are many other species of snakes that are in some abundance. They are Wadi or Arabian racer, Leaf-nosed snake, Hooded Malpolon, or Arabian cobra, Sand Racer, and the camel snake.

Arabian Falcon
Arabian Falcon

Other Wildlife


Birds are the hardest hit by these extreme temperatures. They are animals who do not have the luxury of burrowing under the sand or stay in holes. They thus follow their instincts. Many birds migrate to colder regions during the summer but a few species have mutated and adapted to the desert. Birds that have adapted to the harsh environment are the desert eagle, long-legged buzzard, little owl and the brown necked raven. Other animals from this class that are available are the cream-colored courser and the black-crowned finch. During the winter months, these local species are joined by migratory birds from central Asia like the warbler and hauberk bustard.

The Falcon is a much-loved bird in the UAE. It is a resilient bird and survives in the hot desert. Many Arabs keep falcons as pets. They are a variant of the Arabian eagle. When I was in Dubai an Arab friend loaned me a falcon and I was able to get it photographed with the bird sitting on my army, which has to be protected from the falcon's claws with protective armor.

Mammals

Mammals fare worse than birds and reptiles. High temperatures have taken a toll on them and during the last century, we have witnessed the slow extinction of many mammals. The Arabian leopard is now rarely seen. The sand cat another desert species is almost on the verge of extinction. Despite the heavy toll on mammals' life, there are some varieties of animals that have survived. Among them are species of the wolf, striped hyaena and jackal.

One animal that has adjusted to the desert is the Arabian Gazelle. Two species of Gazelle have been observed all around the desert in Dubai. The mountain Gazelle is one of them. These animals look very picturesque with the background of the dunes and the desert.


Sand cat
Sand cat

Last word

The desert has a charm of its own. Even the summer months give you an entirely different view of the world. However, the best part of the desert is when the spring rains come. With the change in climate these days, the showers have increased and this has resulted in a change in the vegetation pattern of the desert.

The desert also attract tourists in vast numbers who would like to savor the delight of the desert and the way the Beduin live in their camps and belly dancers with a stiff peg of whiskey and the setting sun


Comments

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    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Chitra for sparing time and commenting

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      15 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Interesting and informative article about the desert around Dubai.

      Love the pictures of the desert area and the animals, found there.

      Nature is beautiful and it never fails to amaze us. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Sam sand dunes of Rajasthan. The Sunset view of the deserts is so beautiful.

      Thanks for sharing this excellent information.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Liz, I am glad you liked the article. Thanks for commenting

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      15 months ago from UK

      This is an interesting and well-illustrated article. Often we can overlook deserts as lifeless places, but you have set the record straight.

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Shaloo for commenting

    • swalia profile image

      Shaloo Walia 

      15 months ago from India

      I wasn't aware that one can find leopard, wolves and hyeanas in desert. Nice, informative hub!

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Akram for commenting

    • profile image

      Mohammed Akram 

      15 months ago

      Nice article on wildlife in the desert

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you Manatita, yers Dubai has a varied desert wild life. Thank you for commenting

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      15 months ago from london

      I like this article as it is a welcome break from the politics and a look at this strategic side of the world. So hot! It is amazing that creatures survive there. Still, it has its own charm and I believe that Dubai has built a Palm on the sea, no?

      Interesting sand cat and falcon

    • emge profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh emge 

      15 months ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Pamela. So sweet of you to have commented. I had a falcon sitting on my gloved forearm and it was an awesome experience.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      15 months ago from Sunny Florida

      I would love to see the falcon or maybe some of the animals but I could do without the snakes. I have never met a snake I liked. i did enjoy reading your article about this desert, the extreme temperatures and all the wildlife.

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