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Edible Plants – Sahara Desert

Researchers have discovered a lot of evidence that the Sahara desert was once a much wetter area, where 1000’s of different animals and plants once thrived. Elephants, wild cats and giraffes are depicted in the ancient art of the region. While the Saharan cheetah occasionally occurs in the desert, the rest of these species have become extinct and no longer inhabit the region, instead living in areas that have a greater variety and quantity of plant life and water resources. Although so many species of animals have died out or migrated from the Sahara desert, many still remain and rely on the native Sahara vegetation for food. There are three specific species of animals that feed on these Sahara desert plants.

About forty species of rodents thrive in the hot, dry climates of the Sahara desert. They dig underground canals and survive beneath the surface of the desert, shielded from the brutal heat and predatory carnivores that also roam the Sahara. Rodents come out at night to forage for various plants, seeds and roots.

When one pictures the Sahara desert, one almost immediately envisions a camel strolling along. The camel is, in fact, designed to thrive in desert conditions. Camels can go over a fortnight without any food at all, and what little food they do consume is very simple: clumps of dry grass found along the surface of the Sahara.

The addax is native to the Sahara desert and is the largest of the species still living there. They resemble deer and migrate in groups. The addax is another herbivore that eats clumps of grass that grow along the sand dunes of the Sahara.

As you can see, the plants of the Sahara desert are very important to the ecology of the region, providing food for many species that thrive in the otherwise harsh desert climate. If these plants were to die, it would set off a damaging chain reaction. The herbivores mentioned above would become extinct, and in turn the larger, carnivorous animals that prey on them, such as snakes and foxes, would also die out quickly.

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