What Are Some Animals in the Semi-Arid Desert Biome?

By Nicole Crawford; Updated April 24, 2017
Bighorn sheep are common in semi-arid desert climates.

Semi-arid deserts are found in Europe, North America, Russia and northern Asia. They are similar to arid deserts but have more defined seasons, with long, hot summers and minimal rainfall during winter. Summer temperatures are not as intense as arid deserts, and nighttime temperatures tend to be cooler. In the United States, semi-arid deserts are found in Utah, Montana, and throughout the Great Basin, which stretches from California and Nevada to Mexico. The moderate climate of the semi-arid desert makes it a home to many animal species.

Jack Rabbits

Jack rabbits are a bit larger than normal rabbit breeds. Their habitat is not limited to the semi-arid desert, they also live in forests, prairies and grasslands. Jack rabbits are herbivores that feed on grasses, twigs, plants and tree bark. The jack rabbit adapted to the desert heat through bodily habits. For example, the rabbit's ears, which normally radiate heat, constrict and lay against the back in order to maintain lower body temperatures when temperatures above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

The desert bighorn sheep is common to areas such as the Arizona Strip, in northwest Arizona. As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, bighorn sheep tend to live in rocky areas with canyons, cliffs and washes, a common scene in semi-arid desert environments. The desert bighorn sheep can survive on small quantities of water, and can even take water from desert succulent plants.

Pronghorn Antelope

The pronghorn antelope is common to prairies and deserts. They are native to America and do not live in any other countries. They are not actually members of the antelope family, but belong to their own family, which contains five species. Three of these species are found in deserts. Desert pronghorns feed on cacti, grasses, weeds and other plants, and they can live on very small amounts of water.

About the Author

Nicole Crawford is a NASM-certified personal trainer, doula and pre/post-natal fitness specialist. She is studying to be a nutrition coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher. Nicole contributes regularly at Breaking Muscle and has also written for "Paleo Magazine," The Bump and Fit Bottomed Mamas.