One of our popular trips here at Bushmasters is our desert survival course, which takes place in Jordan. If you’re going to get by out there with us, you’re going to need to adapt. That’s exactly what the wildlife of Jordan has already done, so we’re looking to them for some inspiration in our latest post.
Obviously we realise that people can’t exactly copy the traits of the creatures we’re talking about here, but it’s always interesting to take a look at some of mother nature’s unusual inventions. We’re not saying you’ll meet all of these animals on one of our trips, either, but they’re used to living in the same environment that you’ll be fighting for survival in.
Where else could we start? The camel is perhaps the most well-known of all desert animals, with its unusual looks and rumoured irritable nature common knowledge. Another fact that is common knowledge, about the camel’s humps, is actually not a fact at all; the idea that these desert animals store water in their humps might seem to make sense, but is completely false. Instead, the humps are essentially fat reserves, which provide energy to the camel when metabolised. The humps decrease in size the longer the animal goes without food.
Other adaptations of the camel include its feet, which are large and flat to help spread its weight across the sand, and its thick fur, which offers protection for the animal’s skin from the sun.
The Arabian Oryx might not look particularly different to other species of antelope, but its adaptations make it perfectly suited to the harsh conditions of the desert. For example, its ability to transform stored body fats into metabolic water means hydration rarely becomes a problem, even during the dry seasons. These animals also frequently dig holes in the ground, so they can access cooler sand.
Arguably the most notable physical feature of the desert fox is the size of the creature’s ears. Their large surface area means that they radiate body heat, helping the animal stay cool during the hot parts of the day. Their hair is thick, protecting their skin from the merciless sun, and their feet from the burning surface of the ground. The fennec fox also tends to stay burrowed away during the hottest parts of the day, to conserve energy and water.
There are a number of different sub-species of scorpion that inhabit the sands of Jordan, but the animal is one that, in general, has adapted extremely well to its surroundings. The notorious arachnids (no, they’re not insects) are adept at extracting fluid from their prey to make up for the lack of water in their environment. They also have the ability to slow their metabolic rate, meaning they require less food than would otherwise be the case. Finally, their tail acts as a very effective defence mechanism against any potential predators, with its painful, venomous point.
They key point to consider with all of these desert animals is the fact that they’ve changed significantly because of their surroundings. Granted, they’ve done so naturally, and over an extended period of time, but the message is still important: to survive, you’ve got to adapt.
We’ll teach you how to do that, too. On our desert ventures, you’re taught how to ride horses and successfully navigate through the desert. We’ll then leave you to survive a simulated situation, working as part of a small group. Think you can handle it? If you do, then head over our dates and costs page for information about our upcoming trips.