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112 HONEYSUCKLE
1. DESERTS are the driest places on earth
and sometimes go for months, or even
years, without rain. But even the desert
animals cannot survive without water,
or for long periods in the scorching sun,
so they have had to find different ways
of coping with the harsh conditions. For
example, gerbils spend the hottest part
of the day in cool underground burrows.
And strange insects called darkling
beetles are experts at catching drops of
moisture on their legs, then lifting them
into the air until the drops trickle down
into their mouths. Not all deserts are
endless seas of rolling sand dunes.
Some are rocky or pebbly and dotted
with small bushes while others are
sprinkled with colourful flowers during
the spring.
2. There are more than 2300 different
kinds of snakes around the world,
ranging from just fifteen centimetres
long to more than eleven metres. Most
snakes are quite harmless — but there
scorching: very hot
gerbils: mouse-like
desert rodents with
long hind legs
dunes: heaps of
sand formed by
the wind
pebbly: stony
Before you read
Can you name some desert areas in India and the
world? Who do you think lives in such areas?
Desert Animals Desert Animals
9
2022-23
Page 2


112 HONEYSUCKLE
1. DESERTS are the driest places on earth
and sometimes go for months, or even
years, without rain. But even the desert
animals cannot survive without water,
or for long periods in the scorching sun,
so they have had to find different ways
of coping with the harsh conditions. For
example, gerbils spend the hottest part
of the day in cool underground burrows.
And strange insects called darkling
beetles are experts at catching drops of
moisture on their legs, then lifting them
into the air until the drops trickle down
into their mouths. Not all deserts are
endless seas of rolling sand dunes.
Some are rocky or pebbly and dotted
with small bushes while others are
sprinkled with colourful flowers during
the spring.
2. There are more than 2300 different
kinds of snakes around the world,
ranging from just fifteen centimetres
long to more than eleven metres. Most
snakes are quite harmless — but there
scorching: very hot
gerbils: mouse-like
desert rodents with
long hind legs
dunes: heaps of
sand formed by
the wind
pebbly: stony
Before you read
Can you name some desert areas in India and the
world? Who do you think lives in such areas?
Desert Animals Desert Animals
9
2022-23
DESERT ANIMALS 113
voles: small
plant-eating
rodents
chipmunks: small
ground squirrels
having light and
dark stripes
are a few that are so
poisonous they can kill a
human being with just one
bite. Most snakes lay eggs,
but there are many which
give birth to their young.  In
the dry, rocky deserts of
America lives a rather evil-
looking snake with a very bad
reputation. Its frightening
rattle can be heard as far as
thirty metres away, and it can strike
with lightning speed.
3. But the rattlesnake, or ‘rattler’ as it
is sometimes called, prefers to avoid
people if it possibly can.  It holds its tail
upright and rattles the end whenever it
is disturbed, in the hope that the
intruder will go away. However, if its
warnings are ignored—and it feels
threatened—it will coil ready to bite. But
the rattler itself cannot hear the noise
its own tail makes.  Like most snakes,
it ‘hears’ things through vibrations in
the ground. If a person walks nearby
the snake can feel the movement. But if
the same person were to shout, it would
not hear a thing. Rattlesnakes are very
common and widespread animals, living
right across the American continent
from Canada to Argentina.  They feed
on a variety of prey, including mice,
voles, rats, chipmunks and many other
2022-23
Page 3


112 HONEYSUCKLE
1. DESERTS are the driest places on earth
and sometimes go for months, or even
years, without rain. But even the desert
animals cannot survive without water,
or for long periods in the scorching sun,
so they have had to find different ways
of coping with the harsh conditions. For
example, gerbils spend the hottest part
of the day in cool underground burrows.
And strange insects called darkling
beetles are experts at catching drops of
moisture on their legs, then lifting them
into the air until the drops trickle down
into their mouths. Not all deserts are
endless seas of rolling sand dunes.
Some are rocky or pebbly and dotted
with small bushes while others are
sprinkled with colourful flowers during
the spring.
2. There are more than 2300 different
kinds of snakes around the world,
ranging from just fifteen centimetres
long to more than eleven metres. Most
snakes are quite harmless — but there
scorching: very hot
gerbils: mouse-like
desert rodents with
long hind legs
dunes: heaps of
sand formed by
the wind
pebbly: stony
Before you read
Can you name some desert areas in India and the
world? Who do you think lives in such areas?
Desert Animals Desert Animals
9
2022-23
DESERT ANIMALS 113
voles: small
plant-eating
rodents
chipmunks: small
ground squirrels
having light and
dark stripes
are a few that are so
poisonous they can kill a
human being with just one
bite. Most snakes lay eggs,
but there are many which
give birth to their young.  In
the dry, rocky deserts of
America lives a rather evil-
looking snake with a very bad
reputation. Its frightening
rattle can be heard as far as
thirty metres away, and it can strike
with lightning speed.
3. But the rattlesnake, or ‘rattler’ as it
is sometimes called, prefers to avoid
people if it possibly can.  It holds its tail
upright and rattles the end whenever it
is disturbed, in the hope that the
intruder will go away. However, if its
warnings are ignored—and it feels
threatened—it will coil ready to bite. But
the rattler itself cannot hear the noise
its own tail makes.  Like most snakes,
it ‘hears’ things through vibrations in
the ground. If a person walks nearby
the snake can feel the movement. But if
the same person were to shout, it would
not hear a thing. Rattlesnakes are very
common and widespread animals, living
right across the American continent
from Canada to Argentina.  They feed
on a variety of prey, including mice,
voles, rats, chipmunks and many other
2022-23
114 HONEYSUCKLE
predator: an animal
naturally preying
on others.
amusing:
interesting;
enjoyable.
forage: search for
food.
small animals. Rattlesnakes kill their
prey with venom. Like all snakes, they
swallow the unfortunate animals whole.
Few snakes have to eat more than once
a week and some, such as the larger
pythons, can survive for a year or more
without eating.
4. Mongooses like to hunt together,
but they always keep a lookout for
dangerous predators nearby. Poking
their noses into holes, overturning rocks
with their paws and scratching the
ground with their sharp claws, banded
mongooses are very amusing animals
to watch. A common sight in many parts
of Africa, they travel in groups of about
twenty to forage for beetles, millipedes
and other small creatures.
5. They like to
hunt together,
keeping in touch
whenever they go out
of sight behind rocks
or bushes by
twittering and calling.
Always on the lookout
for danger — hawks,
eagles and large
snakes — they warn
one another with a
special alarm call if
they spot anything
suspicious.
2022-23
Page 4


112 HONEYSUCKLE
1. DESERTS are the driest places on earth
and sometimes go for months, or even
years, without rain. But even the desert
animals cannot survive without water,
or for long periods in the scorching sun,
so they have had to find different ways
of coping with the harsh conditions. For
example, gerbils spend the hottest part
of the day in cool underground burrows.
And strange insects called darkling
beetles are experts at catching drops of
moisture on their legs, then lifting them
into the air until the drops trickle down
into their mouths. Not all deserts are
endless seas of rolling sand dunes.
Some are rocky or pebbly and dotted
with small bushes while others are
sprinkled with colourful flowers during
the spring.
2. There are more than 2300 different
kinds of snakes around the world,
ranging from just fifteen centimetres
long to more than eleven metres. Most
snakes are quite harmless — but there
scorching: very hot
gerbils: mouse-like
desert rodents with
long hind legs
dunes: heaps of
sand formed by
the wind
pebbly: stony
Before you read
Can you name some desert areas in India and the
world? Who do you think lives in such areas?
Desert Animals Desert Animals
9
2022-23
DESERT ANIMALS 113
voles: small
plant-eating
rodents
chipmunks: small
ground squirrels
having light and
dark stripes
are a few that are so
poisonous they can kill a
human being with just one
bite. Most snakes lay eggs,
but there are many which
give birth to their young.  In
the dry, rocky deserts of
America lives a rather evil-
looking snake with a very bad
reputation. Its frightening
rattle can be heard as far as
thirty metres away, and it can strike
with lightning speed.
3. But the rattlesnake, or ‘rattler’ as it
is sometimes called, prefers to avoid
people if it possibly can.  It holds its tail
upright and rattles the end whenever it
is disturbed, in the hope that the
intruder will go away. However, if its
warnings are ignored—and it feels
threatened—it will coil ready to bite. But
the rattler itself cannot hear the noise
its own tail makes.  Like most snakes,
it ‘hears’ things through vibrations in
the ground. If a person walks nearby
the snake can feel the movement. But if
the same person were to shout, it would
not hear a thing. Rattlesnakes are very
common and widespread animals, living
right across the American continent
from Canada to Argentina.  They feed
on a variety of prey, including mice,
voles, rats, chipmunks and many other
2022-23
114 HONEYSUCKLE
predator: an animal
naturally preying
on others.
amusing:
interesting;
enjoyable.
forage: search for
food.
small animals. Rattlesnakes kill their
prey with venom. Like all snakes, they
swallow the unfortunate animals whole.
Few snakes have to eat more than once
a week and some, such as the larger
pythons, can survive for a year or more
without eating.
4. Mongooses like to hunt together,
but they always keep a lookout for
dangerous predators nearby. Poking
their noses into holes, overturning rocks
with their paws and scratching the
ground with their sharp claws, banded
mongooses are very amusing animals
to watch. A common sight in many parts
of Africa, they travel in groups of about
twenty to forage for beetles, millipedes
and other small creatures.
5. They like to
hunt together,
keeping in touch
whenever they go out
of sight behind rocks
or bushes by
twittering and calling.
Always on the lookout
for danger — hawks,
eagles and large
snakes — they warn
one another with a
special alarm call if
they spot anything
suspicious.
2022-23
DESERT ANIMALS 115
6. Mongooses are famous for being able
to kill snakes without getting hurt
themselves. Their reactions are so fast
that they can dodge each time the snake
strikes. They continually make a
nuisance of themselves until, after a
while, when the snake gets tired, they
quickly dive in for the kill.
7. All the female mongooses have their
kitten at about the same time.  They
are raised by the whole group in a den
made inside an old termite mount or
hollow log.  When most of the adults
are out looking for food, one or two
males stay behind to stand guard until
the others return for the night.
8. Another animal which lives in the
desert is the camel. Camels were
first domesticated by people many
thousands of years ago. In the wild,
camels usually live in small groups of
up to thirty animals. Camels have long,
shaggy winter coats to keep warm and
shorter, tidier coats in the summer to
keep cool. A thirsty camel can drink as
much as thirty gallons of water — that’s
about five hundred full glasses — in
just ten minutes.  Normally, however,
it gets all the moisture it needs from
desert plants and can survive for up
to ten months without drinking any
water at all.
dodge: move
quickly to avoid
its enemy
2022-23
Page 5


112 HONEYSUCKLE
1. DESERTS are the driest places on earth
and sometimes go for months, or even
years, without rain. But even the desert
animals cannot survive without water,
or for long periods in the scorching sun,
so they have had to find different ways
of coping with the harsh conditions. For
example, gerbils spend the hottest part
of the day in cool underground burrows.
And strange insects called darkling
beetles are experts at catching drops of
moisture on their legs, then lifting them
into the air until the drops trickle down
into their mouths. Not all deserts are
endless seas of rolling sand dunes.
Some are rocky or pebbly and dotted
with small bushes while others are
sprinkled with colourful flowers during
the spring.
2. There are more than 2300 different
kinds of snakes around the world,
ranging from just fifteen centimetres
long to more than eleven metres. Most
snakes are quite harmless — but there
scorching: very hot
gerbils: mouse-like
desert rodents with
long hind legs
dunes: heaps of
sand formed by
the wind
pebbly: stony
Before you read
Can you name some desert areas in India and the
world? Who do you think lives in such areas?
Desert Animals Desert Animals
9
2022-23
DESERT ANIMALS 113
voles: small
plant-eating
rodents
chipmunks: small
ground squirrels
having light and
dark stripes
are a few that are so
poisonous they can kill a
human being with just one
bite. Most snakes lay eggs,
but there are many which
give birth to their young.  In
the dry, rocky deserts of
America lives a rather evil-
looking snake with a very bad
reputation. Its frightening
rattle can be heard as far as
thirty metres away, and it can strike
with lightning speed.
3. But the rattlesnake, or ‘rattler’ as it
is sometimes called, prefers to avoid
people if it possibly can.  It holds its tail
upright and rattles the end whenever it
is disturbed, in the hope that the
intruder will go away. However, if its
warnings are ignored—and it feels
threatened—it will coil ready to bite. But
the rattler itself cannot hear the noise
its own tail makes.  Like most snakes,
it ‘hears’ things through vibrations in
the ground. If a person walks nearby
the snake can feel the movement. But if
the same person were to shout, it would
not hear a thing. Rattlesnakes are very
common and widespread animals, living
right across the American continent
from Canada to Argentina.  They feed
on a variety of prey, including mice,
voles, rats, chipmunks and many other
2022-23
114 HONEYSUCKLE
predator: an animal
naturally preying
on others.
amusing:
interesting;
enjoyable.
forage: search for
food.
small animals. Rattlesnakes kill their
prey with venom. Like all snakes, they
swallow the unfortunate animals whole.
Few snakes have to eat more than once
a week and some, such as the larger
pythons, can survive for a year or more
without eating.
4. Mongooses like to hunt together,
but they always keep a lookout for
dangerous predators nearby. Poking
their noses into holes, overturning rocks
with their paws and scratching the
ground with their sharp claws, banded
mongooses are very amusing animals
to watch. A common sight in many parts
of Africa, they travel in groups of about
twenty to forage for beetles, millipedes
and other small creatures.
5. They like to
hunt together,
keeping in touch
whenever they go out
of sight behind rocks
or bushes by
twittering and calling.
Always on the lookout
for danger — hawks,
eagles and large
snakes — they warn
one another with a
special alarm call if
they spot anything
suspicious.
2022-23
DESERT ANIMALS 115
6. Mongooses are famous for being able
to kill snakes without getting hurt
themselves. Their reactions are so fast
that they can dodge each time the snake
strikes. They continually make a
nuisance of themselves until, after a
while, when the snake gets tired, they
quickly dive in for the kill.
7. All the female mongooses have their
kitten at about the same time.  They
are raised by the whole group in a den
made inside an old termite mount or
hollow log.  When most of the adults
are out looking for food, one or two
males stay behind to stand guard until
the others return for the night.
8. Another animal which lives in the
desert is the camel. Camels were
first domesticated by people many
thousands of years ago. In the wild,
camels usually live in small groups of
up to thirty animals. Camels have long,
shaggy winter coats to keep warm and
shorter, tidier coats in the summer to
keep cool. A thirsty camel can drink as
much as thirty gallons of water — that’s
about five hundred full glasses — in
just ten minutes.  Normally, however,
it gets all the moisture it needs from
desert plants and can survive for up
to ten months without drinking any
water at all.
dodge: move
quickly to avoid
its enemy
2022-23
116 HONEYSUCKLE
9. There are two different kinds of
camel.  One, known as the Dromedary,
has only a single hump; the other is
called a Bactrian camel and has two
humps.  The humps help the animal
to survive in the desert, by acting as
storage containers.  But they don’t
store water — as many people wrongly
believe — they are full of fat.  This fat
nourishes the camels when food is
scarce.  If they have nothing to eat for
several days, their humps shrink as the
fat is used up. There are many other
ways in which camels are adapted to
desert life. Their mouths are so tough
that even the sharp thorn cannot pierce
through.
2022-23
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: Chapter 9 - Desert Animals, English, Class 6 - English Class 6 (Honeysuckle)

1. How do desert animals adapt to their harsh environment?
Ans. Desert animals have various adaptations to survive in their harsh environment. Some adaptations include: - Camouflage: Many desert animals have colors and patterns that blend with the desert surroundings, making it difficult for predators to spot them. - Nocturnal lifestyle: Some desert animals are active during the night to avoid the extreme heat of the day. - Efficient water conservation: Desert animals have the ability to conserve water by producing concentrated urine and having minimal sweat glands. - Burrowing: Many desert animals dig burrows to escape the heat and stay cool during the day. - Specialized diet: Some desert animals have adapted to eat plants with high water content or even rely on obtaining moisture from their food.
2. How do desert animals survive without water for long periods?
Ans. Desert animals have developed several strategies to survive without water for extended periods. Some of these strategies include: - Obtaining water from their food: Many desert animals have specialized diets that provide them with the necessary moisture to survive. - Efficient water conservation: Desert animals have evolved to have minimal sweat glands and produce concentrated urine to conserve water. - Dormancy: Some desert animals enter a state of dormancy, reducing their metabolic rate and water loss during periods of extreme heat or drought. - Adaptations for water storage: Some desert animals have specialized adaptations to store water in their bodies, such as humps in camels or specialized urinary systems in kangaroo rats.
3. What are some common desert animals found in India?
Ans. India is home to a variety of desert animals. Some common desert animals found in India include: - Indian Gazelle (Chinkara): A small antelope found in the Thar Desert, known for its ability to survive without water for long periods. - Desert Monitor: A large lizard species found in the arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. - Indian Wild Ass: Also known as the Ghudkhur, it is found in the Rann of Kutch and is well adapted to the desert environment. - Desert Fox: A small carnivorous mammal found in the deserts of Rajasthan and Gujarat. - Indian Spiny-tailed Lizard: A desert-dwelling lizard species found in arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
4. How do desert animals stay cool in extreme temperatures?
Ans. Desert animals have several mechanisms to stay cool in extreme temperatures: - Burrowing: Many desert animals dig burrows in the ground, which provide a cooler and more stable temperature compared to the surface. - Nocturnal lifestyle: Some desert animals are active during the night when temperatures are lower, allowing them to avoid the extreme heat of the day. - Adaptations for heat dissipation: Desert animals have evolved physical adaptations to dissipate heat, such as large ears or elongated limbs that help in heat exchange with the environment. - Minimizing exposure: Some desert animals, like snakes, spend most of their time in shaded areas or underground to avoid direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
5. How do desert animals obtain food in their harsh environment?
Ans. Desert animals have various strategies to obtain food in their harsh environment: - Specialized diets: Many desert animals have adapted to eat plants with high water content or to survive on a limited diet that provides essential nutrients and moisture. - Opportunistic feeding: Desert animals take advantage of any available food sources, such as insects, small mammals, or even carrion. - Scavenging: Some desert animals rely on scavenging for food, feeding on the remains of dead animals. - Energy conservation: Desert animals have evolved to have lower metabolic rates, allowing them to survive on lower amounts of food. - Efficient digestion: Desert animals have adaptations that help them extract maximum nutrients from their food, allowing them to survive on limited resources.
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