Deserts have almost no precipitation, or rainfall. In fact, deserts are specifically defined as areas with an average annual precipitation of less than 10 inches per year. Deserts usually have really high daytime temperatures, low nighttime temperatures, and very low humidity.
Desert soil is often sandy, rocky, or gravely. Plant life is highly specialized to adapt to these coarse, dry conditions, with long roots, small leaves, stems that store water, and prickly spines that discourage animals from touching or eating them. Cactuses, which are native to deserts in North and South America, are an example of this kind of plant. Despite the barren look of hot deserts, they are full of animal life. Most desert animals, such as lizards or snakes, are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night. Nocturnal animals take advantage of the cooler nighttime temperatures of the hot desert.