Mid-latitude deserts are found in the interiors of continents. They receive little precipitation because of their distance from the ocean.

The Taklamakan desert of China, the Gobi desert of China and Mongolia and the American desert in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Southern Utah are mid-latitude deserts.

The dry desert air, which does not retain heat very well, causes heat that builds up during the day to be lost rapidly at night. Therefore, day and night temperatures vary greatly.

Saguaro CactusDuring the day, it is warm in summer and cold in winter. Daytime temperatures can drop below freezing in winter.

When it rains in mid-latitude deserts, the rain is heavy but doesn't last very long. Rather than sinking into the soil, a large portion of the water simply runs off.

Desert plants are widely spaced. Their roots spread out far from their stems.

Roots soak up water quickly when it rains. The plants then store water in their tissues.

The thick stems of cacti hold large amounts of water.

Most plants have small leaves or no leaves. Many have spines or thorns.

There are few large herbivores.

Many rodents, most of which are burrowers, live in mid-latitude deserts. They get water from their food or from dew.

Pocket MouseSome, such as pocket mice, are able to use the water that is produced when the food in their bodies is broken down.

Coyotes, hawks and rattlesnakes prey on rodents and rabbits.

Birds, lizards and scorpions eat insects.