India – Thar Desert

Location: North west India where it ranges through much of Rajasthan and into Pakistan. It also extends into some parts of Haryana, Punjab and Gurjurat. Total area 446000 sq kms.

Habitat: Primarily made up of sand dunes, some being up to 150m in height. The lower areas are arid but do contain some vegetation in the form of shrubs and small thorny trees such as acacia (See image below). Most animals in can be found in or around these areas where they can quickly find cover under the vegetation of inside burrows.

Climate (annual air temperatures): Air temperatures gradually increase from January to June. Average air temperatures of 25-26 centigrade (c) have been recorded in January and these rise by 4-5c per month before reaching 40-42c in June. Temperatures then begin to drop to 35-36c by August and remain in this range until October/November when they begin to decrease to 25-26c in January.

Climate (annual precipitation): Precipitation is very low for the majority of the year. Some very light precipitation tends to occur daily, usually at night. From January to June the average precipitation is 1mm before the wet season comes in and it gradually increases to 50-70mm between July and August. A gradual decrease then occurs before falling back to an average precipitation of 1mm in November.

C&F Herpetology collected data and observations:

March 2017:

  • Morning air temperature (recorded at 08:00) – 11.5c
  • Morning ground (sand) temperature – 9c
  • Daytime maximum air temperature (recorded at 13:00) – 31.45c
  • Ground maximum temperature (sand) (recorded at 13:00) – 40c
  • Night time air temperatures (recorded at 21:00) – 8.6c
  • Ground night time temperature (recorded at 21:00) – 14.9c
  • Precipitation very light throughout evening and thunder/lightning storms present.
  • Very little herpetofauna activity, lots of invertebrate activity during night time.