Arid Habitat Click to enlarge image
Arid Habitat Image: Andrew Howells
© Australian Museum

Australia is the second driest continent in the world. This does not mean that areas without fresh water do not have plants and animals. In fact, arid zone habitats are full of life. Some arid zone habitats include tall shrubs, heath, grasslands, sandy areas and rocky areas.

Tall shrubs

Tall shrub areas have small eucalypt, mulga and acacia trees. These trees usually have roots that force their way deep into the soil to find water.


Heath areas are covered in bluebush and saltbush plants. These shrubs are bushy and grow close to the ground.There are many different types of heath found across Australia.


Spinifex grass often grows in arid zone grasslands. Spinifex has leaves that are hard and spiky like needles. This stops the plant from losing lots of water.

Sand dunes

Sand dunes are made by the wind as it blows across the desert. Once a small dune forms it acts as a barrier to the wind. Sand then drops on its slopes and the dune gets bigger.

Rocky areas

Rocky areas provide important shelter for many animals and plants. Caves, cracks and ledges make good homes and a cool place to shelter.

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