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Saguaro Cactus: Adaptation To Desert Life

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A towering, spiny plant extends its arms up toward the clouds, its beautiful green color contrasting against the stark, blue sky. It’s an iconic picture, a symbol many people associate with the desert. This is the Saguaro Cactus, a plant that can live as long as 150 years. Although its growth-rate is remarkably slow, this cactus is one of the tallest plants in the desert. The Saguaro Cactus is well adapted to desert life, and it provides a good home and food for many animals.

To begin with, the Saguaro Cactus has adjusted to survive in the desert in a variety of ways. Because of the heat in the desert, Saguaro Cacti have waxy skin to prevent moisture loss. With as dry as the desert is, this adaptation is vital to its survival. Furthermore, It holds water in its stem, which is pleated like an accordion, so it can expand and hold more water.
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The snake is one animal that uses the Saguaro Cactus for shelter while the scorpion takes advantage of its height and the shadow it casts, taking shelter from the sun. Additionally, many birds can be seen perched on the big cactus. Woodpeckers even carve out holes that they use for nests. In addition, the flowers the cactus produces provide nectar for birds. The cactus even bears fruit, which splits in half after prolonged exposure to the sun. Consequently, birds and insects are able to feast on the sweet, oozing insides of the fruit, including the seeds. Even the fruit that simply falls to the ground from the cactus provides nourishment to animals passing by. All of these features make the Saguaro Cactus vital to animals’ survival in the desert.

The Saguaro Cactus truly is a remarkable plant. Without it, the many animals that thrive in the desert would die. The next time you see a picture of one online or in a brochure, remember how valuable it is to desert
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