A Desert Food Chain

January 27, 2010

A Desert Food Chain

A Who Eats What Adventure in North America

By Rebecca Hogue Wojahn and Donald Wojahn

Lerner, 2009

ISBN #978-0-8225-7501-6


Grades 3-6

“As the sun goes down, the Sonoran Desert comes to life. All day, most of the animals shielded themselves from the broiling sun in tunnels, burrows, and dens. Some huddled in arroyos—streambeds that hold a smidge more shade than the rest of the desert. As the air temperature drops, the hot ground starts to cool. And the desert animals creep out to explore their prickly landscape of cactus and brush. Daytime flowers close their blooms, but nighttime flowers spread their petals to welcome visitors.”

Another fascinating parade of organisms marches across the pages in this desert version of the Follow That Food Chain series by Lerner. Elf owls, suguaro cactus, chuckwallas, pallid bats, roadrunners, rattlers, pinacate beetles, centipedes fill the spaces as consumers and producers, allowing the reader to chose the direction the food chain takes—and finding the end in a variety of ways. Along the way, the book provides a fascinating look at the individuals comprising the chain. Set in the desert southwest of the United States, the Sonoran Desert provides an abundance of life in the arid, seemingly lifeless land.

Bright photos and sections of text make the book fun and engaging, while back matter includes additional information about desert plants and animals, an index, glossary, and for further information sections.

Activity 1

Organisms living in a desert environment must be well-suited for arid life. Choose one of the organisms and research the specific adaptations that allow it to live successfully in the desert.

Activity 2

Use this site to create your own desert food chain

Activity 3 For younger students

Choose an animal from the book. Make a chart showing what the animal eats. Then make another chart showing what eats that animal.

This movie shows desert food chain interactions.

This site has a good explanation of the energy flow in food chains.

See my other posts about this food chain series at



I visited the Sonoran Desert in college during a January term for desert biology. I loved the plants and animals and will always have a special place in my heart for this desert. These food chain books by the Wohans have generated more interest than any of my posts, so I felt I had to do one more. All the books in this series are fascinating and distinguished by the wealth of organisms they include. 

National Science Standard: organisms and environment

  Books provided by Lerner.


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