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Little Five

In the Namib desert, we went on a really cool desert safari to see the "Little Five". The Little Five (actually 6) are: the white cartwheeling spider, the chameleon, the thermal dancing (shovel-snouted )lizard, the Palmato gecko, the sidewinder adder, and legless skink. We rode around the dunes looking for these animals in a big 4x4 truck with our 2 guides. The guides were amazing at finding the animals by looking for their tracks on the sand. We were lucky to have found all of them.

The first animal we saw was the Palmato gecko. It was very colourful with pink, blue, yellow, and white on its body. The special thing about the gecko is that it has four webbed feet. The guides first looked for a hole in the ground which is where they lived. Then they dug into the sand to find the gecko.

Next we found the legless skink. It was small and looked more like a little snake with a pointy head. I was able to hold it and it did not feel slimy. It had a flat bottom side and it used vibrations and smell to find food because it is blind.

While we were walking I noticed something on the ground and it turned out to be the white cartwheeling spider. It had big fangs which are poisonous. We watched it burrow a hole into the sand by turning in circles.

We spotted the thermal dancing lizard on the side of a dune when we were driving by. It is called this because it lifts its feet up and down looking like it is dancing because of the hot sand.

The chameleon was really cool and it was smaller than I expected. It was white in colour but it changed to browny purple after it ate. The darker colour helps it absorb heat from the sun to digest its food. If it was trying to hide and camouflage, it would turn white to reflect the light. I had a worm in my hand to feed the chameleon and in the blink of an eye, it disappeared! Its tongue moved so fast, like a bullet. The tongue was able to stretch out really long, as long as the length of its body.

The last animal that we saw was the sidewinder adder snake. It was very small and whitish yellow in colour. The guides told us it was very poisonous. If you were bitten it would lead to weeks in the hospital. I tried to stay away from it.

We also learned a lot about the dunes and how they were formed. These dunes were yellow but had shades of red and black. The red is from the garnet and the black is from the iron. The guide took out a magnet and it was interesting to see that it picked up all the iron bits in the sand. The iron felt very fine and soft.

On the way back, we had a really fun ride up and down the big dunes. It felt like we were going to flip over at times. I enjoyed the tour a lot and my favourite animal was the chameleon.

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