Have you ever wondered how some animals can survive without drinking water? Humans need water to survive, so it’s amazing to think about creatures that can go their whole lives without taking a sip! In this post, we’ll explore some incredible animals that get all the water they need from the food they eat. Get ready to meet nature’s non-drinkers!
One crazy creature that doesn’t need to drink is the thorny devil lizard found in Australia. This spiky lizard has specially adapted skin that allows it to soak up water from the moisture in the air! Tiny grooves between its scales trap droplets of water that roll down into its mouth. This means the thorny devil can get all the water from the humidity. Amazing, right?
These lizards also have a false head that they present to predators. When a predator attacks, it bites the false head, which the lizard can detach. This allows it to escape unharmed. The thorny devil is a master of survival in the dry Australian outback.
Naked Mole Rats
Naked mole rats are weird rodents that live underground in colonies like ants. They have almost no fur, and their skin is pink and wrinkly. But the coolest thing about mole rats is that they don’t need to drink water at all! How is this possible?
Mole rats live in underground burrows where the air has very high humidity. They have specialized kidneys that are extremely efficient at retaining and recycling water. Their food also contains plenty of moisture, like roots and tubers. Mole rats can even metabolize their own body fat for water. Nature has designed them perfectly for life without liquid water!
Some frogs have amazing adaptations that allow them to store water in their bodies so they don’t need to drink. Ranoidea platycephala, commonly known as the water-holding frog, can swell up like a sponge after it rains, sucking up and holding large amounts of water. It stores this water in its bladder and lymph nodes.
This frog also has skin that prevents the water from evaporating. It can live off of this stored water during the dry season for months! Who needs to drink when you can carry a personal water bottle inside you?
Jerboas are cute hopping rodents found in the deserts of Africa and Asia. They look like miniature kangaroos with big ears and long tails. Jerboas get all the water they need from their food, like seeds and plants. Special organs in their noses condense water vapour from the air and reabsorb it, ensuring no moisture is wasted when they exhale.
Their kidneys are also extremely efficient at retaining as much water as possible. Jerboas can survive without drinking water in captivity with the right diet. They are perfectly adapted to thrive in hot desert environments.
Kangaroo rats are rodents that live in dry areas of North America. They hop around on their powerful back legs and have fur-lined cheek pouches for storing food. Like jerboas, kangaroo rats get all the water they need from the seeds and vegetation they eat. Their kidneys are highly effective at retaining moisture from food.
But the coolest adaptation is that kangaroo rats manufacture their own internal water! Their liver and fat stores can produce metabolic water that keeps them hydrated even in extreme desert heat. They also don’t lose much water through their nose, skin or faeces. Next-level survival skills!
The koala is another mammal that rarely drinks water! This tree-dwelling marsupial lives entirely off of eucalyptus leaves containing plenty of water. Koalas actually have quite a few adaptations to prevent water loss, like dry earwax and almost no sweat glands. Their kidneys recycle water very efficiently.
During droughts, koalas can survive on leaf moisture by eating more or choosing leaves with higher water content. For koalas, eucalyptus has everything they need, including all the hydration they require. They practically live off water from trees!
In the deserts of Africa, sand gazelles manage to survive without drinking. They get the moisture they need from eating acacia leaves and desert grasses. Their kidneys filter out and concentrate any excess water from food.
Sand gazelles produce very dry dung to minimize fluid loss. Their nostrils can also filter out water vapour when they exhale. Large ears give off heat to cool their blood rather than sweating. Each of these adaptations contributes to a life free of drinking!
Tortoises are famous for moving slowly on land with their heavy shells. But did you know that many tortoise species don’t need to drink water? Their scaly skin and shell are impervious to moisture, preventing evaporation. Waste nitrogen is converted into uric acid, requiring less excreting water.
Tortoises can also store up to 40% of their body weight as water in their bladders. Combine this with getting water from food like grasses and fungi, and tortoises are all set to live without a drink!
Of course, we can’t talk about animals that don’t drink water without mentioning camels! Known for surviving in deserts, camels can go for weeks without drinking by storing fat in their humps. This fat metabolizes and provides camels with the water they need when resources are scarce.
Camels are also masters at preserving water. Their oval-shaped red blood cells flow more easily through dehydrated blood vessels. The urine comes out as a thick syrup, and their faeces are dry enough to fuel fires! With adaptions like these, it’s no wonder camels can thrive where water is limited. Who needs to drink when you’re built for the desert?