Winds die as darkness falls on the Namib, and the
of the day -- among them the cold-blooded, sun-dependent
reptiles -- enter into slumber. But as the moon rises, it
illuminates an unearthly world, a realm of strange
creatures specially adapted to the chill desert night.
spider, scorpion, gecko and golden mole materialize out
of their diurnal hiding places to feed. They work
franticly to feed themselves before sunrise, when like
ghosts, they disappear into the Namib sands.
Vampires of the dunes, scorpions feed on other
arachnids and beetles, drinking blood drops from
their prey's bodies. Scorpions have hair on their
feet for burrowing, and long straight claws
to seize and crush prey. Most active at night,
scorpions capture and eat spiders and insects.
Owls, rodents and jackals are their main
A type of arachnid, the sun spider has the
largest jaws in the animal kingdom. A recently
discovered intertidal, poisonous species of the
sun spider burrows just above the high tide.
Hunting in seaweed and in grainy debris along the
shore, they prey on isopods and arthropods.
Believed to be extinct until recently,
when a skull was found in owl pellets, this
small, rare mammal spends the day burrowed under
up to two feet of sand. In the evening, the mole
rises to the surface to prey on termites, insect
larvae, other invertebrates and legless lizards.
The mole travels between surface patches, also feeding
on plant bulbs and seeds. Blind and earless,
the golden mole relies on its keen senses of
smell and movement, always feeling for the tiny
sand vibrations that indicate prey is afoot.
in appearance to a small hamster, the golden
mole is approximately the size of a man's thumb.
Golden moles live nomadic lives, swimming in the
sands and foregoing permanent burrows. Relying on
the sand for warmth during the day, the mole
enters a state akin to hibernation until the next
Almost transparent, the palmato gecko emerges at
night to hunt. Their delicately webbed feet are
especially suited for digging burrows in
semi-compacted sand. Geckos feed on insects and
lick moisture off their bodies as it condenses
from the fog.
Named for the loud call they
make, barking geckos attract females and scare
off males with their resounding clamor.