Land and Resources, Plants and Animals
parasitic insect, golden oriole, vegetation of Egypt, ichneumon, jerboa
The vegetation of Egypt is confined largely to the Nile Delta, the Nile Valley, and the oases. The most widespread of the few indigenous trees is the date palm. Others include the sycamore, tamarisk, acacia, and carob. Trees that have been introduced from other lands include the cypress, elm, eucalyptus, mimosa, and myrtle, as well as various types of fruit trees. The alluvial soils of Egypt, especially in the delta, sustain a broad variety of plant life, including grapes, many kinds of vegetables, and flowers such as the lotus, jasmine, and rose. In the arid regions alfa grass and several species of thorn are common. Papyrus, once prevalent along the banks of the Nile, is now limited to the extreme south of the country.
Because of its arid climate, Egypt has few indigenous wild animals. Gazelles are found in the deserts, and the desert fox, hyena, jackal, wild ass, boar, and jerboa inhabit various areas, mainly the delta and the mountains along the Red Sea. Among the reptiles of Egypt are lizards and several kinds of poisonous snakes, including the asp and the horned viper. The crocodile and hippopotamus, common in the lower Nile and the Nile Delta in antiquity, are now largely restricted to the upper Nile. Birdlife is abundant, especially in the Nile Delta and Nile Valley. The country has 439 known species of birds, including the sunbird, golden oriole, egret, hoopoe, plover, pelican, flamingo, heron, stork, quail, and snipe. Birds of prey found in Egypt include eagles, falcons, vultures, owls, kites, and hawks. Many species of insects live in Egypt. Beetles, mosquitoes, flies, and fleas are especially numerous; the ichneumon, a parasitic insect, occurs in various areas, especially the delta. Scorpions are found in desert areas. Some 70 species of fish live in the Nile and in the deltaic lakes.
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