Except for the south western province of Asir, Saudi Arabia has a desert climate with extremely high day-time temperatures and a sharp temperature drop at night. Average summer temperatures are around 45oC, but can be as high as 54oC. In the winter the temperature rarely drops below 0oC. In the spring and autumn the heat is temperate, temperatures average around 29oC. Annual rainfall is extremely low. The Asir region differs in that it is influenced by the Indian Ocean monsoons, usually occurring between October and March. An average of 300 mm of rainfall occurs during this period, that is about 60% of the annual precipitation.
Animal life includes wolves, hyenas, mongooses, baboons, hares, sand rats, and jerboas. Larger animals such as gazelles, oryx, and leopards were relatively numerous until the 1950s, when hunting from motor vehicles reduced these animals almost to extinction. Birds include falcons (which are caught and trained for hunting), eagles, hawks, vultures, sand grouse and bulbuls. There are several species of snakes, many of which are venomous, and numerous types of lizards. There is a wide variety of marine life in the Persian Gulf. Domesticated animals include camels, sheep, goats, donkeys, and chickens. Reflecting the country's desert conditions, Saudi Arabia's plant life mostly consists of small herbs and shrubs requiring little water. There are a few small areas of grass and trees in southern Asir. The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is widespread.