In the daytime, desert biomes are almost completely devoid of passive mobs (Rabbits excluded). However, hostile mobs will spawn at night, as in other biomes. The desert is a bare, almost inhospitable environment. The few features found here are: Cacti, rabbits, dead bushes, Desert Temples, and the occasional Village. Another rare structure found in the desert biome is a desert well, which currently serves no purpose other than an infinite water supply. Like forest biomes, desert biomes have scattered mountains and cliffs, but desert biomes generate with basins more frequently. Desert biomes are a good source for Sugar Cane. Although it is commonly believed that deserts do not have water or very little, small ponds appear quite frequently in deserts. However, after the Minecraft 1.6, desert pools of water were removed (the lava pools stayed), allowing only rivers to pass through. Most desert biomes have jungles near them. It is very rare for a desert to generate next to a biome with a totally different climate; for example, a desert biome and an Ice Spikes biome next to each other.
No peaceful mobs spawn in desert biomes (other than rabbits). The only way another peaceful mob will be in a desert biome is through a spawn egg, wandering or following a player. Aside from peaceful mobs, it appears that the hostile mob generation during night is more frequent, causing large groups of hostile mobs to form instead of a sparse collection as seen in forest biomes. It is safer to wander around a desert at night. The open space allows one to see if a mob is nearby, avoiding surprises. It is also easier to see at night in the desert, as the light-color of the sand causes mobs to be much more visible than if they were against a darker background.
- The desert almost always has a river going through the center. This is easily seen on a Map. This river is where the player is likely to find grass blocks, and thus, peaceful mobs such as Cows.
- This biome is the only one that spawns desert temples naturally.
- Desert biomes can't support Snow Golems due to the heat, unless they have Fire Resistance.
- Deserts were previously the only place to gather Cactus Green dye, but as of 1.7.2, cacti can spawn in Badlands Biomes as well.
- The desert biome is one of the four biomes that NPC villages naturally spawn. The other ones are the Plains Biome, the Savanna Biome, and the warm variant of the Taiga Biome.
- Surface Lava pools spawn more commonly in this biome.
- Not far beneath the upper layers of sand is a layer of Sandstone a few blocks deep, instead of Stone. However, digging deeper will reveal stone.
- Somehow, exposed cave entrances are rarer.
- Sometimes, surface dungeons can be detected. If there's a strange square hole in the desert ground, dig around it. It could be a dungeon (and it usually is).
- Desert biomes can spawn on an island in an Ocean Biome.
- Desert biomes can spawn with caves roofed with sand in them. If a block update affects any of the roof blocks, the roof of the cave will fall down. Due to the way block updates work, making a hole in a wall may cause the roof to fall down.
- Desert biomes can spawn with a savanna biome close by. This biome can be used to harvest wood for immediate use, as well as Dirt and Saplings for later wood generation.