Apart from a very short stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Aqaba, Jordan is a landlocked country. It largely consists of an elevated plateau 700 to 1,200 m high, divided into ridges by valleys and gorges. The eastern part of the country is desert and merges into the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert. There are some oases here and some seasonal streams. The western part of the country is more mountainous with a natural vegetation of Mediterranean evergreen forest. The western border is the Jordan Rift Valley, where the Jordan River and the Dead Sea lie hundreds of feet below sea level and form the boundary between Jordan, to the east, and Israel and the Palestinian territories to the west. The northern part of the Jordan Valley is the most fertile region of the country. The Dead Sea receives the water from the Jordan River and from seasonal streams in the wadis, but has no outflow. It loses water by evaporation, is extremely saline, and supports no animal or plant life. Further south, the country's western boundary is formed by the escarpment at the edge of the Great Rift Valley that continues southward to the Gulf of Aqaba. The climate is hot and dry in summer, and cool in winter, the time of year when all the precipitation occurs.
The Shaumari Wildlife Reserve, a fenced off area in the deserts of central Jordan, has since been used in a breeding and reintroduction programs for the Arabian Oryx, as well as other species such as the Somali Ostrich, the Persian Onager and gazelles. Other animals that have been released into the wild are the Nubian Ibex, Wild Boar, Fallow Deer and Roe Deer. Carnivorous mammals in Jordan include the Striped Hyena, Caracal, Lynx, Jungle Cat, Sand Cat, Wild Cat, Arabian Wolf, Golden Jackal, Fennec Fox, Arabian Red Fox, Blanford's Fox, Rüppell's Fox, Egyptian Mongoose, Least Weasel, European Badger, Honey Badger and European Otter. There are about twenty species of bat and a similar number of rodents including the Caucasian Squirrel, Asian Garden Dormouse, Euphrates Jerboa, Middle East Blind Mole-rat, and various voles, Jirds, Mice, Rats, Spiny Mice, Gerbils and hamsters. Other mammals found in suitable habitat are the Wild Boar, European Hare, Mountain Hare, Indian Crested Porcupine, Rock Hyrax, European Hedgehog, Long-eared Hedgehog and Desert Hedgehog.
Approximately 426 species of bird have been recorded in Jordan. Many of these are rare or accidental arrivals, and others are migratory birds in passage between their breeding grounds and their wintering quarters. Others overwinter in Jordan and still others breed in the country. Some of them are globally threatened, and these include the White-headed Duck, Atlantic Petrel, Northern Bald Ibis, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pharaoh Eagle-owl, Barn Owl, Golden Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, MacQueen's Bustard, Siberian Crane, Sociable Lapwing, Saker Falcon, Marbled Duck, Aquatic Warbler and Syrian Serin. Four large raptors, the Short-toed Snake Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Barbary Falcon and Bonelli's Eagle, are found in the Mujib Biosphere Reserve, and the globally threatened Lesser Kestrel breeds there. Other bird species prevalent in Jordan include the Hooded Crow, Eurasian Jay, Hoopoe, Common Cuckoo, Tristram's Starling, House Crow and White-spectacled Bulbul.
About 81 species of butterflies are known from Jordan - Blue Spotted Arab, African Caper White, Greenish Black Tip, African Migrant, Plain Tiger, Desert Fritillary, Pomegranate Playboy, Black-striped Hairtail, Mediterranean Tiger Blue, African Babul Blue, Velvet Spotted Blue and more.