It's Good To Live Near Arizona
05/29/2004 @ 06:02:29 PM MDT
In May of 2004 we went to Cave Creek Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains in the Coronado National Forest in southeastern Arizona, one of the "sky islands" in the desert of the American Southwest and an area that supports a diverse array of herptofauna. First up was this pair of canyon tree frogs (Hyla arenicolor).
05/29/2004 @ 06:04:43 PM MDT
05/29/2004 @ 06:27:16 PM MDT
Next, my friend Megan came upon this baby female mottled rock rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus lepidus.) Its strikingly beautiful markings were stunning against the backdrop of its habitat.
05/29/2004 @ 06:29:08 PM MDT
05/30/2004 @ 11:02:01 AM MDT
The following day we came upon this Yarrow's spiny lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii). We also heard a rock rattlesnake in some rocks on the trail (imagine that!), but we couldn't manage to pull him into daylight.
05/31/2004 @ 11:12:54 AM MDT
On the third day of the trip, my friend Jeff and I hiked further up Cave Creek. As we were exploring a sandstone outcropping next to the creek, we came upon this greenish mottled rock rattlesnake, the hue indicating its sex as male. It was sitting on the rock under a blanket of leaves, buzzing as we looked for it. We had a very difficult time determining exactly where it was as the rattling was bouncing around under the leaves off the irregular rock surfaces. As it turns out, I was standing right next to it wearing river sandals. Much of the time we were looking for it I was within striking range. Fortunately, it didn't strike and I learned to stay out of the leaves while wearing sandals when there are rattlesnakes afoot.
05/31/2004 @ 12:10:41 PM MDT
Another Yarrow's spiny lizard up the creek.
05/31/2004 @ 05:50:48 PM MDT
On the hike out we captured this striped plateau lizard (Sceloporus virgatus). These orange markings indicate this is a mature female in the middle of her breeding season.
05/31/2004 @ 05:52:53 PM MDT
06/01/2004 @ 11:49:58 AM MDT
On our last day in southeast Arizona we visited the Sonoran Desert National Monument outside of Tucson, Arizona. We arrived too late in the day to see anything other than this greater earless lizard (Cophosaurus texanus) taking refuge in the 100 degree-plus desert heat.