I love living in the outskirts of Phoenix because of the nature. On National Wildlife Day I want to share some of the beautiful wildlife we have out here in the desert.
Diamondback Rattlesnake -The muscles that cause the rattle to shake are some of the fastest known, firing 50 times per second on average, sustained for up to three hours.
While I would never want one of these babies in my yard, they are incredible animals that are protected and respected here in Arizona.
Coyotes – Pups will fight each other regardless of sex, while among adults aggression is typically reserved for members of the same sex.
If I’m coming home late, you will normally see a few of them out of the roads. Since we don’t have street lights, you really have to be careful and watch out for them.
Desert Cottontail – Hearing an oncoming predator is their primary defense mechanism.
These are seriously my favorite. They are everywhere and I don’t mind a bit. You can see them roaming around in people’s front years eating grass or the cacti fruit.
Desert Spiny Lizard – These lizards are amazing. They sun themselves on my brick wall and the males have gorgeous turquoise bellies. They do bite, though are not poisonous.
I love the wintertime when these flashy studs come out to heat themselves on the brick walls. They are HUGE and gorgeous.
Greater Earless Lizard – Both males and females are territorial and exhibit head bobbing, push-ups, and lateral compression of the body when approached by an outsider.
I never seen one of these but I am suspecting that one was on my back porch the other day. He took off like a bat out of hell when Leroy came running.
Gila Monster – The Gila monster lacks the musculature to forcibly inject the venom; instead, the venom is propelled from the gland to the tooth by chewing.
I’ve always been told these are venomous and can kill you. Though no deaths have been reported since 1939. I used to see them when hiking North Mountain, though I just learned they are too slow to catch you.
Thanks for all of the great guesses! There he is, the bite culprit! I was bitten on accident while filming B roll with a GoPro camera…gila was calm as you see here, I got too close and he made one lunge and chomped my finger. The pain from the venom was immediate and incredible…most painful bite I have ever taken. Filming a Behind the Adventure on this incident today that will give you the full story and footage. Its been 24 hours and my thumb is doing really well… all I had to endure was 6 hours of excruciating pain! Moral of the story…keep your distance from the Gila Monster!
Regal Horned Lizard – They shoot blood from their eyes when they feel threatened.
I really just want to see one of these shoot blood from its eyes.
Javelina – They defend themselves with their long tusks, which sharpen themselves whenever the mouth opens or closes.
I remember one time when my friend was out hunting javelina and couldn’t find any. I came home to a family running through my neighborhood similar to the instagram video below. Javelina were on to my buddy and didn’t feel like being hunted so they headed to the burbs.
Round Tailed Ground Squirrel – Most of their foods are chosen for high water content because of the shortage of available water in their environment. The average water content of the food they eat is 80%.
If you want to see a lot of these, head to the Phoenix Zoo. They are all over and seem to love people. Mostly kids because the kids end up feeding them, though this is not advised.
I saw five round tailed ground squirrel babies with one adult. As I approached they went in their holes, but I crouched down and waited about ten minutes. Sure enough a few came back out and one approached to within about six inches. Another was brave enough to watch from a foot behind him. All I had to take pictures was my phone, but that's all I needed.
Chuckwalla – Harmless to humans, these lizards are known to run from potential threats.
How cute are these reptiles? They are super nice and big scaredy cats. They remind me of dinosaurs.
Desert Tortoise – The desert tortoises live approximately 50 to 80 years.
Surprisingly, a lot of people have these as pets, though it’s more fun to see them in the wild. People here will stop and help a tortoise across the road if they see them, so they don’t get run over.
Bobcat – Each night it will move from 2 to 7 mi along its habitual route.
These cats are all over and can want to make your home their home. This is not advised as they can be aggressive. They are pretty to look at though.
Desert Big Horned Sheep – The horns can weigh up to 30 lb, while the sheep weigh up to 300 lb.
Gorgeous Rams. The Phoenix Zoo has a preserve for these animals because assholes hunt them for sport.