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They say there are rattlesnakes in Arizona.  HB can tell you I’ve gone out of my way to find one, but have been unsuccessful so far.  It’s one thing to see a snake in a nature center or zoo, but I think it would be quite thrilling to see one in its natural habitat; my friends here think I’m nuts.  HB and I did see a gorgeous gila monster on one of our hikes.  He was about  15 inches long and, HB tells me, very healthy, his chubby tail being the measure of his well-being. Gila monsters are venomous, and while they are sluggish, if you were to step on one by myself he would probably bite you.  And he wouldn’t let go.  You would have to get yourself to the hospital quickly, with the animal still attached.  That story would not have a very good end for either of you, especially the gila monster.

gila

There are several varieties of small lizard resident in this desert.  This one was sent over by central casting – he posed fearlessly as I stalked him with my camera.

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One of the best things I’ve come upon in the desert was this egg.  It’s about 2 inches long, and I have no idea whose it is.  I was stalking another, larger lizard when I found it.  Maybe it’s full of hundreds of wee snakes; or maybe a lizard will pop out one day soon.

egg1

We have seen javelinas (Arizona’s answer to cinghiale, though of a different family) and deer, but only on golf courses, which somehow doesn’t seem to count.  We’ve also seen countless rabbits on the fairways; golfing bunnies are very bold, much more so than their cousins who are still living in the desert, like this fellow:

find-the-bunny-1 It’s hard even to find him, isn’t it?

I’ve mentioned the birds and bees in an earlier post, but now that there are so many flowers in bloom there are also a great many butterflies.  Have you ever tried to take a picture of one?  They are fast!  No sooner do you get your camera turned on than they zip off to a distant flower.

butterfly

A beautiful swallow-tail visited our citrus tree at home the other day, alit briefly on a glossy green leaf and then raced off.  It’s hard to know how something that looks so frail and delicate (and in fact is frail and delicate) can move so fast (between 5 and 30mph, according to The Children’s Butterfly Site.

The desert sometimes seems dry and lifeless, but there’s a lot happening out there, and it’s really fun to go hiking and look for the action.  Just be careful not to step on a snake or a big lizard!