Squirrels, Rabbits, Coyotes and others

 

Small Animals

Squirrels and rabbits are are somewhat hidden and protected by their coloring, which is designed so that they blend in with the desert.  Their coats are a mix of tan, gray, and brown shades which seem to vary in intensity as the seasons change.  They run fast, reproduce abundantly, and like to eat the seed pods from Mesquite and Palo Verde trees, and the flowers and foliage of various desert shrubs.

 

Rock squirrels don't really look like rocks.

 They don't really sit on rocks much either.

 Here is one sitting on a chair, 

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   and one sitting on a table                             

 

 

 

  

 

 

             

 

          

 

 

 

  

squirrel catching treats

 

 

Other desert animals and scenes

 

 

One day a lone Coyote showed up in my yard during the daytime, which is very unusual.  He/she played in the water for awhile just like a dog might do and then returned for many days in a row.   Once I spotted her running off dragging a mop that I'd left to dry on the patio.  Later I found it hundreds of feet away out in the desert (but no longer usable).    

      

    

   

 

Desert Birds

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

The following enhanced photo was taken on a winter morning after it had snowed in the desert, a very rare occurrence.  It was amazing to see a little hummingbird sitting on a branch in the middle of this scene.  Hummingbirds can go into a state where their metabolic rate becomes dramatically reduced in order to conserve energy. This insures their survival during periods of stress (like a sudden winter snow storm). 

 

  Rock formations, sunrises, and sunsets nearly make up for the fact that daytime temperatures in this desert are too high for comfort  during most of the year.  Many desert animals sleep in their burrows during the heat of the day but are otherwise active in the very early morning or in the evening, slightly before sunset.  Some desert animals are completely nocturnal because they cannot tolerate the daytime desert heat.

 

    

 

  A surprising fact is that desert rattlesnakes cannot even survive intense sunlight for more than a few minutes and will always seek shade.  Even though they're not very active during hot days, they have to rest someplace and could strike if disturbed.  That's why it's a bad idea to walk through any group of plants in a desert environment.  It's always best to stick to a trail of bare earth because a rattlesnake is at least visible then.  Even so, you might hear a warning rattling noise if a snake is  near a trail where you are walking.  If so, move out of the area very quickly because their striking distance is far (at least their body length) and they may have perceived you as a threat. 

Also, it's a good idea to be very careful about picking up rocks in the desert because this is a favorite dwelling place of scorpions. They move very quickly when disturbed so if you pick up a rock then one can be up your sleeve in no time.  One of the smallest and least visible of scorpions is the bark scorpion and it's sting is the worst, even applying ice does little to reduce the pain.  It is very light brown in color and less than a couple inches in length.  If you're interested in seeing what's living under desert rocks then it's safer to use a stick to flip them over and then stand way back.

 

 

       

                                                                         

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