All text copyright  2003-2014 by Eitan Grunwald.   All photographs copyright  2003-2014 Eitan and Ron Grunwald  (except photographs by others copyright per photo credits).  All rights reserved.
ARIZONA
April 2001
 2 of 2
ARIZONA
April 2001
 2 of 2
 Although disappointed not to find a Gila Monster, we are pleased to find a bunch of other desert lizards: We’re also thrilled to find this girl in a small wash.  Didn't know how rare or common they are, but I wasn't expecting to see one, so it’s one of the highlights. Although we  were delighted with our Chuckwalla back at the mine, finding it under a piece of tar paper wasn’t exactly the classic experience we had been seeking.  What we really wanted was to see one basking on a boulder, then watch it squeeze into the safety of a secure crevice while we wrestled with a way of catching it.  Unfortunately, being April it was not yet warm enough for these lizards to be out in abundance  Chucks like it hot, around 100° F  so we don’t have much opportunity to chase one down until our last day.  Driving up the side of a mountain we begin to see huge rock piles towards the top, and on nearly each one is a large black lizard.  Unlike our earlier red-backed variety, however, these Chuckwallas have a dark back, and instead of the usual yellow tail, it’s bright orange, as if a carrot is attached behind their rear legs.  As we approach one particular group of boulders, crowned with its resident Chuckwalla, I slam on the brakes and make a run for the top, just in time to watch the lizard disappear between the rocks.  Peering into the crevice I see it wedged in tight.  I can just barely reach it with my fingers, but there’s no way to get a hold of it.  Then Ron realizes that he can see the front of the Chuck from the other side of the crack, which was open on both ends.  As he gently prods with his snake hook from the front, I reach in from the rear and close my fingers around the lizard as it backs up towards me.  It’s very inflated, but the crevice grows wider in my direction, so with some slow, steady effort (being careful not to pull too hard) I eventually slip the Chuckwalla out from  between the rocks. Some cuties found while road cruising: The Sidewinders came first.   When we come upon the next snake we think it’s another Sidewinder because it’s so small, but when we get a closer look we realize it’s a juvey Western Diamondback.   Finally, coming from NJ and NC, we really wanted to see genera that just aren’t found on the east coast, like any of the desert "nose" species. High on our list of targets was the Long-nosed Snake.  We saw one each day we were in Arizona, but they were all DOR.  Then, on the last night, just as I’m finishing the last cruise while racing to the airport, I finally find one alive and manage to snap a photo on my last roll of film.    
All text copyright  Eitan Grunwald.  All photographs copyright  Eitan or Ron Grunwald  except photographs by others are copyright per photo credits.  All rights reserved.  Terms
Sonoran Sidewinder Rattlesnake Crotalus cerastes cercobombus
Long-nosed Snake Rhinocheilus lecontei
Desert Tortoise Gopherus agassizii
Tree Lizard Urosaurus ornatus
Desert Iguana Dipsosaurus dorsalis
Side-blotched Lizard Uta stansburiana
Greater Earless Lizard Cophosaurus texanus