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
ARIZONA
April 2003
 2 of 4
ARIZONA
April 2003
 2 of 4
The next day we camp in the middle of a mountain range, huge rock piles separated by creosote flats engraved with dry, sandy stream beds.  We first photograph a Gecko found the night before, then head out to explore the slopes and washes of the desert wilderness.    On the rocks we don’t spot much, just one Collared Lizard who briefly poses in the distance, then dives for cover as soon as we approach.  We have better luck in the washes, such as this Leopard Lizard who hunkers down trying to hide in plain sight, his spotted pattern merging with the gravel.   One species that makes no attempt to hide is the Whiptail.  Their jerky movements draw our attention as they forage in and out of the shadows, unconcerned about us humans, knowing full well they are too fast for a couple of middle-aged bipeds.  In fact, as if to mock our two-legged inferiority, they run away raising their forelegs, leaning forward with their tails stretched out backwards for balance, like miniature bipedal dinosaurs plunging through a tiny Jurassic Park. Another lizard that taunts us is the Zebra-Tail, which relies on a combination of camouflage and speed to avoid being caught.  First they lie flat, blending in perfectly with the course stream bed.  We often don’t see them until they explode from the sands when we get too close,  blasting across the wash before we have a chance to react.  When safely out of reach they stop and wag their tails in our direction, or bob up and down to assert their dominance, sometimes facing off with another lizard to prove who’s more macho. That night we go road cruising and find several snakes which we save for photographs (all are returned and released the next morning where they were found). I         
Sonoran Sidewinder Rattlesnake Crotalus cerastes cercobombus
Western Banded Gecko Coleonyx variegatus
Sonoran Collared Lizard Crotaphytus  nebrius
Long-nosed Leopard Lizard Gambelia wislizenii  
Western Whiptail Cnemidophorus tigris
Zebra-Tail Lizard Callisaurus draconoides
Mojave Rattlesnake Crotalus scutulatus
Western Shovel-Nosed Snake Chionactis occipitalis