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
MEXICO
August 2012
 2 of 5
MEXICO
August 2012
 2 of 5
A few hours sleep, then out into the day before the heat takes over.  We explore an arroyo, our favorite hiking spot for the week.  Though generally dry, it turns into a real river following a downpour, as we see on a return visit.    On this arid morning we walk downstream (downsand?) past a small rise covered in vegetation.  Jason spots movement and sees a streak of color disappear into the thick brush.  It’s a brilliant Speckled Racer (Drymobius margaritiferus), a dazzling snake, and a tease.  We surround the bushes and search intensely, getting a glimpse every so often, but in the end it’s gone for good. At least lizards stand still long enough to have their pictures taken.        As it warms up we focus on shaded areas.  I glance beneath a boulder, and for a moment, don’t recognize what I see.  I’m looking for snakes, so my search image is for something stretched out or coiled.  Instead, I spot a rounded rock that looks slightly wrong, just a little too dark and domed.  Then I realize, it’s an unexpected turtle!  Turns out to be a rare species, a Mexican endemic that’s one of the least known turtles in North America.     The next find is as entertaining as it is exciting.  Matt and Ron are walking the main channel when they glance up a small side gully.  At just that moment, in the far distance, something drops downhill.  The motion catches Matt’s eye. He realizes it’s a lizard, but there’s only one kind around here big enough to be seen from so far away: a Beaded! It comes to the top of an eroded slope . . .     . . . and in perfect waterpark style, slides down the smooth rock and splashes into the pool below!   Meanwhile, Shaun and I have wandered nearly to the end of the dry river bed.  We’re hunting the shade, searching vegetation by the arroyo walls, looking for anything that might be hiding from the sun.   Shaun makes a great spot and a terrific catch.  Just a few visible scales, then a swoosh of movement in the dense brush. A shout, a glimpse, a grab, a miss, a curse, a grab again; a grip on something big and thrashing, lunging and striking, determined to get away.  It almost escapes, but now I’ve got the tail while Shaun reaches for the head, and at last we pull the Whipsnake from its thicket. I’m amazed by its color, all silver and copper, the most metallic-looking snake I’ve ever seen.  I just can’t stop taking pictures.  
 Matt Cage
Whiptail Aspidoscelis sp.?
Nelson’s Spiny Lizard Sceloporus nelsoni
Clark’s Spiny Lizard Sceloporus clarkii
Ornate Tree Lizard Urosaurus ornatus
Northern Spotted Box Turtle Terrapene nelsoni klauberi
 Matt Cage
Adult
Sonoran Spiny-tailed Iguana Ctenosaura macrolopha
 Matt Cage
Beaded Lizard Heloderma horridum
Neotropical Whipsnake Masticophis mentovarius
 Matt Cage  Matt Cage