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The Great
Great Southwest

Great Southwest

Deserts are not deserted by wildlife. They are places of little rain and much sun, and are home to a surprising variety of plants and animals. In order to survive the extremes of the desert climate, life forms have developed unique adaptations for conserving water and avoiding the intense heat.

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Arizona Mountain Kingsnake Great Southwest

Arizona Mountain Kingsnake

Lampropeltis pyromelana

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: The Arizona Mountain Kingsnake is usually found in the higher elevations of the mountains. Food is killed by constriction and includes various lizard species, lizard eggs, rodents, other snakes and birds. This snake inhabits rocky areas, often near streams. A hatchling... More >

Black-footed Ferrets Great Southwest

Black-footed Ferrets

Mustela nigripes

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Mammals

Biography: What happened to endanger the Black-footed Ferret?

Black-footed ferrets are one of the most endangered mammals in North America. How did this happen? Black-footed ferrets depend on prairie dogs for survival. Almost 90% of the ferret's diet is prairie dogs. They also... More >

Blue Spiny Lizard Great Southwest

Blue Spiny Lizard

Sceloporus serrifer

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: These lizards have keeled, pointed scales with a dark collar under or around the neck. They readily climb shrubs or rocks in search of insect prey and occasional plants and flowers. Seeks shelter in crevices, under logs, and sometimes in woodrat nests and rodent burrows.... More >

Burrowing Owl Great Southwest

Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Birds

Biography: Unlike most owls, burrowing owls are active during the day. As their name implies, these small owls nest in abandoned prairie dog, tortoise and rodent burrows. Their nesting chamber is usually at the end of a tunnel, 5 ft. or more long, and is lined with grass, feathers and... More >

Chuckwalla Great Southwest


Sauromalus obesus

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: The chuckwalla is one of the largest lizard species found in the Sonoran desert, second only to the Gila Monster. Chuckwallas are crevice dwellers. When pursued by a predator, chuckwallas crawl between rocks and puff themselves up, making it impossible to remove them.... More >

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