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The Great
Southwest
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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Coati Great Southwest

Coati

Nasua narica

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Mammals

Biography: Another raccoon relative, coatis are not truly adapted to desert life. Coatis can survive only by staying close to a water hole. Like raccoons, they are omnivorous. Their long snout, and accompanying excellent sense of smell, help them to root for food such as eggs, grubs,... More >


Common Vampire Bat Great Southwest

Common Vampire Bat

Desmodus rotundus

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Mammals

Biography: This nocturnal, flying mammal feeds exclusively on the blood of other animals. To eat the blood, the vampire bat is equipped with sharp incisor teeth that are used to nip a small piece of flesh. An anticoagulant in the vampire bat's saliva allows the blood to flow... More >


Desert Box Turtle Great Southwest

Desert Box Turtle

Terrapene ornata

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: In the cool of the morning, a desert box turtle basks in the sunshine and then begins looking for food. It will search through piles of cow dung for beetles, but also eats grasshoppers, caterpillars, cicadas, berries, leaves, fruit and carrion. By midday, a desert box... More >


Desert Kingsnake Great Southwest

Desert Kingsnake

Lampropeltis getulas

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: A desert kingsnake is a nonvenomous snake that can grow to 48 inches in length. The kingsnake is immune to the bite of our native venomous snakes and can safely consume rattlesnakes and coral snakes. Lizards, small mammals and birds are included in this constrictor's diet.... More >


Desert Tortoise Great Southwest

Desert Tortoise

Gopherus agassizii

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: A slow-moving reptile, the desert tortoise copes with desert heat by becoming active only during the cooler morning hours or early evening. In the hottest part of the summer, the tortoise "estivates," by going into its burrow and living off stored fat. These tortoises are... More >


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