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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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Gambel's Quail Great Southwest

Gambel's Quail

Lophortyx gambelii

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Birds

Biography: Gambel's quail are ground dwellers, but have an advantage over other inhabitants of the desert floor, for they can fly to a watering hole or to shade if they need to. Their whole body, including the legs, short wings, and short stout beak, is well adapted to pecking and... More >


Gila Monster Great Southwest

Gila Monster

Heloderma suspectum

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: Of the 3,000 lizard species in the world, only the gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard are venomous, and both inhabit similar geographic ranges. The gila monster eats eggs, young birds, small rodents and insects in the wild. The gila does not administer its venom... More >


Gopher Snake Great Southwest

Gopher Snake

Pituophis melanoleucus

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: Gopher snakes are long snakes, and can approach eight feet in length. These nonvenomous snakes are an important control on the rodent population. Mice, rats, squirrels, gophers and rabbits are common food items. Predators include hawks, kit foxes and coyotes. When... More >


Mexican Beaded Lizard Great Southwest

Mexican Beaded Lizard

Heloderma horridum

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: The horrible one! These lizards are venomous! When threatened, beaded lizards hiss and open their mouths, giving them a fearsome appearance. Historically, they were thought to be dangerous. In reality, these slow-moving lizards only bite if provoked. Human bites are very... More >


Ocelot Great Southwest

Ocelot

Leopardus pardalis

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Mammals

Biography: Twice the size of an average house cat, the ocelot is a sleek animal with a gorgeous dappled coat. Shy and elusive, their spotted coats make them very well camouflaged for blending into their surroundings, and they seem to mysteriously disappear into the shadows of their... More >


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