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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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Ringtail Great Southwest

Ringtail

Bassariscus astutus

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Mammals

Biography: Ringtails are relatives of the raccoon and inhabit desert canyons, especially areas with rocky outcrops, caves and mine shafts. Strictly nocturnal, ringtails use their large eyes and keen sense of smell to locate food, including rodents, birds, invertebrates, and plant... More >


Roadrunner Great Southwest

Roadrunner

Geococcyx californianus

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Birds

Biography: Roadrunners are long, slender birds with long expressive tails, shaggy crests and strong legs for running. These birds are known for their swift and characteristic style of running (up to 15 mph for short distances). They seldom fly and are primarily a ground bird. In the... More >


Tarantula Great Southwest

Tarantula

Aphonopelma chalcodes

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Invertebrates

Biography: While the tarantula is a fearsome looking spider and it can inflict a painful bite, the bite of our North American species is not really dangerous. Tarantulas can go for a long period of time without food and water - a useful ability during desert droughts. Large beetles... More >


Thick-billed Parrot Great Southwest

Thick-billed Parrot

Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Birds

Biography: Thick-billed parrots are social birds, and live together in flocks all year. Their loud calls can be heard over a mile away. Thick-billed parrots require the specialized habitat of a mature pine-oak forest for nesting and food. These parrots build their nests in snags or... More >


Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Great Southwest

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Crotalus atrox

Biome: Great Southwest

Classification: Reptiles

Biography: This is the largest of the western rattlesnakes. Due to its distinctive black and white tail bands, it is often nicknamed the "coontail rattler". This venomous pit viper frequents a variety of habitats in the arid regions of the southwest, from the plains into the... More >


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