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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lizards of Arizona, What We Can Learn

Lizards are a diverse, adaptable, usually quadrupedal reptile and in the scientific community fall into the order of Squamate. In recent years they have received much deserved attention. Breakthrough discoveries are being made about their natural history and even a seemingly miracle drug for diabetics has been derived from the Gila Monster’s saliva. Through the study of lizards there are insights into local ecological conditions and a multitude of methods of survival in some of the world’s most arid and seemingly inhospitable regions (Reilly McBraver Miles xi). Because of Arizona’s unique biogeographical history it has the most diverse lizard populations in the United States. This makes Arizona not only a fun and exciting place to take a closer look at lizards from an educational and conservational standpoint.

The study of reptiles and amphibians, herpetology, can become a life-long love affair. It often starts with a childhood captivation with these small creeping things. This fascination can become a catalytic force creating an inner drive to find out about the things unknown, leading to many discoveries in the sciences. In his forward of the book Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity, Harry W. Greene, makes this illustration about the authors, Eric Pianka and Laurie Vitt, “in some ways this is a book about two curious boys who grew up chasing lizards, learned to carefully ask questions of nature, traveled all over the world in search of answers” (Pianka Vitt xi). Others feel the same passion about lizards as well, “I know that I have become irreversibly obsessed, and wherever I go I will be looking for the tell-tail silhouette of a basking lizard”, reflects the Larry Jones the co-editor of the book Lizards of the American Southwest: A Photographic Field Guide Larry Jones. In support of his co-editor’s opinion of thought, Rob Lovich gratefully articulates, “lizards gave me my graduate degree, and in return a lifetime of admiration for their natural history, evolution, and all the unknown aspects of their biology” (Jones Lovich 16-17).

Undoubtedly most can agree that “lizards command our attention” many are brightly colored and just interesting to look at. That is probably why so many businesses use them as advertisements. From car insurance to soft drinks! “Perhaps more important, they are model organisms for ecological and evolutionary studies and, as such, can teach us volumes about the living world that surrounds us. Without lizards, our lives would be sadly impoverished” (Pianka Vitt 281). With how interesting and captivating lizards are one would think more people would know about and study them but as herpetologist Clifford H. Pope observed in 1956, “’few people live in the parts of the country where lizards abound, and vice versa.‘” Pope had noticed that in the eastern states lizards are less common and harder to find unlike the salamander what is frequently confused with lizards adding “greatly to the lack of clear thinking about lizards’” (Badger Netherton 15). A budding naturalist can find a great place to study these four-legged reptiles in the Southwest United States. Where even a lay observer can witness the great abundance and diversity of lizards (Jones Lovich 11). Because “lizards are among the most familiar and interesting creatures in the American Southwest” authors Lawrence L. C. Jones and Robert E. Lovich chose this region to “write another book devoted to the complete lizard fauna” of the region (Jones Lovich).

Arizona sports the highest number of lizard species, 53 of the 96, of the southwest region! (Jones Lovich 18). “Home to a richly varied terrain, Arizona is among the most biologically diverse states in the country” explains Brennon and Holycross in their book A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona. “A combination of diverse topography and location at the nexus of eight major biomes results in an extraordinary variety of… biotic communities.” With “this conglomeration of communities”, Arizona is able to house its extraordinary lizard populations (1-3).

The ability for lizards to survive in the extremes of the desert regions of Arizona is dumbfounding, “reptiles have thin skin with little insulation and most do not produce heat internally to fuel their metabolisms, adaptations to regulate body temperature (thermoregulation) are very important” (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 530). This ability is attributed to the great variety of traits given lizards through natural selection. In the areas close to Yuma Arizona found in the southwestern portion of the state, oceans of sand house an extraordinary product of natural selection, the Fringe-toed Lizard “is closely associated with windblown sand deposits in the Lower Colorado River subdivision of the Sonoran Desert” (Jones Lovich 274). It is a medium sand obligate lizard “with a flat body, a flattened tail, and a chisel-like snout” what makes their sand diving abilities greatly increased (Brennon Holycross 66). In Arizona, there are two species of this particular lizard fauna, the Yuman Fringe-toed Lizard and the Mohave Fringe-toed Lizard (Brennon Holycross 66). Both of which are “adept at diving into the sand head-first” and moving its body back and forth into the sand “to bury itself within a few centimeters of the surface” giving the lizard “better thermal cover” when things get a little too hot for its liking when the sandy above ground temperatures of which it is not uncommon to exceed 65°C (Jones Lovich 275). This behavior also works well against predators. (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 562). They get their name from the comb like fringes, which are scales that are enlarged that come off the long toes of their back legs. Pianka and Vitt explain, that the specialized back limbs “increase surface area exposed to substrate” giving it “the extra support necessary for lizards to achieve high running speeds on sand”(23, 29).

In a similar situation as of any Arizona desert dweller, the Desert Iguana has not only predators but also the extreme heat to deal with. The habitually herbivorous Desert Iguana takes advantage of its environment and “are most active in hot temperatures (above 35°C) and are considered the most heat-tolerant reptile in North America. Body temperatures have been recorded as high as 45°C,” what is far past the point when any other reptile in the region can tolerate without being cooked a live (Jones Lovich 132). What is an ability thought to have arisen as defense using the extreme heat as a barrier “perhaps as an anti-predator tactic” (Pianka Vitt 157). A possible answer to how they are so uniquely able to tolerate these ridiculously high temperatures may be in its suggested “adaptive advantage to fever” caused by microscopic parasites of which when present they are able to keep a temperature higher than when microbes are not present. Although the parasitic benefactor is not all good news, without maintaining the thermal extremes the “microbes prosper and” the “infected lizards suffer”(Pianka Vitt 157).

Survival often takes a more direct aggressive thoughtful approach, an ability to gage what tactics will generate the most desired result, not getting eaten! Regal Horned Lizards show a knack of survival, as they seem to discern when to run and when not to, the approach of slower moving snake i.e. a rattlesnake or the the very quick moving coachwhip snake. In the case of the latter, the horned lizard often “presents the largest part of its” very round flat “body to convince the snake that it’s too large to swallow” (Jones Lovich 197). Furthermore an ability to defend specifically against “canid predators such as Coyotes” suggests this knowledge of what defensive behavior works best against a specific predator (Jones Lovich 180). There is also evidence showing that the horned lizard primary food source, ants, “many of which are known to produce a variety of toxic or noxious chemicals for defense”, give them an added defensive advantage that manifests itself in a sort of pepper spray warding of would be attackers (Pianka Vitt 79).

But the lizard that takes the cake for its proactive defensive abilities is the lizard that is one of the only two venomous lizards in the world, the Gila Monster, with the scientific name of Heloderma, a term derived from the Greek words helos for ‘nail stud’ and derma for ‘skin’. This is an apt description of the studded skins of” the bumpy looking lizard of “which are embedded with bony, beadlike osteoderms” (Beck 1). Interestingly enough the species name of “suspectum was given the Gila Monster by E.D. Cope in 1869 because he suspected it was venomous, but it was nearly 50 years later before scientists agreed that, indeed this was true” (4). “Unlike other lizards that can rapidly skitter out of harm’s way, monstersaurs”, as Beck calls them in his Gila Monster account in Lizards of the American South West, “are not sprinters” and need “the threat of a painful, venomous bite” to help their ability in “defending themselves against potential predators such as Coyotes, foxes, hawks and cats.” To humans “a bite from a Gila Monster or Beaded Lizard causes excruciating pain, swelling, and, in more severe bites, a rapid drop in blood pressure, profuse sweating, and vomiting. Gila Monsters pose little threat to human health and safety, however… there has not been a human death reported from a Gila Monster bite since 1930” and this is primarily because “bites to people are rare and almost always result from careless handling” (Jones Lovich 497).

It seems to be all about peptides so far with Gila Monster research and its medical field applications what “have brought the shy, venomous lizards into pharmacology journals and headlines in medicine” (Beck 52). Studies show that “Gilatide”, derived from the saliva of the lumpy looking lizard, dramatically improves memory retention in rats” what “might boost memory receptors in the brains of humans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease” (Badger 118). But “the best-known lizard peptide, exendin-4 (exenatide) is a leading candidate for treating adult-onset (Type II) diabetes, which accounts for most of the 17 million cases of diabetes in the United States. Prospects for this drug is so bright that Eli Lilly & Company recently closed a $325 million deal with Amylin Pharmaceuticals for rights to develop and market this compound” (Beck 52).

A favorite period of time for many lizard watchers is breeding season, when the males are, most often, the ones who put on their Sunday best to attempt at getting a female, or in many cases a territory with a harem of females in which case they need to use their bright vivid colors and physical displays to ward off the other lizard antagonists. Featuring a seemingly complicated method of mate selection ”the Common Side-blotched Lizard,” has a set of three male color patterns found within the species all of which have different strategies to get a mate. There “fixed” color forms “according to the color of their throat: blue, yellow, or orange. The orange-throated males are the most aggressive and maintain large territories with females inside them; but yellow-throated males, who do not defend territories, sneak into the territories of the orange-throated males at opportune times and copulate with the resident’s females. Blue-throated males also do not defend territories, but instead mate-guard their females after copulation. This mate guarding is effective against yellow-throated males, but not against the super-aggressive orange-throated males” A makeshift “game of rock-paper-scissors” (Jones Lovich 37).

There are concerns with how long we can keep lizards around in their full biodiversity. “Many lizards, along with other retile species, are declining or have declined historically for myriad reasons”, Jones and Lovich convey, “in general, most population declines are due to habitat loss and habitat conversions resulting from the invasion of non-native species.” They go on to say how thankfully no southwestern lizards have gone extinct “yet.”

A lizard who is having a hard time in Arizona is the Flat-tailed Horned Lizard what has “behavior patterns” what make them “particularly susceptible to mortality on roads” since they tend to stay motionless as a vehicle approaches “therefore, roads and new road construction are recognized as threats influencing the long-term persistence of this species” (Painter Ingraldi 1). Thankfully there is some progress being made when “in 1997 flat-tailed horned lizards gained protective status on public lands under a conservation agreement signed by several state and federal agencies” (Painter Ingraldi 3).

I have lived in Arizona and loved lizards my whole life and thought there was pretty much no more I could learn about my home state and the lizard I often saw in it. As I attempt to convey their stories I find there is much we can learn and much we can do for lizards, that we are not the only things that have a desire to live have a life. That we need to look where we tread and observe how beautiful and interesting life can be and is. For me I have chosen the degree path of wildlife restoration and ecology of which I can attribute to my childhood playing outside with captivation to these scaled and tailed educational ambassadors we call lizards!

Works Cited

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert. Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Press. 2000. Print.

Badger, David. Lizards: A Natural History of Some Uncommon Creatures—Extraordinary Chameleons, Iguanas, Geckos, & More. Voyageur Press, Inc. 2002. Print.

Beck, Daniel D. Biology of Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards. University of California Press. 2005. Print.

Brennon, Thomas C. and Andrew T. Holycross. A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2006. Print.

Jones, Lawrence L. C. and Robert E. Lovich. Lizards of the American Southwest: A photographic Field Guide. Tucson: Rio Nuevo Publishers, 2009. Print.

Painter, Mikele L. and Michael F. Ingraldi. Use of Simulated Highway Underpass Crossing Structures by Flat-tailed Horned Lizard. Arizona Game and Fish Department, 2007. Print.

Pianka Eric R., and Laurie J. Vitt. Lizards: Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, 2003. Print.

Reilly, Stephen M., Lance B. McBrayer and Donald B. Miles, Eds. Lizard Ecology. Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Research Paper Proposal: What We Can Learn, a Look at Arizona’s Lizards

For the state of Arizona Lizards are no doubt an eye catcher and major attraction, to photographers, hikers and young explorers. in Arizona there is a very great variety sizes and kinds in this desert region what sports four desert biotic communities giving Arizona a unique look into this wide spread and diverse life form we call lizards. Much has been done in recent years with research using lizards from a seemingly miracle drug for diabetics derived from the Gila Monster’s saliva, to insights into local ecological conditions and awesome evolutionary adaptations for survival in some of the world’s most arid inhospitable regions what would be thought tolerable for wildlife. A look into all that can be learned had led many to push for habitat protection and awareness of this scaly and typically small education ambassador.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Why of My Degree Path: Wildlife & Restoration Ecology

Ever since I can remember I have been infatuated by critters, animals, bugs, lizards and pretty much anything I could observe in my mason-jar terrarium. I admit most of my early observations were while dismembering and killing helpless insects. I soon realized it was much more fun just talking with others about my observations and teaching them what I knew, what eventually lead to my realization of my degree path in wildlife biology.

“What is that? What does it eat? Will it bite?” Were just a few common inquiries from students this child professor. The more strange a critter I found, the more fear people had of it, gave me the most attention from both young and old and I would have a captive audience! Most of the answers I gave I knew from my own observations. Often times, however, I did not know, often times I had to hypothesize and make up the best answer I could for my students. Curiosity would get the best of me however, and I would have to search out answers at the local library. Fully illustrated books regarding lizards, snakes ants and spiders were my exclusive library diet. It came to the point where I was bored with the selection of the local, small town, library had to offer. I moved on to taking pets to sustain fascination. The green iguana was my earliest substantial pet I can remember, I had responsibilities, to find out what it ate and how much it ate. The daily task of cutting up greens and serving it to this scaly green herbivorous responsibility of mine become a little more than I had asked for at times.

Years went by and my childhood fantasy had seemingly come to an end as I realized money needed to be made and I really had no idea that there was a whole world of wildlife biology that people had as careers and what the made a living by. I started my college journey and floated around for a while until I got a part time lab assistant job at the Red Mountain campus of Mesa Community College. I was entertained by the fact they had a pretty good live collection of Arizona reptiles and as I continued to work I came in contact with the biology instructors who had backgrounds in wildlife conservation and research. Once it was made evident there was a degree at Arizona State University what was highly supported by Arizona Game and Fish it was really a choice I had already made as a kid biologist to jump right into the degree path of my dreams!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tokay Gecko

I got a tokay gecko about a month ago and was pretty sure it was a female. Tokay gecko's are well known for being agressive and not hesitant to bite! I got an adult male tokay the other day from Scottsdale Community College. I had them in seperate tanks until I heard a rather loud squecking noise what is the male tokay mating call! I put them together and they snuggled up to eachother!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lizard Vivarium

Well, for months now I've been thinking about purchasing or building a large terrarium to house several native lizard species Collard Lizards Long Nosed Leopard Lizards or Chuckwallas. Depending on on how well they get along I wanna get as many different species as I can. Anyway, so I was looking around for ideas to either build or purchase a rather large tank to keep them in and so I stopped by several different Goodwill stores and Pet stores. While I was at Petco on Power and Baseline I saw how they kept their ferrets in a hexagonal tank that was pretty much a 3 foot in all directions it sitting on a stand that had storage. I asked the employee if he knew where they bought their tanks from for the displays. He didn't know... but he told me that the empty tank that was pretty much the same model was for sale!

I checked it out it was a pretty large tank and I wasn't sure if it could fit in my room... it was $200 of which was going to some pet charity. I didn't have the money on me at the time so I waited until I had the extra cash, it took like a month before that happened so I'd stop by every couple weeks to make sure it was still there. I got a dj job and had worked some extra hours at the school and got enough money! First thing the next morning I went and purchased the tank.

And since I had so long to think about getting it I already had a plan on how I was going to design the thing. Since there was a support bar in the center of the terrarium I decided to make a rock pile in the middle to sort of cover it up and yet make the best use of the space in the middle leaving more space around it. I had seen some cool fake rock walls and things on the Internet made out of Styrofoam and grout mix. I really didn't want to carry a bunch of real rocks around in my car and have all that excess weight in the terrarium. So that's what I did, I went dumpster diving and found some Styrofoam pieces in the back of a furniture store. What I started carving down to a more rock-ish shape with a kitchen knife and razor blades. (Be careful kids!)

I realized it was going to be quite a mess so I put a tarp down to try and catch most of the shavings. But ended up just doing it on a table on my back porch. The more I carved the more it started looking like real rocks. I also realized it was going to gain some rock-like aesthetics from the sand treated grout mix I had purchased in a dirt color. What, now that I think about it, I should have bought a grey color to look more rock like, anyhow. After sculpting all my rocks some of which were hallowed out so they could have a cave like function once they were grouted. I hot glued the rocks in a pile with gaps and little bridges in a way to make a lizard happy (Ha!). Then I used this foam spray stuff to fill in the gaps and cracks and also serve as another sort of adhesive.

Now comes the fun part. Made up my sand treated gout mix and started smearing it with my hands all over the foam rocks. This was quite entertaining and very messy so of course I had it on a tarp. It was quite the process making sure every single rack and underside was covered. After like a half hour of this I realized how much easier and efficient it would be if I used a paint brush to evenly distribute the grout on the structure. So much faster. It kinda' looked like a giant pile of doggy doo after I was finished but I was going to add some acrylic paint to give it more rock-like texture.

I then got some acrylic paints and put them in a cheap spray bottle, red grey and black and sprayed splotched layers of the colors to give it a rocky look. After which I sprayed the sealant on the grout what... sealed it. When it dried it was rock hard.

Then I've been adding some plants a off shoot of kriasote bush and brittle bush and triangle bersage and a little pin cushion cacti that somebody had kicked up on a trail I was on. Hopefully they will take root!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

iHike AZ!

Here I made out a list of all the hikes I've done in AZ that I can remember... in the last year or two. Also put a list of reptiles and amphibians I've seen at each location with links so you can see them for yourselves.

White Tank Mountains
Didn't get a chance to go too far on the trail I took Ford Canyon trail was wonderful weather lots of annual flowers blooming and plenty of lizards to see. Went there to see a Great Basin Collard lizard and that's what I got. No complaints.

Species County:
Side Blotched Lizard, Great Basin Collard Lizard

Fossil Springs
Gorgeous hike! The creek at the end makes it even better water fall lush green.. Perfect. Went there mid march and found some snow still on the ground.

Species count.
Madrean Alligator Lizard, A frog I couldn't identify...

Hieroglyphic springs
has got to be one of my favorite hikes because I have done it at least 20 times. A great hike that is easy enough for not so experienced hikers and yet it has a exciting finish to it what helps it not get old. there are some large rocks with awesome petroglyphs, rock art, that native people left. The creek is running at some times if the year and I have even gone for a dip! It has a sort of pool that has a make shift wate slide. Pretty flat all the way although one does have to watch their step because of the fair amount of loose bolders and rocks.

species count:

Side Blotched Lizard, Tiger Whip Tail, Black-necked Garter Snake, Male/Female Eastern Collard Lizard, Canyon Tree Frog, Chuckwalla

Flat Iron
a very difficult long hike that can take all morning to finish. An excellent view of the whole valley from atop the superstition flat iron. One has to be careful hiking in the warmer months to bring PLENTY of WATER. I have had a couple close calls hiking this trail where heat exaustion began to set in before I made it to my car. The hike begins at the parking lot where you get on the siphon draw trailhead and fowllow the upland desert area to the edge of the superstitions. The boulders get bigger a d bigger until you get to a carved out river bed in sheer rock.
Side Blotched Lizard, Zebra Tail, Ornate Tree Lizard, Desert Spiney, Male/Female Eastern Collard Lizard and hatchling

South Mountain
A very flat dry rocky hike. Alot of rolling hills, hills more than a mountain but it's still worth hiking. I would avoid weekends it's quite the popular hiking spot whereas it's right close to both phoenix and Chandler. Quite surprising is the fact you can still see quite a bit of wildlife while you're there. the orange/red tailed chuckwalla is a unique find that you can find nowhere else, that I know of. Though it's not far from the city you can still stumble upon rattlesnakes, I did! A Tiger Rattle snake.
Red Tail Chuckwalla, Tiger Rattle Snake

Camel Back Mountain
So as you can see I don't have ANY herps for Camel Back Mountain! How can that be!? I don't know, but the 2-3 times I have been there I didn't see anything that I can remember. Weird. A pretty good hike I'd say, on the weekends, like South Mt., Camel Back gets quite the crowd of fitness enthusiasts and wanna be hikers and rock climbers. I've seen a good number of news reports during the summer about hikers getting stuck or hurt and having to get helicoptered out (I know not a word) on hiking trips are on Camel back. This is not a "walk in the park" it's actually a fairly difficult hike and has steep inclines large boulders to traverse through.
(No list of reptiles for I have not seen them yet)

San Tan Mountain
A nice find on my part... I live out in south gilbert and always wondered what the heck the "San Tan" Freeway was named after and what the mountainous range just south of me was. Did a bit of googling and turns out it's a mountain and it has hiking. It's a Maricopa county park that used to be a GM car proving ground it has a $6 park fee. Reminds me a lot of South Mt. but way less people. Looks like people like to ride bikes there too. Had a friend who bikes I told about it to and he liked it.
Chuckwalla,Eastern Collard Lizard, Sonoran Whip Snake

Picket Post
I love this hike, I hiked it at the begging of fall and it was a difficult hike and took several hours but I loved it. I really can't wait to try it out during the spring time. Best part about it is the fact I didn't see one person! I posted a blog about it.
Side blotched Lizard

Picacho Peak
Enjoyed this hike interesting how the trail curved around the mountain and you get to cross several rickety looking bridges that are bolted to solid rock! Great view once you get to the top. Again, I think this hike would rock in spring and summer.
Ornate Tree Lizard, Juvinial Chuckwalla

Peralta Trail
Great hike not too hard not too easy great view popular but not over populated. I've see a good number of lizards here too. I've done it half a dozen times.
Side Blotched Lizard, Chuckwalla, Desert Spiney, Greater Earless Lizard, Zebra Tail Lizard, Tiger Whip Tail, Gila Spotted Whiptail

Piestewa Peak
Fun little rock climb, not many critters but it was fun.

Chiricahuas Mountains
I went down with three biology teachers from MCC Red Mt. to collect herps for the schools live collection. Way cool mountains we hiked up to some rock slides where we found the protected Rock Rattlesnake. We actually camped there on the mountain side. The stars were AMAZING I've never seen them so bright and vivid. With no city lights to mess with there sheer awesomeness the altitude of the mountains was a perfect star gazers spot.
Aligator Lizard, Yarrows Spiney, Striped Plateau Lizard, Black Tailed Rattle Snake, Rock Rattle Snake, Twin Spotted Rattle Snake, Western Lyresnake, Great Plains Toad, Sonoran Desert Toad, Woodhouse's Toad, Couch's Spadefoot, Mexican Spadefoot

Huachuca Mountain
Drove down to Sierra Vista to do some herping down at Gray Hawk nature preserve I also took a drive up to the Huachuca Mt. Like the mountain a lot very windy roads. Almost sat on a sun bathing black tail rattler. Also went for a little walk in some grass meadow I don't recall the name of. Good place to hike a drive down there though.
Yarrow's Spiney, Black Tail Rattle Snake, Black-necked Garter Snake, Canyon Tree Frog

Pinnacle Peak
Very short hike... of course I didn't do the entire trail, but still was able to see a chuckwalla what I snagged an awesome picture of.

Boyce Thomson Arboretum
Out past Picket Post Mt. just before Superior AZ there it is! A neat little nature preserve that has a plant store with a nice selection of native and non-native desert plants. Also a little gift shop. Trails are all pretty much paved very easy hiking and also has a picnic area. I have a ton of memories as a kid taking field trips here and eating string cheese.

Ornate Tree Lizard, Tiger Whip Tail, Gila Spotted Whiptail

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Nap On Top of "Woolf Mountain"

Tuesday morning I went hiking like planned to Picket post mountain! When I was a kid my Dad used to drive back and forth from Mesa to Globe to work the dental office before we moved down there and he used to wonder what the name of the mountain right next to Superior AZ was. He didn't know it so he just called it "Woolf Mountain" we called it that for years and even named the different lumps on top of it after each of us kids ha ha!
The hike was pretty intense indeed! It didn't help that I took a 2-3 miles wrong turn and ended up on the back side of the mountain. Ended up coming back and seriously considered not hiking to the top. But I did anyway! Reminded me a lot of the Superstition Flat Iron hike but more gravely and consistently steep. I got to the top and was pretty much exhausted. I realize when I'm hiking I don't like to slow down and sometimes push myself a little much and overdue myself in the process. So I was pretty excited to be at the top but more excited to sit down and take a breather. Ended up taking a half hour nap under a huge rocky shaded area. The area looked like prime lizard habitat but it of course it's the wrong season to see anything interesting anymore. Only a billion side blotched lizards aka "Uta stansburiana" I'm sure you don't care about the scientific name but hey, it's my blog, get over it.
Took my nap ate my left over pancake I brought with and some cookie crisp so good. I brought plenty of water with me this time so I had enough to get me by unlike a recent solo trip to Flat Iron where I thought I was going to pass out. I took pictures up top which I will post on here at some point soon. It was a fun hike. Although I think I am now even sicker than I was because I hiked the 8 or so miles my little caught has turned into a full blown cold. So today, which is veterans day, I didn't go hiking like I had planned, just sat around being lazy. The End.
P.s. Funny story, went to get some substrate for the bottom of my snakes cage at Petsmart with my nephew. Was looking at their reptiles and noticed they were selling two female eastern collard lizards "Crotaphytus collaris". They looked rather weak and sickly and not the typical strong proud lizard I'm used to. $49 bucks pahaha! I Thought that was silly. I was tempted to buy them for our male collard lizard in the Terrarium but decided they were too weak for him and wouldn't have the same survival instincts as a wild caught one would.