October 4th is World Animals’ Day! We are grateful for all the amazing animals that inhabit our green home. To celebrate this day, we want to highlight some creatures that are native to our desert state. You might just even spot these on your next hike.
The Gila Monster
Starting us off, we have the famous gila monster. Known for its stunning contrast of colors, this large lizard can be up to two feet long and weigh over 5 pounds. It can be found along most of the western and southern parts of the state. So you might encounter one while trekking along the sand dunes in Yuma, but also while hiking some trails in the Grand Canyon.
But do not be afraid, not all rumors surrounding these critters are true. I mean, it is true that they’re venomous, but it’s also true that they are not likely to bother you if you do not bother them. And while their bites are reported to be painful, they are not likely to be fatal, especially if one gets proper medical attention.
So keep your eye out next time you’re in nature because you just might get to see the monster in all its scaly glory.
Next we have Arizona’s most abundant wild cat, besides the one you have at home, of course. The bobcat, which is not to be confused as the robertcat (I’m sorry), is a medium size feline that can weigh anywhere from 15 to 35 pounds (males tend to be heavier than females). They can be up to 2 ft tall and 4 ft long. That is a large cat!
These furry creatures can be found all over our state; from the forests in the north to the deserts in the south. However, since more and more Arizonian homes are being built near habitats, it is common to spot bobcats in neighborhoods. I once encountered one while going on a walk in Scottsdale, and I’m not going to lie, I was kind of scared.
But once again, there should not be much to worry about because bobcats rarely attack humans. They only want to find some small critter to have for dinner, and that’s not you. So if you encounter one on your next walk, just take out your phone, take a picture, and let it be on its way.
A native desert monkey in Arizona?! Not really because it is actually a part of the raccoon family! However, a lot of people confuse them for monkeys, and they cannot be blamed for these animals are known for their long monkley-like tails. What clearly distinguishes them, however, is their snout.
The coatimundis can more commonly be found in Arizona state parks and mountains in both the Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert. They tend to hangout in the trees among others of their kind. So don’t be shy and say hi next time you see one, I can promise they wont be mad.
Honorable mentions you could also be on the lookout for are:
- The Chiricahua Leopard frog
- The acorn woodpecker
- The antelope jack rabbit
- The bark scorpion.
So there you have it. Celebrate these animals this October 4th, and ensure their survival by helping protect our beautiful planet.