Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fauna at the Desert Museum

Moving right along from yesterday's post on the Desert Museum. Unfortunately I don't have many animal photos to show. They were rebuilding the cat's habitat so I can't show you any Lions or other cats. Lynne was too tired to make it to the Big Horn Sheep mountain and I was too unsure on my feet to go down to the Otter exhibit. Of course, those are the most photogenic animals, but I will show what I got.

This little guy is my favorite. He is, of course, a Prairie Dog and he isn't a dog at all. He is actually, ahem, a type of rodent. Or a type of Ground Squirrel if you prefer. They got their name because when they emit a warning signal it sounds like a bark. They grow 12-16" and weigh 1-3 lbs. I think this little critter must weigh 3 pounds because they are well fed at the museum. Their diet is all types of veggies and fruit. This chubby guy is a Mexican Prairie Dog.

The second photo shows a Docent holding an Owl. Docents give lectures
on the inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert at different parts of the Museum . They also give lectures on the vegetation that grows here. There is nothing in the Museum that is not native to the desert (The Docents and visitors are, of course, the exceptions.)

Next we have another unidentified bunch of Arizona wild flowers. I just thought they were pretty.

And last we have the wily coyote. Our town houses were built next to Pantano Wash. It is usually a dry creek bed until a Monsoon rain makes it a raging river. It was a habitat for small animals including Mr. Coyote. Since there was still some undeveloped land between our buildings and the wash, the small animals remained. However, a developer put in houses and the poor animals had very little land left. Coyotes visited our area frequently before that happened and people didn't dare let their pets out unless they were on a leash. Little kitties and doggies could have been breakfast for the predators. Last summer I saw three emaciated coyotes looking for a rabbit or squirrel. A male walked ahead followed by two females. He walked up to my corner, looked up the street, and not seeing anything to eat sadly turned around and they wandered back to the remaining desert. I am not enamored of coyotes, but I couldn't help feeling sorry for those poor animals.

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Joy Des Jardins said...

Terrific photos Darlene. Love that little prairie dog fella...and the owl is beautiful. I also love that Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus from your previous post...beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing the museum with us. Hugs ~Joy

Gary White said...

Another nice photo essay. Thanks, Darlene.

Darlene said...

Joy and Gary, you are very welcome. It is my pleasure. More tomorrow, "be the good Lord willn' and if the creek don't rise."

Rain said...

I love the desert museum and go there as often as I can. We actually have been members for many years even when we didn't get down there just because we believed in it so much.

On the desert disappearing, I see the same thing in the area where I spend the most time down there-- out toward Oro Valley and feel the same sympathy for the desert creatures. The people who are coming to Tucson don't value the desert and often do all they can to fence and gate it out. So sad.

Sylvia K said...

Those are marvelous photos and I love your commentary, too! Fun!

kenju said...

I love seeing the animals, Darlene, as well as the flowers.

Believe it or not, we had a coyote sighting recently in the neighborhood behind ours, which means we will all be keeping our cats and dogs indoors for a long time!

20th Century Woman said...

I'd like to say a word in favor of coyotes. We have quite a few of them here on our island, and they are kind of big probably as a result of hybridization with dogs. I have not heard any authenticated stories of coyotes eating pets, but I do know that they keep the rat population in check, and we do have a problem with rats.

I love the picture of the prairie dog. They are so cute.

Nancy said...

Wonderful and interesting post,Darlene. The pictures are great!

I felt sorry for the coyote you told us about, but that is nature.

We don't have coyotes but we do have ground hogs (Think Punxatawny Phil). They are being pushed into more and more urban neighborhoods because their fields and woods have been taken over by developers.

Tabor said...

I love this part of the world and it appears because my blog list will not post your new posts that I have to remember to stop here more often!

Darlene said...

I hope you have all gotten my e-mails in response to your comments. Thanks to all.

Tabor, I tried e-mailing you but was unable to find your address. If you would e-mail me I will respond. I have you on my blog roll now so will not be remiss about visiting you blog from now on.