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Picture of henryaz
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I saw a couple of interesting things lately while sitting on my front porch reading. First off was this Gila Monster, who just appeared around the corner of the porch, not 8 feet in front of me. I had to go inside to get my phone, and by that time it was 25 feet away from the house and heading south. For scale, the rock next to the tail is 3.5" long. I have lived in AZ for 20 years, and this is the first GM I have ever seen.
 

 
 
Next, a visit from a regular to our porch, but this time more up close and personal. It lives at the end of the house, so our porch is but 40ft away from the burrow. I first noticed movement out of the corner of my eye, and caught just its back slithering under my chair. My immediate thought, due to the sort of diamond pattern and greenish/brown color was Mojave! I moved pretty quickly, even without my cane. Once I got up, I recognized the pattern and looked to the head under my chair to confirm.
 
5 ft. Sonoran Gopher Snake:
 

 
 
  Watch on YouTube (high resolution).

This message has been edited. Last edited by: henryaz,



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Posts: 10376 | Location: South Congress AZ | Registered: May 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Alea iacta est
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That Gil’s Monster is pretty awesome. I would want to get a lot closer and get some really good photos. From what I understand, and know from a childhood spent here, they are a rare sight at best.
Really cool that you got to see one.



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Posts: 3391 | Location: Staring down at you with disdain, from the spooky mountaintop castle.  | Registered: November 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Beancooker:
That Gil’s Monster is pretty awesome. I would want to get a lot closer and get some really good photos.

No thank-you! I have heard they can move quite rapidly, and their bite you certainly do not want. I do not know how aggressive they can be. As it was, I used my iPhone's 3x telephoto from about 20ft. away. I have also heard, from native Arizonans who frequent the desert, that when you see one, there is another not far away. I kept looking the remainder of the day. Smile



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Posts: 10376 | Location: South Congress AZ | Registered: May 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by henryaz:
quote:
Originally posted by Beancooker:
That Gil’s Monster is pretty awesome. I would want to get a lot closer and get some really good photos.

No thank-you! I have heard they can move quite rapidly, and their bite you certainly do not want. I do not know how aggressive they can be. As it was, I used my iPhone's 3x telephoto from about 20ft. away. I have also heard, from native Arizonans who frequent the desert, that when you see one, there is another not far away. I kept looking the remainder of the day. Smile




They really aren't that aggressive, they would much rather be left alone. As far as speed goes I have never seen one moving fast, perhaps they do just have never seen it. As a kid we never seemed to run into them, but within the last ten years I have probably seen about thirty of them. I think all the construction that has been going on in the desert has brought them out. Unfortunately they are like snakes in that they love to keep warm in the road, never ends well for them. They truly are beautiful creatures and they are amazing to see.
 
Posts: 91 | Location: Oro Valley, Arizona | Registered: January 19, 2022Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by cobre sig:
They really aren't that aggressive, they would much rather be left alone. As far as speed goes I have never seen one moving fast, perhaps they do just have never seen it.

You are correct, they do not move fast at all, rather lethargically. But once you get within their zone of no comfort, they hiss and can lunge/bite rather quickly. Their gait is almost amusing, the way they throw out each foot with every step. At any rate, I chose not to test its comfort zone. The bite is not supposed to be fatal for humans, but their venom can cause lots of pain and infection. And they bite and hold, kind of like a criminal apprehension K-9.



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Posts: 10376 | Location: South Congress AZ | Registered: May 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very cool! We get lots of those gopher snakes in our yard. I’d much rather have them than the gophers.


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Posts: 16385 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Now do baby javelina and baby quail





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Posts: 52097 | Location: Henry County , Il | Registered: February 10, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by bendable:
Now do baby javelina and baby quail

Since we do not have any prickly pear cacti, we only rarely see javelina passing through our wash. But quail, we have in spades, and lots of babies every year.
 

 
 
Nap time:
 



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Posts: 10376 | Location: South Congress AZ | Registered: May 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Great pics Henry! I've seen about five Gila Monsters since moving to AZ four years ago and consider myself very fortunate. Fascinating lizards that only leave their underground environments for a few weeks each year. The rest of their time/how they spend their lives is still rather mysterious.

Those gophersnakes are very pretty too (and it's good to have them around for rodent control), but these and a huge number of other predators are why most of those cute Gambel's Quail babies don't survive the year. Nature's way of ensuring there's enough resources to perpetuate the species, I guess.

Do you ever go on night walks to see what's around after dark? It's interesting to see how varied the nocturnal wildlife is from the diurnal species. Just be sure to have a well operating flashlight and maybe bring a blacklight for scorpion searches too!


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Posts: 9799 | Location: The Free State of Arizona | Registered: June 13, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by pulicords:
Those gophersnakes are very pretty too (and it's good to have them around for rodent control), but these and a huge number of other predators are why most of those cute Gambel's Quail babies don't survive the year. Nature's way of ensuring there's enough resources to perpetuate the species, I guess.


It seems most of our baby quail survive. I have watched the clutch/brood mature as they keep close to mama and papa while they grow. That might explain why we have so many, in the neighborhood and on our property specifically. Roadrunners can be particularly dangerous to the chiclets. They eat them like popcorn. But we do not have too many roadrunners around.
 
This year, however, I noticed a pair of parents with only one baby. Their nest must have been raided for the eggs or newborns. They were with the one baby when it was just a chiclet, and I continue to see that pair with just the one, which is now almost fully grown. It still sticks pretty close to the parents.
 
quote:
Do you ever go on night walks to see what's around after dark?

Unfortunately, no. With one leg pretty weak and painful due to a spinal stenosis on the sciatic nerve, I walk with a cane and cannot go far at all without pain. But I do not need a black light to find scorpions. There are plenty to see during the day. Most of our scorpion population are the dangerous bark scorpions. There are probably a whole lot more to see at night with a black light, but I do not venture out much, walking, after dark.



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Posts: 10376 | Location: South Congress AZ | Registered: May 27, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by henryaz:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by pulicords:
But I do not need a black light to find scorpions. There are plenty to see during the day. Most of our scorpion population are the dangerous bark scorpions. There are probably a whole lot more to see at night with a black light, but I do not venture out much, walking, after dark.


I've got a good friend from the Marines living outside Phoenix. Beautiful house and back yard, big Adobe wall, nice landscaping, pool, outdoor kitchen...
Sitting in the yard after dark, and after a beer or three, he quickly asks me how much $ I have on me... Odd question, but he's an odd dude.
Says something about "a buck a shot, get ready!" And runs off inside.
Comes back with 2 pump action BB guns, and the ammo. Flips a switch to turn off the landscaping light, and turns on the black lights in the yard.

Me, being from Chicago, and not knowing the nuances of scorpions was kinda amazed. He was a few shots ahead of me in zapping scorpions. Not a bad way to spend an evening.


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Posts: 7264 | Location: Attempting to keep the noise down around Midway Airport | Registered: February 14, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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