Packrats, Snakes and Bugs; Oh My!


In the wild, packrats make their dens (called middens) hidden in thick clumps of cacti or in tight rocky crevices where only snakes can reach them. This is why some leggy lizards evolved into legless lizards called “snakes”. Under these hunting conditions, legs would be an impediment. In our yard, … Continue reading

Kissing Bugs Can Be Deadly!

Kissing Bug

The Kissing bug, aka: Conenose bug or Mexican Bedbug is a member of the Triatoma species, whatever that is. The important point is that they are blood suckers and sneak under your pillow at night and wait for you to fall asleep. They then creep up on your lips, anesthetize … Continue reading

Thar Be Collared Peccaries In My Yard!


They look like hairy pigs, but aren’t. The Spanish, who were the first Europeans to settle in Southern Arizona, called them “javelina” meaning javelin or spear. When you see the skull of a collared peccary, you immediately know why. Those tusks are impressive. Typically they weigh 35 to 45 pounds, but some males beef up [...]

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The New Desert Museum Aquarium

Boy Watching Seahorses

On a clear Sunday morning in early February, Neighbor Roy, Ms. Karen, & I arrived at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for our 2nd Behind The Scenes tour, this time of the new Warden Aquarium. Lacey was our guide for our group of 8, including two little boys who looked to be about 4 and 6 [...]

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Living With Coyotes


Arizona Game & Fish Department estimates that about 200,000 coyotes live in Arizona. They are equally at home in the wild, in our cities and in the suburbs; anywhere they can snatch a meal.

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The Sphinx Moth

Sphinx Moth Caterpillar

This critter is also known as a hornworm and can devastate a tomato plant overnight. It grows into a lovely, very large moth, that looks a little like a hummingbird in flight, thus earning the nickname, the Hummingbird Moth. Here is the critter in it’s Chrysallis phase. I think there … Continue reading

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

This Great Blue Heron landed briefly on a friends chimney Saturday afternoon. If herons are here there must be fish somewhere in Tucson.

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Bats Under The Bridge: Who Knew?

Campbell St Bridge Bats

I had heard rumors that thousands of bats live under the North Campbell Street bridge (just south of River) and that they take flight at sundown in the summer. This urban legend seemed more plausible when I found out that docents from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are there every Thursday evening to share their knowledge [...]

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Snake in a Watering Can


These are two of my favorite photos.  It gets hot here and even the snakes need a break. As luck would have it, this was a harmless Gopher Snake. The differences can be subtle. The jawline is different. A rattlesnake has a triangular shaped jaw and oh, rattles. The coloration … Continue reading

Horse Lubber Grasshopper

HorseLubber Grasshopper This spectacular grasshopper will intrigue the newcomer to Tucson with its size and color. The Horse Lubber Grasshopper, scientific name,Taeniopoda eques, can generally be seen in the late summer on the outskirts of the Tucson Area. Cool, huh. -kr