Posts tagged ‘Desert’

Why do camels have humps?

Camel

People used to think that the camel’s hump was a storage place for water. But the hump on its back is mostly fat.  Camel’s live in the desert, and they often have to go a long time without food. When food is scarce on long desert treks, the fat in the hump provides energy for the animal.

When the camel has not eaten for a few days, its hump gets smaller.  After the camel has had a few days’ rest and some foods, its hump becomes firm and plump again.  The camel must drink water.  But once it drinks, it can go for days without drinking again. – Dick Rogers

What is a Gila monster?

A Gila monster (pronounced HEE la)  is a large, poisonous lizard that makes its home in the deserts of southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

Gila Monster

It is easy to recognize a Gila monster.  It has fat, clumsy body about two feet long and is covered with beadlike orange-and-black scales.

The Gila’s short, stumpy tail is a storage place for fat.  The creatures can live on this stored-up fat for months.

The bite of a Gila monster is similar to that of a poisonous snake.

When the Gila bites, it will often chew its victim, working the poison into the wound with its grooved teeth.

Small animals die quickly when bitten.  Usually, human beings suffer only painful swellings.

Fortunately, these lizards are very slow-moving and it is easy to keep out of their way.

Gila monsters are named for the Gila River region of Arizona, where they were first discovered.  – Dick Rogers

What is a horned toad?

Horned Toad

The horned toad is mis-named.  It is not a toad but a lizard.   The name “toad” comes from the toad like shape of its squat body.

The horns of the horned toad are sharp spines that stick out from its head.  Smaller spines cover its scaly body.  These spines give the creature its bristly appearance.

The spines protect the horned toad from being swallowed by hungry animals.  The horned toad dwells throughout the dry plains and deserts of North America.  A fully grown horned toad may be only a few inches long.

The color of the horned toads skin matches the sandy color of the desert and makes it hard to see.

When threatened, the horned toad quickly buries itself in the sand.  If it falls to do so in time it may squirt a thin yet of blood out of its eyelids to drive away its attack.

In some places, the horned toad is protected-because it eats harmful insects. – Dick Rogers

 

 

 

What is a roadrunner?

Road Runner

The roadrunner is a curious bird that lives in the deserts of the southwestern United States and Mexico.

It is a slender, brown bird nearly two feet long, about half of which is tail, and has long legs.

As its name tells, the roadrunner prefers to travel by running along the ground and by fast, gliding jumps at speed clocked at 15 miles per hour.

It enjoys racing down a road in front of travelers and presents a comical sight as it sprints along with wings outspread, neck stretched forward and its long tail jerking up and down.  People on foot cannot hope to get ahead of it.

When it tires, the bird abruptly turns aside and disappears in a clump of bushes.

Nicknamed the “snake-killer,” it is more than a match for a rattlesnake.  Its diet includes lizards, mice and insects.  – Dick Rogers