Posts tagged ‘Southwestern United States’

What is a kangaroo rat?

The kangaroo rat is a little burrowing rodent that jumps about like a tiny kangaroo on long, powerful hind legs.

The kangaroo rat is a harmless little burrowing animal that lives in the deserts of the Southwestern united States.

Through it is neither a kangaroo nor a rat, this small tan-and-cream rodent shares certain of their features.  It can leap about on its powerful hind legs like a tiny kangaroo, and is capable of jumping six feet into the air.

Kangaroo Rat

A kangaroo rat may be about 7 inches long, plus an equal-length tall which ends in a furry tuft.

The kangaroo rat spends the hot daylight hours in its cool burrow, emerging only at night to feed on seeds and other plant food.

It uses its tiny front legs to stuff food into fur-lined pouches in its checks, to be carried to its burrow and stored against lean time.

Unconcerned by the lack of water, the creature does not need to drink.  Most of the moisture it needs is produced within its body from the seeds it eats.  – 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 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