Common lesser earless lizard
Common side-blotched lizard
Greater short-horned lizard
Plateau striped whiptail
Eastern collared lizard
Antelope ground squirrel
No rattlesnakes or scorpions so far. Some pictures of the creatures…
We got one of these in the apartment once. It couldn't run on the linoleum very well. It looked like it was swimming in place. Here is a movie of Katie trying to catch it:
Greater short-horned lizard (AKA horny toad):
Antelope ground squirrels:
For those of you screaming horrified questions at your computer screen right now, a solfugid is an arthropod that is not a scorpion or a spider, though it has some things in common with those. They are also known as solpugids, and are sometimes called "wind scorpions" or, in barely-true emails that have been forwarded all over the web, "camel spiders," though they don't get as big here as they do in Iraq. They are fast runners and they run after their prey and catch it. We get one running in under the screen doors every other night here in the apartment.
This brings us to the most notable desert dweller out here, which is the humble ant. There are ants EVERYWHERE here. Billions of them. Small black ants, small brown ants, big black ants, big red ants, et cetera. I don't know what on earth they eat. This is sort of a spare ecosystem, there is not a lot of biomass compared to a forest. But I probably step on a hundred of them on my 5 minute walk from the apartment to the office each morning. And when I step on them their buddies come surround their corpses. Maybe that's what they eat. They have trails everywhere around the complex here. If you look close you can see the ants in this trail, which has been active for a couple months:
Here is an industrious ant carrying away a piece of potato chip from my lunch:
And it was probably ants that cleaned up this piece of creature that we found today:
It may be a bobcat skull, we took it back to the lab for comparative anatomy purposes, so we can study the bones.
Still haven't decided where we'll go this weekend... maybe Utah!