Sunday, March 03, 2013

Creatures of the Sevilleta

Sevilletta has plenty of big animals, even "Charismatic Megafauna". Peregrines nest in the cliffs, and herds of exotic oryx, expanding from White Sands despite increased hunting pressure intended to confine them there, drift through as though it was Africa, keeping a distance that, in summer's liquid haze, makes you reach for your binoculars. Karen was once shadowed by a mountain lion. But the most striking difference between the Sevilleta and the surrounding lands is the little stuff. I have seen more adolescent- sized box turtles there than anyplace ever-- count in the eastern box turtles too (this one, from the white tooth marks on his shell, was just big enough to survive an encounter with a coyote). The tiny rattler, scaled (and dated?) by the 35 mm film can, is a massasauga, one of two very small, perhaps "primitive" species assigned to the genus Sistrurus rather then Crotalus. The tiny horned lizard is one of a species I have not yet seen anywhere else; and the Meloid beetle ditto. I just put the more common roadrunner in because I like the shot.

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