Thursday, April 14, 2011

Fun in the sun...

Here are more pictures from our magnificent day "herping" (looking for reptiles and amphibians) with the marvellous Roger in the Sonoran Desert. He showed us how to use a mirror to reflect light into dark holes under rocks and such, making it easier to spot snoozing herpetological creatures!

Here is Gordon with his make-up mirror. I mean, his manly venomous snake mirror:

 You find lots of things in the desert. We were convinced this was a giant salt lick for range cows...

...until I went up and touched it. Styrofoam!

 And this is Roger's photo of me with Tarzan the Gila Monster. Tarzan has a radio transmitter implanted inside him. We released him after the photo session...

 Is he not a very handsome specimen?

And here is Roger's photo of Tarzan in a palo verde tree. Tarzan got his name because of his preferred hangout!

Later in the day, from the backseat of Roger's pick-up truck, Gordon spotted this:

Another Gila!! I still don't know how the hell he saw it. Gordon will tell you that my nickname for him (one of many)  is Captain Oblivious.

Run, little Gila, cuz Roger's comin' after you with the snake hook thing!

 Nabbed by the lightning-fast Roger.

 Ooooo! Look at those fangs! Venomous sharp toothies! You wouldn't want this guy latching on to your flesh.

With instructions from Roger, Gordon was able to hold young Mr. (or Miss) Gila.

What a beauty!

 We released this one and went on our way to see range cows. I was surprised at all the cows roaming the desert. They really do quite a lot of damage but I guess the cattlemen's lobby is stronger than the tree-huggers' one. 

Hello cows!

It was extremely nice of Roger to take me on a cattle-viewing tour, since I know he prefers his cow medium rare on a plate.


 And we had a stare-off with a bull blocking the road.

The bull backed down. No one messes with Roger. Not even boy-cows with very large, ahem, packages.

Gordon was an expert gate opener and closer, well, except for the first time when he closed himself in on the wrong side of the gate!

The end of a wonderful day. We both felt lucky to be able to go out in the desert with Roger, who is not only extremely knowledgeable about desert flora and fauna, but also supplies beer (Dos Equis with fresh limes!) and burritos, not to mention Advil gel-caps for wimpy Canadian girls who get headaches from too much sun. We love you, Roger!


  1. Letting Tarzan go I can understand; he has a radio-tracker. But the unnamed one? Surely you could have brought him/her home in your luggage as a playmate for Kartini?

  2. Those gilas have got wonderful markings, very handsome indeed.

  3. Nice pix. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Enjoy all your posts and photos of this trip. Still get so annoyed when I see the litter (styrofoam, etc.) that unthinking people so carelessly leave behind.

  5. Those little venomous gilas are beautiful animals. Very cool that you found so many of them. Your friend Roger has a fun job. My Mike is jealous. He would love nothing more than to work outdoors up close and personal with animals.

  6. Yes, the markings on the gilas are gorgeous. Nature is the best artist. Thanks for the tour. p.s. what is the mirror for?

  7. HWB, alas, I could not face the looming Customs battle, and so I did not bring him home. He probably would have eaten Kartini anyway!

    LBM, they are so unusual!

    Paula, Roger thought maybe they were using the styrofoam to set up cans or bottles for target practice. It was very out of place!

    CogDis, Roger actually has a different day job (which he likes) but he is incredibly knowledgeable and could work at herpetology for real. He's a very, very dedicated "amateur." Also the former president of the Tucson Herpetological Society!

    Frannie, the mirror was for reflecting light into dark holes to look for reptiles!

  8. methelated spirits on the feet themselves.....
    do u have dettol over there?
    use that on the perches (neat)

  9. Wow, this post is so informative! It's pretty neat that you caught a wild Gila monster! Roger just runs after it with his snake hook thing, and bam, next thing Gordon is holding the venomous creature like it's a puppy!

    That's awful that the salt lick turned out to be trash! :( And then you even found the cows that may be trying to lick the Styrofoam thinking it looked like salt... Big wild-looking cows!

    Thanks for the tour!

  10. John, my mother swore by Dettol. I will get some for the perches. Thanks for your help!

    Lynn, desert cows are very wild indeed! And shy. ANd Roger is great at capturing all things herpetological.

  11. looks like fun :)

    what the heck is styrofoam doing there?

  12. What a wonderful experience you and Gordon had! So fortunate to have Roger as your guide. Priceless!(..and Thanks to the wonderful creatures of nature.)

  13. PP, your guess is as good as mine! Crazy, eh?

    Elisabeth, Roger is totally awesome. I can't wait to go back out into the desert with him.


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!