Meet the Desert Creatures

Many unique creatures live in the Sonoran Desert that spreads across the areas of Arizona, California, Texas, New Mexico and Mexico.  Some are featured in this new book, "Who Will Save the Desert?" 

Below is information about the real animals mentioned in this story. There is an author sketch here but during your research on the animals, find an actual photo of each animal and compare it to the illustration in the book. Try sketching your own set of animals!

Santiago - Regal Horned Lizard

Santiago is one of 8 types of horned lizards that live in North America. He has a flat, round body with a rosy color that seems to brighten in the sunshine. He loves the hot, dry climate and moves slowly around the desert. He can eat 2,500 ants in one meal! If threatened he can puff up his body, hiss and squirt blood from his eyes. He may live up to 5 years.

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Scarlet - Bark Scorpion

There are many varieties of scorpion around the world. Scarlet is a bark scorpion. Usually a brownish color, in this story Scarlet matches her name. Scorpions have 8 legs and a pair of pedipalps (like claws) for grabbing. Scorpions are mostly nocturnal and they hibernate. They like cool, moist and dark areas. Because of their color, it may be hard to see them, so watch out! Scorpions may live up to 6 years and can hatch hundreds of young at one time which they carry on their backs. 

Rowena - Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Rowena is a type of rattlesnake called a Western Diamondback, so named because the pattern on its skin is in diamond shapes. This type of snake has venom that can make a person sick if bitten. It has a rattle at the end of its tail that makes a noise of warning, so beware of that sound while in the desert! Mostly nocturnal, a rattlesnake will rest during the day. A rattlesnake eats small mammals and sometimes birds. A diamond- back rattlesnake can live up to 20 years and can grow up to 7 feet long. 

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Randolph - Kangaroo Rat

This type of rat has a large head, a long tail, small ears, and big feet. It eats grasses and seeds, lives underground in burrows and is more active at night. It eats mostly seeds and can live 2-5 years. A rat like Randolph can jump over 9 feet at one time!

Titus - Desert Tortoise

Titus is a Sonoran desert tortoise. This tortoise will stay in a burrow most of the time, only coming out to eat flowers, stems and leaves of desert plants. But, it only needs to eat every 6 months to 3 years. A desert tortoise can lay up to a dozen eggs at one time and It can live 50-80 years in the desert.

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Vance - Turkey Vulture

Vance is a turkey vulture who has a wingspan of about 5 feet. He has a good sense of sight and smell and preys on dead animals. When a vulture soars, it can travel long distances. It can make odd sounds: hiss, growl and snarl. A turkey vulture enjoys strong family togetherness and mates for life. turkey vulture can live about 20 years.

Find information about these and other desert creatures online, in books and at the library.