There are now two main sections of the Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum where animals are prominent. As with any zoological park, the venomous reptiles and arachnids are kept in displays that are apart from other areas of the zoological segment. Large predators are likewise kept in areas appropriate for their safety and well-being, and those of all other living creatures, including us. The new addition to the museum is Warden Aquarium, which focuses on the Sonoran Desert’s rivers, particularly the Colorado, and on the Gulf of California/Sea of Cortez.
Let me start with my greeter, a small lizard.
Immediately to the right of the lizard’s lair is Warden Aquarium. You may recognize the animals who greeted me there, as relatives of those featured at the Birch Aquarium, in La Jolla.
Yes, sea horses from the Sea of Cortez!
Moving on, we find more curious animals sticking out of the sand.
These are garden eels, saying “Welcome!” to one and all.
Do you think all minnows are small?
Psych! These are pike minnows. They are among the largest members of the minnow family, and are carnivorous, sometimes eating kangaroo rats and small birds, which may get too close to the water’s edge.
I visited this cave, but no bats were around. Actually, the bat area is off limits, as they transmit fungal and other diseases to humans.
Of the larger predators, the Mexican gray wolves were out and about. The mountain lions are arthritic and have been sent to Mountain Lion Assisted Living. A new mountain lion is being sought. The sea otter is also being replaced. The coyotes and javelinas were in hiding, as it was afternoon when I got to their area.
Prairie Dog Town was lively, as always. Prairie dogs don’t take well to strangers, be they big animals or other prairie dogs from outside the family.
A Great Blue Heron was ruling the roost on this fine spring afternoon, near the lagoon.
Finally, the Desert Bighorn Sheep were ranging about their enclosure. Arizona has some of these great creatures in an area called Palm Canyon, north of Yuma.
There were no sheeple here today. Everyone was rather animated and engaged in the magnificent surroundings.