Reptile Season Is In Full Swing!

You can enlarge any of the images in this blog by clicking on it.  Double click for a full screen image.

Before getting to the subject of today’s post, some extremely good news.  As those of you who have been following this blog for a while know, one of the blog’s features has been the ability to enlarge images by clicking on them.  This was something I really took pleasure in: I strive to make my images as sharp as possible and to have a very high level of detail and I wanted you, the readers, to be able to obtain the benefit of being able to see as much detail as possible.  Unfortunately, in January, WordPress, without any announcement, changed the format of the blog in a way that eliminated the ability to enlarge photos.  I went a bit crazy trying to work my way around that change, without any success whatsoever.  But, this morning, Tana Jay Von Isser, who set up this blog for me, worked with me and, thanks entirely to her, we were able to resurrect the old format.  You can once again enlarge images by clicking on them.  Double clicking will “zoom” you in to see the image in full detail.  I’ll put a reminder banner about enlarging images at the head of each day’s post, starting today.  Huge thanks, Tana!

Now for today’s post.  Technically, one may see reptiles in southeastern Arizona any time of year — even in the winter.  The herpetologists over at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are fond of saying that in the Tucson area the rattlesnake season begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 every year.  More realistically, however, reptiles do become dormant during the coldest weeks of winter and sightings of them are rare at that time.  Well, the cold weather is over and they’re definitely active now.  One of my friends observed a rattlesnake in his yard the other day.  Yesterday, I was out taking pictures with another friend and we saw our first Gila Monster of the season.

Just the other day, I photographed this Greater Earless Lizard at Sabino Canyon.

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These colorful little lizards are a common sight in the open desert.  They get the sobriquet of “earless” from the absence of external ear openings.  Don’t be fooled, however, they have ears that are covered with scales and they can hear perfectly well.  An adult will reach a body length of about 6 or 7 inches (including its tail).  Like most lizards, they are secretive and relatively difficult to photograph.  I was surprised at how cooperative this individual was.  Normally, they don’t pose so nicely.  The sides and flanks of this lizard are a colorful melange of stripes and polka dots.  They may look gaudy but they break up the lizard’s shape and may make it harder for a predator to zero in on the lizard and chase it down.

Image made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180 f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 160, f16 @ 1/200.

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