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I thought I'd venture out into the lower desert this morning to take a look-see at the changes (if any) in a few of the washes that have been hit by the last 2-3 monsoon rainstorms that have swept thru the area.  Based on weather radar some of them have been fairly extensive.  I was cruising down the dirt road at about 40 mph ( a comfortable clip) when I spotted movement from something on the left-side-gutter-part of the road at about 20ft.-or-so up ahead of me.  As I passed it I got a much better look at it as it started to climb the berm and head up into the brush.  At that point I could recognize that it was an Arizona Gila Monster !!!!  "WOW,".....   As much as I have hunted and hiked this region over the years, I have only been able to see one-other-one 2-3 years ago in the area.  So I slammed on my breaks skidding to a stop a ways down the road from him, and fumbled around trying to find my camera,..."Oop", I forgot to bring it.  So I grabbed my handy dandy tracphone and ran up the road to try to find the critter.  I did finally find him (it??)  in some brush, and managed to get these not-so-good photos of it.  Based on it's size I would say that it was a full grown adult.  The width of the head (jawbone to jawbone was about 2-1/2" wide), and the head and face was a very pronounce bright black color.  It was a little over a foot long, and a light-colored orangey-yellow separated the black stripes on it's tail.  I could tell that it was in very good condition-health wise,  and it could care less if I was taking pictures of it.  It's kind of cool what you can see out in the desert if you keep your eyes open, ....stumble over it,...or happen to cross paths.  Gary         









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Pretty cool Gary.  :thumbsupanim

I observed one just like that last year on 'that same road'.  :)

Same thing, cruising along and dude was just getting across the road and trying to make it out of sight. 

Pulled over and 'snapped' a few photos.

I've also seen a couple of coach whip snakes in that same area.   One of them was red. 

They move so fast though, I wasn't able to get a picture of either.  :idunno:




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Cool pics Gary! Hes a biggen. If your cruzing at 40 down a dirt road.......I think I know where you were :) I saw one back in the early 80s there on  a ledge in a mine shaft. As a dumb kid I was taking little pebbles and bouncing them off of him. Dont be fooled by their little stubby legs and fat body. Those things can move FAST! He shot out of the shaft so fast it scared me.  Would not do that now as I have come to respect the desert critters.
Great pics.

Tom H.


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That's so cool! As many times as I have been down there I haven't seen one yet. Just a couple rattlers and enough rabbits you could live off of them.

All the critters holes I see there now have me thinking they could be gila monster holes and not just rabbits!

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I, too, have encountered a big lizard similar to that one. Very chunky.  It was 10-11 years ago in Gold Basin.  Around 5 pounds by my guess.  The orange and blackish coloration was a bit different.  Might have been a Chuckwalla.  Not sure if Chuckwallas live in Arizona though.  I held my 14" search coil over it and estimated its length around 16" or so.  It hissed a bit and assumed a defensive posture.  Didn't have my camera but I surely remember that dude.  Thanks for snapping the photos and sharing.

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BTW, I forgot to mention.  We have Desert Geckos on our property here in Yucca Valley, CA.  They are marked with extremely similar colors and patterns, but are not nearly as large.

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I've seen quite a few over the past 20 years, including 3 that live on our property...Most are about 12" -18" long, but I did see one that was about 26" out near the Vulture Mine ... They actually are somewhat common in the Wickenburg area ... I have seen a bunch out in the LSD area thought out there they seem smaller only aroud 14" +/- ... Cheers, Unc


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  • 2 weeks later...

Gotta love those bug eaten little guys.  Great to have them around your place in the summer.  They look almost prehistoric.  

  Old Tom

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