Wildlife in the Backyard!

Wildlife is around us! While I enjoy observing birds at our backyard feeders, other wildlife visit the backyard too! One morning I noticed two newcomers to the area.

A Harris’ antelope squirrel was eating seed that fell from our bird feeder hanging a few feet above. This animal leaves its burrow to eat in the early morning and retreat to it when the heat rises. This type of ground squirrel is found in Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico and can resist hypothermia. They can survive temperature over 104 degrees. This squirrel is doing okay in the Tucson, Arizona area when our temperatures hit 106 degrees! They are back to their burrow, I would imagine! No doubt it is this creature making the burrowing holes under our mesquite trees. They also enjoy the fallen bird seed when not eating their usual mesquite beans and fruit from local cacti.

Harris’ antelope squirrel

Another desert creature I usually see sitting on a rock in our water basins with mulch are reptiles. This one in particular is the twin-spotted spiny lizard. Not much is known about this reptile. It is within the same group as the desert spiny lizard … also seen in our backyard. The twin-spotted spiny lizard can grow to 13 inches. This one seen our our tree seems to be on his way to full growth! These reptiles like rocky desert landscapes and eat large insects and other arthropods, such as spiders and centipedes. A good one to have around!

Twin-spotted spiny lizard

Keep your eyes open for all wildlife. Some may only arrive in the early morning coolness while others hang out all day long. Each animal plays a part in the overall ecosystem, our natural world. Do not be too quick to want it out of your neighborhood. Observe, learn and appreciate the life around you in your backyard.

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