Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree
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Mojave Desert, Mojave Desert Land Trust

Did You Know?

The Mojave Desert abounds with all sorts of interesting creatures!  Below are some fun facts about a few of them:

sheep Bighorn sheep rams and ewes typically roam in separate herds, and then come together in late summer or early fall when rutting season begins.  After a 6 month gestation period the ewe will give birth to an approximate 8 pound lamb, who is weaned around 2 months old. A lamb survival rate of about 25 lambs per 100 ewes is needed to maintain a stable population.  Here's hoping for a fruitful season!
Photo © Julianne Koza  
rocks The chuckwalla is the largest lizard in the Mojave Desert.  Hail to the king!  When a chuckwalla is threatened by a predator (red-tailed hawk, raven, roadrunner, coyote, golden eagle, bobcat, gopher snake), it will dive into a crack in the rocks and gulp air until its body is inflated and wedged so tightly between the rocks that it cannot be pulled out!
Photo © Julianne Koza  
squirrel These critters know how to beat the heat!  The body temperature of the antelope ground squirrel rises with daytime temperature up to 107 degrees F.  They unload this heat periodically by flattening their body against cool soil or in a cool burrow.  Spreading saliva over the head with their forepaws help them to evaporatively cool, and efficient kidneys help them reabsorb water passing through their body.  By the time they urinate, their urine is 3 times as concentrated as ours!
Photo © Julianne Koza  
coyote Coyote can run almost 40 mph.  They can also change their breeding habits, diet and social dynamics to survive in a wide variety of habitats.  It is this great adaptability that makes coyote one of the few animals able to flourish around man.
Photo © Julianne Koza  
hawk Red-tailed hawks are at the top of the food chain - humans are their only threat.
The sight and sound of Gambel’s quail are part of the charm of the Mojave Desert, but there's more to the story than just charm!  Their grayish color is good camouflage from predators and the quail perched high give warning calls to those feeding on the ground below, so they can hide quickly.
Photo © Julianne Koza  
desert iguana The desert iguana prefers sandy surfaces and washes, but can also be seen balancing high in creosote bushes eating the flowers.

Photo © Cody Hanford  
tortoise Desert tortoises can live to be 50 years old or more! The growth lines on the shields (bumps) of the carapace (back shell) can help determine their age. 
Photo © Tom Gundy  
butterfly Northern White Skippers are found in the chaparral, dry washes, and desert mountains of the Mojave Desert.
Photo © Julianne Koza  
owl Who-who-who-who.  The great-horned owl, that's who!  Mating pairs hoot back and forth and bow low with drooped wings and raised tails when courting each other.  The female usually produces 2-3 eggs, incubation is 5 weeks, and fledging time is 10 weeks.  Won't be long for this little one!
Photo © Julianne Koza  
Painting © Diane Best
Landscape painting of the great Mojave Desert by Diane Best.

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