All text copyright  Eitan Grunwald.  All photographs copyright  Eitan or Ron Grunwald  except photographs by others are copyright per photo credits.  All rights reserved.  Terms
ARIZONA
July 2009
 6 of 6
ARIZONA
July 2009
 6 of 6
                           As the day and our trip comes to an end, we say good-by to the Cages.  Thank you, Young, for some truly memorable days in the field, and for being such an exceptional herper and host.   On our final night we’re treated to a spectacular sunset, then it’s back to the motel. But not before finding a few more on the road. After all, you can always count on Rattlesnakes. A sad postscript:  Young Cage passed away in 2012.  He was universally loved and respected, and he is greatly missed.
I decide to go for an early-morning roadcruise in neighboring New Mexico, hoping for a hognose. No snakes, but Box Turtles are out in force.           A roadrunner runs alongside the, uh, road, stopping to perch for a moment before resuming its morning jog.       Back in the Chiris, Ron and I meet up again with Young, his son Matt, and grandson Brandon.  We hike the bald mountainsides and wooded ravines, searching for Twin-spotted Rattlesnakes (Crotalus pricei) and Mountain Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis pyromelana).  Again we’re defeated by the unusually dry conditions. We split up, but once more Ron calls me to come and take a look:  another Black Tail hiding in the rocks.   Continue hiking, finding nothing but lizards.  Lots of Yarrow Spinys blending into the background, and a Tree Lizard belying its name, basking on a rock.       We settle for majestic scenery and miniature delights . . .            . . . and console ourselves with a photo session of assorted snakes from the night before.         We also console ourselves with air-conditioning.   Better yet, it comes with a museum attached, one dedicated to desert herps, including a collection of live reptiles; an extensive exhibit of herp art and artifacts; and a huge store of herp-related books, gifts, clothing, and equipment.  A must-see for any herpers visiting the area. After the museum we continue into New Mexico to release the remaining snakes from last night’s roadcruising.     Young and family catch a new lizard for us.  
Ornate Box Turtle Terrapane ornata Females (brown eyes) and male (red eyes)
Ornate Tree Lizard Urosaurus ortatus
Plains Black-headed Snake Tantilla nigriceps
Checkered Garter Snake Thamnophis marcianus
Long-nosed Snake Rhinocheilus leconti           
Desert Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula splendida
Three generations of Cage herpers: Young, Brandon, and Matt
Ground Snake Sonora semiannulata  
Crevise Spiny Lizard Sceloporus poinsettii