02 July 2008

Lifeless Desert

Ok, this is the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tuscon. It is a museum, zoo, arboretum, and aquarium all in one. It was in fact rated as one of the top ten zoos in the world. But what makes it so special? It focuses only on the life, geography and history of the Sonoran Desert, and it does a complete job of it. It has over 300 animal species, 1200 kinds of plants, 2 miles of paved trails, and covers 21 acres. Above is a Coyote. *CHB*

This Saguaro has a rare condition called Fasciation. From the Wikipedia article: "Fasciation is a condition of plant growth in which the apical meristem, normally concentrated around a single point, producing approximately cylindrical tissue, becomes elongated perpendicularly to the direction of growth, producing flattened, ribbon-like, crested, or elaborately contorted tissue. The phenomenon may occur in the stem, root, fruit, or flower head.
Fasciation (also: cresting) can be caused by a mutation in the meristematic cells, bacterial infection, mite or insect attack, or chemical or mechanical damage. Some plants may inherit the trait."

I rather like this picture *CHB*
Hard to see, but this is a cross section of a saguaro. *CHB*
Some of the many rocks and minerals inside the manmade cave exhibit *CHB*

An ore car outside the cave exhibit *CHB*
Joshua Trees, these were actually very common around where I used to live. *CHB*
Desert Prairie Dog *CHB*
Tall Yucca plants, part of the Agave family *CHB*
A rather "voluptuous" saguaro, or what we like to call a "BBC" (big beautiful cactus). Also note the tall, fountain-like cactus in the background. That is an Ocotilla Cactus, another native throughout Arizona. *CHB*

Two pictures of hummingbirds in the hummingbird house. *CHB*

A quail in the Aviary *CHB*
Bighorn Sheep, inhabitants of the local mountains *CHB*

A freshwater Otter in the Riparian, or "stream-side" exhibit. *CHB*

This little guy is a pupfish, a saltwater fish found in small sources of freshwater such as ponds and streams throughout the Southwestern Desert, most famously in Death Valley, California
View looking down into the Avra Valley, giving a good look at some Saguaro and Ocotilla *CHB*
This was our favorite the whole day. If I remember right, it is a Margay, in the Big Cat part of the museum. Actually this guy was just a little bigger than a big housecat. *CHB*
Something's making noise *CHB*
Don't you just want to take it home? *CHB*

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