Tortoises, lizards and snakes are examples of
desert reptiles who have worked out practical
means of locomotion and methods of finding food
and shelter. The snake's slithering action enables
movement over the coarse desert floor and quick
escape into narrow crevices. The slower tortoise
must retreat into its shell for protection.
You might see a desert spiny or zebra-tailed lizard
scuttling over rocks or trunks of trees searching for
insects. The usually sluggish Gila monster - the
largest and only poisonous lizard in the United
States - can be found feeding on bird eggs, small
rodents and other lizards.
Desert snakes hibernate in winter and remain in
shade or underground burrows during the summer
days. Gopher nad coach whip snakes subsist on
rodents, lizards, toads, smaller snakes and an
The endangered desert tortoise can most often be
seen aftr a summer monsoon lumbering along the
desert floor in search of water to replenish its own
supply stored in sacs under its shell. It eats
sufficient leafy greens to sustain itself through
a long winter hibernation in burrows.