Saturday, July 16, 2011

First Field Season Commences in the Mojave Desert

I love love love the desert. Sometimes I wish my field work was solely desert-based, but I am fortunate enough to work in several types of habitat. We arrived at the Desert Studies Center (just near the town of Baker) two days ago. It is surprisingly not as hot as I was expecting and it is as beautiful as ever.

Kangaroo rats are another small rodent species that display very specific anti-snake behaviors in which they approach snakes to within striking distance, jump back, and foot drum on the ground.  We wish to record these interactions using our wireless surveillance system, but we first need to find a suitable study site. Thus, we are here looking for a site with abundant populations of both Desert Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys deserti) and Sidewinders (Crotalus cerastes).  Enjoy the pics below of the several species we have encountered so far and of our work here in the Mojave Desert.

The Green Machine alone in a vast desert


The moon rising 

Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos) One of my favorite species!

 Its cute little head

Leaf nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)-found two in one night!


 Baby sidewinder (frontal view)

Side view

External attachment of a transmitter on a subadult sidewinder (we glued sand onto it so it blends in)

Nice view of the supraocular scales (those protrusions above the eyes)

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