Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Relaxing in Ramsey Canyon, Part Three: Fur and Scales

Here it is, the third of my posts about the days Denis and I spent in a cabin in Ramsey Canyon, just south of Sierra Vista, Arizona, and just north of the Mexican border. I've talked about the visiting mule deer and the curious wild turkeys, so this week I'm moving on to other critters that have fur or scales: Mexican gray squirrels, coatimundis, Sonoran Spotted Whiptail lizards, and Clark's Spiny lizards.

Let's take a look at the critters we saw from the comfort of the million-dollar deck we were renting!

 I only saw this squirrel twice. It spent almost all its time in the trees where it pitched twigs and other debris down on the deer from time to time...

...but it did come down to the ground once to race over to another tree. And now that I look at the photos closely, I think they're of two different squirrels.

All the other mammals were not as friendly as the mule deer. Most of them went out of their way to be unseen, but my eyesight registers movement nicely (am I related to a T. Rex?). I tried like a mad'un to get a photo of the javalina that kept zipping back and forth amongst the shadows of the trees, and this was the best one I could get. ACK! It's of a javalina butt and snout, and I bet you can't even figure out where they are!

Coatimundis are rare in the Southwest, seeming to prefer Central and South America. One of the two places they like to live in Arizona is right in the Huachuca Mountains where Ramsey Canyon is. We were thrilled whenever we got to see a mated pair move back and forth in the trees. This darker one was much more secretive, and it was obvious it knew we were there and didn't want to be seen.

On the other hand, the one I called the Blonde Bombshell didn't seem to give two hoots who saw it, ambling back and forth taking its time. She did keep her distance, though.

And there goes BB back in the other direction.

As much as BB walked along that log, I wouldn't be surprised if she thinks it's private property.

BB looks a bit frazzled in this photo. We were told that this pair had a baby, but we never had the opportunity to see it.

And there goes the mate, slinking down a tree.

This was a funny scene. The deer was standing where BB wanted to be. BB marched up, snarled at the deer, and the deer wasted no time in getting out of the way!

This Sonoran Spotted Whiptail spent some time with me on the patio one day while Denis was visiting a friend. From snout to tail, the length of this adult is equivalent to the distance from my wrist to my elbow. (Roughly eleven inches, most of it tail.)

It must be cooler down in that crack. Being from Phoenix, I found it wonderfully cool sitting in my chair!

Saying goodbye. As you can see, most of the lizard's length is in its tail.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, Denis and I were wondering if dead leaves could have St. Vitus Dance. Then my T. Rex Vision spotted a head sticking above the leaves. We had front row seats to an episode of Lizard Wars. Remember the wounded Desert Spiny Lizard I photographed at the Desert Botanical Garden? The same thing was going on here, only with its cousin, Clark's Spiny Lizard. This lizard seems to have a bite wound on its side, too. Talk about being deadly serious about defending territory!

One finally came out of the leaves to scuttle over to a tree. As you can see, its predominant color is blue.

And there he goes up the tree. These adult lizards are bigger than the Sonoran Spotted Whiptails. They reach from the tips of my fingers to an inch or two beyond my elbow. I just measured that since no two people's forearms are the same length. That makes these lizards in the vicinity of eighteen inches long.

Not the best photo in the world, but look at that blue throat!

This youngster thought it was safer to be in the tree at the edge of the deck. I always thought lizards were rather homely until I moved to Arizona. (But let's face it: some of them are homely no matter what!)

I hope you're enjoying your visit to Ramsey Canyon. Just in case you missed previous episodes, here are Part One and Part Two. Next week, I'll be sharing photos of some of the feathered visitors to the cabin, the non-humming kind!


  1. Wow! There's so much varied wildlife there, Cathy! How lovely to look at, and it must have interesting to watch them all doing their thing. That getaway place sounds like a little piece of heaven.

    1. It is. It's for sale, and oh how I wish I could buy it!

  2. What a variety of wildlife!

    Even though we are supposed to Coatimundis in Florida, I've never seen one that I can recall.

    1. It would seem that the ones over here prefer to stay in Mexico. I'm glad this family didn't.

  3. Great pics! Other than the squirrels, those are animals I don't see around here!

    1. There were a couple of firsts for me. I'd never seen a Mexican gray squirrel or a coati.


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