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Animals encountered in the field

A rattlesnake encountered on the walk into Alamo wash, New Mexico.

When we're out in the field we get to see lots of wildlife. Being from the UK (and the cold north at that) I hadn;t seen many reptiles in the wild, but the badlands of New Mexico are full of them (most of the pictures on this page come from New Mexico).

We see lots of critters in Montana too; mainly snakes, and mainly rattlesnakes at that! In 2010 we had 3 rattlesnakes in camp alone, plus some black widow spiders, and a solifugid (wind scorpion / camel spider).

Two horny toads (the lizard Phrynosoma). These lizards are quite slow moving as they feed only on ants, so you can catch them easily.

Another rattlesnake encountered in Alamo wash, New Mexcio. We met this guy about 5 minutes after the first one featured on this page.

A gopher snake out hunting breakfast in Ah-shi-sle-pah, New Mexico.

My dad uncovered this young rattler hiding under our water containers in camp. I moved him away a safe distance (the rattlesnake, not my dad).

A spiny lizard (Sceloporus) in New Mexico. This one appears to have lost the tip of its tail at some point, which has now grown back.

Another Sceloporus that has regrown the end of its tail. This one had orange cheek patches. I don't know if this is an indication of gender, maturity, or species

A mummified six-lined race-runner (Cnemidophorus sexlineatus) that I found in Kansas.

Collared lizards (Crotaphytus collaris) are some of the most colourful residents of the desert. They are generally fairly tolerant of photographers...

.. letting you get great closeups, although this chap was doing a lot of head-bobbing while I was creeping up on him.

Right next to camp '95 (New Mexico) we found this dead coyote pup in the road. There is usually so little traffic here that it would seem unlikely that it had been runover by a truck, especially at night. A shame.

A wee froglet. Probably a toad actually.

A barrel cactus in bloom brings some colour to the desert

More splashes of colour in Ah-shi-sle-pah wash

Indian paintbrush (Castilleja)

There are a lot of wolf spiders in Montana. Most are like this small grey kind. They move fast but are harmless.

At John-Denver camp in 2008 (Hell Creek, Montana) we found this red wolf spider under one of our containers. She was enormous! (black electrical tape for scale)

She was very photogenic

We usually find a few small scorpions when quarrying. These seem much more common in Montana than in New Mexico. This one is from Rudyard Montana (Paruroctonus boreus). They can sting, but it is not dangerous.

A large robber fly from New Mexico. Sometimes we get a lot of biting flies in the kitchen tent (although they only seem to bite Bob!). This robber fly did a sterling job of catching the other flies and eating them.

This is a dead "Jerusalem Cricket" (Stenopelmatus sp.) that I found in New Mexico. Not true crickets (although related), they are very strange looking, and quite large. Their unusual feet are adapted for burrowing.