The photos of animals and reptiles in this Photo Gallery were taken mostly in the greater Phoenix area and submitted by local residents, or people who were visiting the area. If you took a great picture or two, and want to submit them for inclusion into the Phoenix Creature Photo Gallery, here's how you do it. When you send in your animal pictures, please tell me what kind of creature it is (if you know!) and the general area where you saw it.
The Blonde Tarantula is also known as the Desert Blonde Tarantula, the Mexican Blonde Tarantula, or the Arizona blond tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes). It is found in the Sonoran Desert, where Phoenix is located. It's large compared to most tarantulas, measuring between 3 and 4 inches. The Arizona blond tarantula is typically found around saguaros, and are seen most often during our rainy monsoon.
Sunspiders (or sun spiders) or also called Windscorpions, even though they aren't spiders and aren't scorpions. Sunspiders are arachnids, like the scorpion. Sunspiders are 1 to 3 inches long and are yellow or tan in color. They have no venom, but those pincers are pretty stoing and can hurt! Sun spiders spend most of their time underground and are active beginning in May and through the rainy Arizona monsoon months.
From the photographer: "Here's an animal you don't see wandering the Arizona desert every day. It has the body characteristics of a sheep, but is covered with hair resembling that of a deer rather than wool.It was a real challenge to identify, because as the name implies, its not from around here. This Black Bellied Barbados Sheep has lived behind my house on South Mountain Park for over a year now. It is a domestic species, so this individual must have escaped a nearby farm (further supported by the presence of a tag its' right ear). Apparently, this species is heat tolerant and able to thrive on poor forage. So, it should be able to live a long (albeit lonely) life frolicking in our enormous city park."
From the photographer: "We were hiking Go John out in Cave Creek Recreation Area and had an interesting afternoon. Halfway through the hike I noticed the cactus wrens were scolding something profusely, so I slowed and almost immediately spotted a diamond back smack dab on the trail in the coiled position. After 5 minutes I encouraging him to get off the trail and we walked another couple of miles and overtook a Gila monster. We had cell phone camera so I got up close to take his portrait. Cute little guy making his way down the trail walking awkwardly with his webbed feet; he was about 14”. We had to wait for him to exit before we continued."
From the photographer: "Tarantulas have an interesting defensive capability in addition to venom. Some of the hairs on the top of the abdomen are specialized for defense. These urticating hairs, as they are called, are tipped with backward pointing barbs. If a tarantula is threatened in any way, it brushes these hairs into the face, paw or other body part of its attacker."
Round-tailed Ground Squirrels at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, AZ (May 3, 2009).
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Coyote in Chandler
From the photographer: "I caught some images of a coyote (he/she was hunting a jackrabbit in a vacant lot - I was unable to catch both in a single image - the jackrabbit won this round)....Taken on 06-11-2011 at Chandler Blvd and McClintock in Chandler AZ."
White Tank Mountain Regional Park is part of the Maricopa County Parks system. There are about 25 miles of shared-use trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Waterfall Trail is a popular easy hike in the area.
Just north of Fountain Hills you'll find a popular hiking and recreation area, McDowell Mountain Regional Park. It is common to find all kinds of desert creatures there while hiking the trails. This photo was taken in October 2011.
From the photographer: "These guys are off the back patio in Carefree by the SkyRanch airport. They’ll stop by and see what’s on the ground to eat. We’ll put our salad trimmings out which they scramble to eat. Waste not want not. We can actually recognize a couple of them to which we have given names."