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got to thinking about SHLs

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Posted by: 53kw at Wed Jun 18 17:58:40 2008  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by 53kw ]  
   

I lived in Flagstaff, Arizona for several years and got to know Short-Horned Lizards a bit. Plump little pancakes of reptiles, they sit on back roads for a sun bath or dash from just under your feet as you hike through the open pine forest, as if a patch of soil had sprung to life. Adorable.

Remarkably cold-tolerant, too. Flagstaff is at 7,000 feet elevation on the shoulders of the San Francisco Peaks, highest mountains in Arizona, 12,000 feet at the summit. Not the climate most people associate with Arizona. You can sit in your car waiting for a snow squall to pass in June in the prairies on the Peaks--I speak from experience. Phoenix, that signature city in the Arizona Of The Mind for most people can be withering under 115 degrees while you shiver in an off-season blizzard with a biting wind on the Peaks at 10,000 feet. My sympathies to the outdoor wedding trying valiantly to proceed under those conditions that day, but who could have forecast such weather? I watched my dog romp in the brisk (to a dog) breeze while I waited for the storm to pass. The sun came out and so did the butterflies, none the worse for wear. In such places lives the Short-Horned Lizard.

I met a chilly Short-Horned Lizard one rainy day while I was taking moody nature photos in the prairies on the Peaks. He was pretty stiff but still had enough energy to give me the eye. The photos are of an aspen grove, the meadow where the lizard was encountered and a different, warmer SHL, with better color.









   

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