The Last Leap

A dead lizard, its separated tail beside it, is swarmed with ants along the Watershed Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve

I came across this flattened lizard (a tiger whiptail I think) and took some time deciding if I was going to photograph it or not. Finally I changed lenses and took a picture as a tribute to this once beautiful creature as ants swarmed the lifeless body. The lizard had shed its tail, now lying beside it, in an unsuccessful attempt at saving its life. The trail is heavily used by mountain bikers so perhaps it wasn’t able to get out of the way of a bike or perhaps a predator killed it but got scared off before it could eat its meal. Or perhaps a hiker stepped on it, someone once stepped on a newt I was photographing (fortunately the ground was soft and the newt unharmed).

Sorry little one.

Tigers in the Desert

A tiger whiptail along the Hackamore Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The tiger whiptail is one of the lizards I see most often hiking in the Sonoran Desert. They are frequently on the move looking for insects and small lizards and active in the morning when I’m on the trails, so they more easily catch my eye than some of the other lizards. I arrived in Arizona at the end of March, from what I’ve read the tigers are mostly active from April to August so I may not be seeing them much longer.