Trip West 2014: Wildlife at the Ranch

In all our hiking and riding and generally hanging out, there was a good bit of wildlife, both flora and fauna. Things (plants, especially) were generally not super happy because it’s been so dry, but some things didn’t seem too terribly bothered by the lack of moisture.

My best guess is that this is a spinystar cactus. We looked it up in the cactus book at the ranch, but we weren’t convinced we’d found the right thing. Aunt Jane thought it was a pincushion cactus (Escobaria can be known as pincushion), which was really helpful when I had internet, but not so much when I was at the ranch. The other thing is that there are many cacti that look very similar, especially to someone not very familiar with the subtleties of cacti.

There are many fewer century plants at the ranch than when I was there eight years ago. John did tell me that javelina and elk (?) and sometimes bear will eat the center out of a century plant. So they don’t seem to be all bad. I appreciate that the ranch is leaving a variety of plants and not simply covering the land with things the livestock will eat. Even the things that annoy them are not culled to extinction (on the ranch), but to lower numbers.

The day we went to Cliff Dives to find where Mom and Tony should park to hike into the canyon, we found this little lizard in the middle of the road. Unfortunately, when Tony tried to get closer, he ran away. I’m a little amazed at how colorful desert animals can be, given that I expect most of them would try to blend in.

This jackrabbit was sitting on the side of the path when we were on our way back to the guest house after dinner. The really nice thing was, this was the day we had a really nice sunset, so all the pink in the sky was also on the ground. You may not be able to see it at this size, but you can see the sunset in the rabbit’s eyes too, which was awesome.

One of the days we went hiking, we noticed this on the side of the road. Notice anything? It’s hard to see…

Up on that hill, there were loads of javelina (see the one in the middle of the picture here with the babies?). As a hint in the upper picture, you should find the big bush on the right side of the picture and look a little left. There is at least one higher and a couple a little lower down.

For anyone who doesn’t know what a javelina looks like, this is your chance. Their faces look like rats and their bodies are so out of proportion to someone who really likes the shape of a horse.

There are more pictures in the album.

The following are the posts in this series:

  1. Traveling West
  2. Activities at the Ranch
  3. Wildlife at the Ranch
  4. Cowpunchers
  5. Las Vegas with Dad
  6. Jean’s Promotion
  7. Visiting Jean & Family
  8. Return to the Ranch (Friday)
  9. Return to the Ranch (Saturday)
  10. Teturn to the Ranch (Sunday)
  11. Return to the Ranch (Monday)
  12. Nevada and Utah
  13. Utah and Colorado
  14. Colorado, Kansas, Missouri
  15. Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Home
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