Animals in the Great Basin Desert

Animals in the Great Basin Desert
The Great Basin Desert is the largest in the United States, covering nearly 200,000 square miles near the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada Range and the Columbia Plateau. It is a North American desert that experiences a fair amount of precipitation throughout the year. During the winter months, there is snow fall. There are many different forms of animal life that make their home in the Great Basin Desert, and a visit to this natural wonderland provides opportunity to see them firsthand.

King Rattlesnake

For many people, just the mention of a rattlesnake causes them discomfort and fear. Even people who are not particularly afraid outwardly may harbor inward fear of these natural passive animals that live in the Great Basin Desert. In reality, the king rattlesnake does not have to be feared. It should be left alone. This member of the snake family dines on other snakes, birds and turtles.

As a rule, king rattlesnakes avoid their predators and try to blend in with their surroundings. If you spot a king rattlesnake, let it go on its way. Should you come close by accident, this snake will naturally coil and sound off the rattling tail before striking, giving you ample time to move away and avoid a dangerous bite.


Northern Goshawk

The northern goshawk is a member of the hawk family; it's truly a beauty to behold. Young members have dark feathers. The adults are a gray color with streaks. Described as a perch and pounce predator, it is known to chase its prey into the bushes or thickets to get a meal. Their rounded wings make them beautiful to watch in flight and also give them speed in their pursuits.

Adult northern goshawks can weigh between 22 to 48 ounces. Females tip the scales heavier than their male counterparts. If you visit the Great Basin Desert during the winter, you're very likely to see the northern goshawk around.

Chuckwalla Lizard

The chuckwalla lizard is the second largest lizard in the entire United States. Male chuckwallas can grow up to 18 inches in length. These large, fierce-looking lizards may appear to be dangerous, but chuckwallas are actually harmless herbivores who feed on fruits, leaves and desert flowers. During the warm spring and summer, you can find chuckwallas frolicking around with each other and soaking up the sun on a rock.

While these passive lizards may not consume meat, they are very protective of their territories. Both males and females will defend their own. This means you should take care not to back a chuckwalla into a corner or make them feel threatened by trying to follow them into a covered area.



Article Written By Jerry Garner

Jerry Garner has been writing semi-professionally for more than 15 years. The body of Garner's work includes informative articles, news and current events and historical essays. He is an avid sports fan and frequently writes about outdoor activities online.

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