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26 February 2008 @ 12:55 pm
One of the targets on the second trip to Death Valley was to find wildlife. Death Valley has many famous inhabitants and the Chuckwalla is one of them. It is a lizard in the Iguana family and does a bunch of crazy things. It hibernates during the cold winters and when threatened, it slips into rock crevices and pumps itself up so that it cannot be pulled out. While walking along in the Titus canyon, I was keeping my eye out in the hope of seeing one of these and there it was, basking in the midday sun. It was about twenty feet high and surprisingly, there was a fairly easy bunch of rocks around which I could climb to get eye-level to the lizard. I didn't want to scare him (her?) away into the rocks, so I took my time in trying to get close to it. It was wary of me and was all set to run away, but after minutes of seeing me, it decided I wasn't a threat and put on a good show.

Pictures behind the cut, don't click if snakes and lizards make you queasy. :)

Basking in the sun...

All set to run...

In the shade

This was one of the most difficult photographs I've taken. First, I was on a slippery rock surface 15-20 feet from the rocky floor of the Canyon. Second, the lizard was almost fully in the darkness of the cave with a small part (nose) in the extra-bright midday light. Third, the pale rock surface was so bright that the metering was going crazy. Anyway, I'm happy with what I got. :)

Anush Shettyanushsh on February 27th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC)
Lovely, wonderful post :-)

ashbirderashbirder on February 27th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
Beautiful..congrats on this photo. It's a lovely lizard, esp eyes :)
eh_doniaeh_donia on February 27th, 2008 05:48 am (UTC)
i agree ash!
kejnkejn on February 27th, 2008 05:33 am (UTC)
what a beautiful lizard!
zhenzhizhenzhi on February 27th, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
it's a beauty :-)
velvetinkvelvetink on February 27th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
oh that last shot is stunning! I had o idea what a chuckawalla was! They are very much like our goanna's - all monitor lizards.
depontideponti on February 27th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Would love to watch you at work with your camera to see how you solve these issues...when I did have the opportunity, I knew nothing about camera work!

I wonder how they came by this name? If chaiwallahs sell chai and doodhwallahs sell milk, do these lizards sell chuck? ;)

I'm glad you didn't fall for the lizard, quite literally!