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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wildlife Wednesday: Deep and Wide

One hundred and three years ago yesterday, President Theodore Roosevelt made the Grand Canyon a national monument. Carved by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and over a mile deep in places. It is home to 75 species of mammals, like the coyote:

Note: Do NOT feed the wildlife, cherubs. (Check out this article from Christian Espanol, writer for the Grand Canyon South Rim Examiner to learn why.)
The Grand Canyon is also home to 50 different species of reptiles and amphibians, including the Canyon Rattlesnake. Don't worry, I'm a mild ophidiophobe myself, so nothing's going to jump out at you in the following video.

My trepidation around snakes comes from a couple of scary experiences with rattlers when I was really young, but I have to admit that snakes are actually pretty cool. Rattlesnake bites in the Grand Canyon are rare and are usually the result of some person being a doofus. That rattle you hear means, "Dude, I don't want to have to bite you, so back off."
In the Colorado River, you will find 25 species of fish. You will. I won't find anything. I'd have to survive on cactus flowers and tree bark. I'm a terrible fisherman. I couldn't even find any good videos of Grand Canyon fish. All I found was fat guys drinking beer and yelling, "Keep your line taut, Steve!" (I do not understand modern flirting.)
I did find an example of one of the 300 different species of birds in the Grand Canyon, who, inarguably, have the best view of the park. Look at this video of a beautiful California Condor.

Cool, but also a make-sure-you-know-where-the-family-shih-tzu-is moment. What? You couldn't tell that was a California Condor? Didn't you see the screenplay in its talons? (I hear Nicolas Cage is interested.)
Anyway, I think we owe Teddy Roosevelt a big thanks for looking out for the Grand Canyon a century ago so that today we can enjoy this:
(Do yourself a favor and go "fullscreen" on this.)

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