Hiking on the Taos Rift Valley Trail

Rift Valley Trail, West Rim Trail, and Horse Thief Trail
Known by the locals as the Taos Overlook, these are a meandering nine miles of beginner to advanced intermediate trails, which run along the volcanic mesa of the beautiful Rio Grande Gorge, through pinon, sage and cedar. This trail provides exciting downhills and small spaced uphill climbs to many viewpoints of the stunning mesa and mountain vistas. The trails include some old jeep road and single track. These are most popular in the late fall and early spring seasons.
– Taos Unlimited.net

Amongst the sage and the mountain bikes, the horny toads, horned lizard or horned frogs, depending on if you are a Texas TCU fan are now thriving.  This genus of lizards are actually neither a toad nor a frog.  The spines on its back and sides are made from modified scales, whereas the horns on the heads are actually horns with a bony core.  There are 15 species of horned lizards in North America, eight of which are native to the United States.

Horned lizards use a wide variety of means to protect themselves.  Their coloration acts as camouflage.  When threatened, their first defence is to remain still.  If approached too closely they run, puff up their bodies to cause them to appear more horned and larger and at least four species are able to squirt a stream of blod from the corners of the eyes from a distance of up to five feet.  They do this by restricting the blood flow leaving the head, thereby increasing blood pressure and rupturing tiny vessels around the eyelids.

Horned lizards prefer to eat ants.  Efforts to eradicate ants – their staple food with DDT, destruction of their natural habitat and the pet trade have reduced their numbers. (Photograph courtesy of Gary M. Stoltz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)Destruction of their native habitat, efforts to eradicate ants—their staple food—andPhe pet trade have all contributed to this.

TPPhoto: Short-horned lizardPhe primaPCoury cause for population decline is the loss of habitat by agricultural and urban conversion. Other causes also have lead to declining populations including Photograpoverharvesting for the pet trade and curio trade and the invasion of exotic species, parPticularly exotic ants which the lizards can not survive on and outcompete their preferred ant.he primary cause for population decline is the loss of habitat by agricultural and urban conversion. Other causes also have lead to declining populations including overharvesting for the pet trade and curio trade and the invasion of exotic species, particularly exotic ants which the lizards can not survive on and outcompete their preferred ant.

 

 

 

 

 

About Carol Baker

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