New Mexico February 05, 2016
15 Photos Of Wildlife In New Mexico That Will Drop Your Jaw
New Mexico is the fifth largest state in the U.S., encompassing more than 121,000 square miles—more than the states of Mississippi and Washington combined. So there’s no shortage of habitat for the 500 species of birds, 150 species of mammals, and 123 species of reptiles and amphibians that call New Mexico home.
1. Desert spiny lizards often live in rodent burrows or are found beneath rocks. This particular spiny lizard was spotted in the south, central part of the state.
2. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Socorro, serves as a stopover point for many migrating birds, such as these sandhill cranes. Some sandhill cranes have a wingspan of over five feet!
3. Snow geese pause at Bosque del Apache too. The photographer snapped this picture shortly before the coyote took a siesta amid the flocks of geese.
4. The great blue heron, which is the biggest heron in North America, is also found in New Mexico.
5. Although bobcats are often considered elusive, it’s not surprising that one was spied at Bosque del Apache, because birds and small game are part of a bobcat’s diet. These felines can leap up to ten feet in order to pounce on prey.
6. The Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge is on the Central Flyway, a migration path for birds. Plenty of other animals, such as this collared lizard, live there as well.
7. Female or young northern harriers are brown, whereas males have gray and white plumage. When hunting, they skim above grasslands and marshes and use their incredible sense of hearing to detect prey they cannot see.
8. Pronghorn antelope are native to several states within the U.S., including New Mexico. When running at full speed, they can travel almost 60 miles per hour. This herd was roaming the plains of San Agustin.
9. Seventeen species of hummingbirds pass through New Mexico on their annual migration trail.
10. Young big horn sheep grazing on Wheeler Peak.
11. Mule deer are able to locate water that is up to two feet below ground—a useful skill in New Mexico. This young mule deer was in the wetlands section of Bosque del Apache.
12. Javelina are native to New Mexico but, despite their appearance, they are not pigs.
13. When quail descend from a wall they look like parachutists drifting through the air!
14. Prairie dogs burrows are a pain when you accidentally stick your foot in one, but they’re actually useful. Burrowing makes it easier for water to penetrate the soil and other animals often seek shelter in abandoned burrows.
15. The roadrunner is New Mexico’s state bird. As their name suggests, they are fast—zipping around at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. In fact, they’re so quick that they are able to successfully hunt rattlesnakes!
On a recent drive between Maxwell and Cimarron, I encountered a herd of antelope crossing the road.
What’s been your most memorable wildlife encounter in New Mexico? Let us know in the comments below.