Just think… You’re on your Las Vegas ATV Tour with Vegas Off Road Tours taking a break, serving your natures call (if you know what I mean), it’s such a peaceful landscape…
A calming breeze, a sunny day, the Nevada desert mountains in the background in watercolor shades of blue… and yet, without your knowing killers are on the move, a fight of life and death between predator and prey. The Goodsprings desert just outside of Las Vegas offers a variety of these predator/prey relationships. Let’s take a look at a few, shal
Goodsprings Desert Predators:
Coyotes are often a big part of the predatory system being as they’re big and everything else is usually small. They are known as “omnivore opportunists” meaning they look for whatever they can eat! This includes, mice, rats, squirrels, gophers but also means they will eat things such as insects, fruits, and if possible the occasional fawn or sheep. Just because they are big, does not mean they are king of the desert, however! On rare occasions these dogs have been hurt, or even killed, by mountain lions, golden eagles, and great horned owls.
The rattlesnake is a very dangerous predator, even to humans. He has caused many deaths for people and is better left on his own. He doesn’t migrate and usually stays around the same area of living. He might steal a rodent’s burrow for shelter. The predators for rattlesnakes are the kingsnake and the roadrunner. Although with two predators this snake is doing pretty good being a predator himself for rodents, other snakes, lizards, birds, bird eggs, and some insects.
The roadrunner isn’t as silly as we all know him to be. He is a very serious predator for lizards, snakes, grasshoppers, mice, and rarely birds. Sometimes he might even be eating seeds or fruit and even the eggs of other birds. They typically take shelter under brush and little trees but can often be seen in open areas while hunting. And it seems that on top of all that, he is very good at teasing and skillfully escaping the coyote’s grasp.
Goodsprings Desert Prey:
These birdies got their name because of the low tone they make when they sing. Rather than sounding like a happy tune or a lovely sonnet, it sounds like they’re mourning a loss! They mostly feed on seeds found in the ground and sometimes on snails in the spring time. These birds are preyed on usually by big cats, and bigger avian predators, sometimes even lizards! An interesting fact about these birds is that they drink water by sucking rather than scooping up water with their beaks like typical birds!
This little lizard is amazing. He doesn’t require water. He prefers to live in compact spaces under rocks. And he is very territorial only really letting females into his space. He’s an herbivore and can leap from rock to rock with ease! His main predator would be coyotes and avian predators.
The antelope squirrel is a cute little critter that is actually the only small mammal active during the spring and summer months. They store food for emergencies and have their young 28 days after mating. This mammal likes to eat seeds, fruit, insects, and green vegetation in their tiny burrows that help them to escape the scorching heat. Their main predators include hawks, owls, coyotes, snakes and more.
So the next time you’re riding with us out in the Goodsprings desert on your Polaris ATV enjoying the tour, stop for just a moment to give silence for the poor prey running from Nevada desert predators!