by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Red Rock Canyon

Junior Explorer Book

brochure Red Rock Canyon - Junior Explorer Book
BLM/NV/LV/GI/12-13+1800 Welcome! Mt. Charleston BLM’s Junior Explorer program helps introduce young explorers like you to the lands and resources that the BLM manages. This discovery book will introduce you to plants, animals, and history of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Red Rock Canyon is one of many public land locations you can enjoy. the appropriate number of pages for your age 1 Complete group. Feel free to have a Ranger or adult help you. It's also okay to do more activities if you wish. Ages 6 and under: 4 pages Ages 7-9: 5 pages Ages 10-12: 6 pages Ages 13 and above: 8 or more pages Rainbow Mountain Mt. Wilson this book to the visitor center information desk after 2 Take you finish your pages so that a BLM Ranger or volunteer can check your work. someone has checked your answers, you will be sworn 3 Once in and the certificate at the back of this book will be filled out. Spring Mountain Ranch State Park Plant Zones How would you like to travel from Mexico to the Arctic and not leave Red Rock Canyon? As you drive around the 13-Mile Scenic Drive, you will change elevation (the height above sea level). The temperature will be about three to five degrees cooler for each 1,000 feet you climb. You may not think of these changes as much, but it is for plants and animals. Each type of plant and animal can only tolerate a certain amount of coolness and dryness. This means that the higher you climb and the cooler it gets, you, too, will get to experience the different plant zones. Joshua Tree 2000-6000ft Utah Juniper 5000-7000ft Beavertail Cactus Sea level-4000ft Many-Headed Barrel Cactus 3500-4800ft 2 Ponderosa Pine 6000ft and up Bonnie Springs Old Nevada Turtlehead Peak Bridge Mountain Calico Hills Scenic Drive Calico Basin Visitor Center Red Spring Picnic Area State Route 159/Charleston Boulevard Blue Diamond Hill Hey kids! My name is Sandy and I’m a Junior Explorer here at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area! That means it is my responsibility to help keep Red Rock Canyon clean, tell others about Red Rock, and do my part to protect and preserve Red Rock. Now it is your turn to become a Junior Explorer too! I will guide you through the book to make sure you are ready to be an official Red Rock Canyon Junior Explorer! Let’s have fun! State Route 159/C harles ton B oulev ard 3 Four Major North American Deserts OR Mojave Desert ID (Hint: the smallest desert entirely in the US) WY Sonoran Desert (Hint: crosses the US and the Mexican border) NV Great Basin Desert UT (Hint: the largest desert entirely in the US) CO Chihuahuan Desert CA (Hint: the only desert that has area in Texas) AZ NM TX Come and discover a part of the Mojave Desert at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Fill in the four desert areas with the correct pattern. What is a desert? A desert is an area that gets less than 10 inches of rain per year. It can be very hot and sometimes quite cold (below freezing). Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is within the Mojave Desert, which gets most of its rain during winter storms and occasional scattered summer thunderstorms. Other places in the Mojave Desert can reach temperatures up to 130 degrees F (about 55 degrees C). That’s hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk! Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is also part of the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System. 4 Public Lands Belong To You! The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is a federal government agency that takes care of more than 245 million acres of land. Most of these lands are in the western part of the United States. These lands are America’s public lands, and they belong to all Americans. The BLM manages public lands for many uses. The lands supply natural resources, such as coal, oil, natural gas, and other minerals. The lands provide habitats for plants and animals. People enjoy the big open spaces on the lands. The lands also contain evidence of our country’s past, ranging from fossils to Indian artifacts to ghost towns. National Landscape Conservation System The Bureau of Land Management’s National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) contains some of the West’s most spectacular landscapes. It includes over 887 federally recognized areas and approximately 27 million acres of National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers, National Scenic and Historic Trails, and Conservation Lands of the California Desert. National Landscape Conservation System Alaska Upper Missouri River Breaks NM Steese NCA Pompeys Pillar NM Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area CascadeSiskiyou NM Steens Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area Mortley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey NCA Headwaters Forest Reserve Craters of the Moon NM Maryland Black Rock DesertHigh Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails NCA King Range NCA McInnis Canyon NCA California Coastal NM Fort Ord NM Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area Carrizo Plain NM Beaver Dam Wash NCA Red Rock Canyon NCA Sloan Canyon NCA Santa Rosa-San Jacinto Mountains NM Red Cliffs NCA Dominguez Escalante NCA Gunnison Gorge NCA Grand StaircaseEscalante NM Canyons of the Ancients NM Vermillion Cliffs NM Grand CanyonParashant NM Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks NM El Mapais NCA Agua Fria NM Sonoran Desert NM Ironwood Forest NM Gila Box Riparian NCA Las Cienegas NCA Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave NCA Florida Prehistoric Trackways NM San Pedro Riparian NCA NM: National Monument NCA: National Conservation Area Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail Jupiter Inlet Outstanding Natural Area 5 Wildlife Watch Many people think there is no wildlife in the desert. This is not true! If you take a close look, you may be surprised by what you can find. If you walk quietly and look carefully, you may spy some of the inhabitants of Red Rock Canyon. Remember not to feed or pet any wild animal. Draw a circle around each animal you see. Bighorn Sheep Coyote These powerful mammals are herbivores and like to dine on grasses, leaves, and other plants. They use their large horns to fight each other and establish rank in their herds. The coyote is one of the most recognizable mammals of the desert. They are often heard howling, letting other coyotes know that they are not welcome. Coyotes also bark to protect their den. Red-Tailed Hawk This carnivore, though one of the largest hawks, only weighs a few pounds. It can often be seen circling high in the air, distinguished by its red tail feathers. Chuckwalla Jackrabbit These “rabbits” are actually hares, as their young are born fully covered in hair with their eyes wide open. They have specially adapted long ears that allow them to cool off during the hot summer days, as well as listen for predators. Cottontail Rabbit The cottontail rabbit can be active any time during the day, but like many other desert dwellers, they are often less active during the extreme heat of summer days. When danger is near, the cottontail alerts other rabbits by raising its white tail. 6 Chuckwallas can tolerate temperatures as high as 102 degrees F (39 degrees C), allowing them to withstand the brutal summer heat. To avoid predators, chuckwallas wedge themselves into rock crevices and puff up their extra skin folds like a balloon, stopping the predator from being able to pull them out. White-Tailed Antelope Ground Squirrel Often mistaken for chipmunks, ground squirrels are omnivores, eating seeds, grasses, plants, and small animals such as insects. When they cannot find water in the desert, squirrels can use moisture from their food to survive. Desert Tortoise The desert tortoise is able to live in the desert by staying out of the hot sun, conserving water, and staying inactive, to not waste energy. Tortoises spend 95 percent of their time in a burrow, which also protects them from predators like coyotes and hawks. Desert Iguana The desert iguana is a long lizard, growing up to 16” in length. It uses its light brown and tan colored body to camouflage itself in sandy areas, even staying active when temperatures reach 115 degrees F (46 degrees C)! Tarantula These hairy spiders often live in burrows (holes in the ground) often near rocks and tree roots. Tarantulas will lay webbing around the entrance to their burrow, and can feel when something disturbs the silky strands. This alerts the tarantula of danger, as well as potential food, such as crickets and other small animals like lizards that may pass over the webbing. In the space provided, draw or describe any other animals that you see. 7 Shapes and Colors in Sandstone Quarry Many people come to Red Rock Canyon to see the red-colored rocks, but that’s not all we have here! If you look around, you can find all the colors of the rainbow among the many shapes of Red Rock Canyon and in nature. In this picture of the Sandstone Quarry area, circle the shapes that you can see. Try to find at least two circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles. Put an X by five different colors that you see while visiting Sandstone Quarry. Circles Colors: 8 Squares Blue Orange Triangles Yellow Red Green Rectangles Brown Purple Sandstone Quarry, an Ancient Sand Box Visit Sandstone Quarry, three miles from the visitor center along the 13-Mile Scenic Drive. Between 1905 and 1913, sandstone was cut into blocks and removed from a place which became known as Sandstone Quarry. The blocks were loaded onto flat cars that were pulled across the desert to the railhead in Las Vegas. Steam was the power source for everything, including the saws and the Best Steam Traction Engine used to haul the rock. The stone was used because of its superior quality for building in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Three companies tried to make a success of mining the sandstone until the quarry was shut down in 1913. Walk to the big red rocks. Run your hand across a red rock. How does it feel? Sharp Smooth Rough Warm Cold Walk down the short trail with an adult. Look at the big blocks of sandstone cut out of the rock. What shape are they? Square Rectangle Circle Stand next to a big sandstone block. Is it taller than you? Can you put your arms around it? Yes Yes No No How will you explore Sandstone Quarry today? Draw a picture or write a sentence or two about what you will do. 9 Plant Adaptations As you walk around the visitor center and Discovery Plaza, go around the 13-Mile Scenic Drive, or go for a hike, look around at all the desert plants of the Mojave Desert. The plants you will see along the way possess special adaptations for living in the desert. These adaptations help these plants survive the cold winters and very hot and dry summers here in Red Rock Canyon. Read below about some of the amazing adaptations of five of the desert’s plants. Can you find three of these plants during your visit? Joshua Tree Mojave Yucca Cholla Cactus Utah Juniper A desert is a place that gets less than 10" of rain a year, or a place that loses more water than it gains, making all deserts very dry places to live. To take advantage of what little rainfall that does come, the roots of the Joshua Tree are shallow and spread out just under the soil surface over a large area. If you look carefully, you might see an old tree that has fallen over because its root system could no longer keep it upright. When it is very hot outside, people usually stay inside or stay in the shade. Since a plant can’t exactly walk under the shade of a tree, it has to create its own shade, and that’s just what a Cholla cactus does! The sharp spines that cover the branches from top to bottom act like little parasols, protecting the cactus from the desert sun while keeping animals from eating its branches. It can be very hard to find water in the desert. Plants can lose a lot of water through their leaves. To conserve this scarce resource, plants like the Mojave yucca have thick, tough, waxy leaves with a relatively small surface area. Like many other succulents, during the summer heat, the Mojave yucca opens its stomata (the tiny holes on the leaf surface that let it breathe) at night when the air is cool. Dead leaves stay on the yucca rather than fall off like other plants. Instead, yucca leaves fall downward to help shade the trunk. It is all about water storage for the Utah Juniper tree. This evergreen can grow to be almost 30 feet tall and live to be 650 years old. The juniper is able to do this because of its extensive root system, specially adapted to find water stored deep in the soil. During a drought, the juniper can also move water from its branches and store it in its trunk to keep itself alive. Desert Willow The Desert Willow is not a true willow, but just like the true willow, it is a wetland plant. How does this plant grow in the desert with so few of the adaptations we see in many other desert plants? Well, there is water in the desert, but sometimes it is hidden below the soil surface. The Desert Willow only grows in washes and other areas where there is water below the soil surface. This water keeps the Desert Willow alive where it could not grow otherwise. 10 Yesterday and Today The Paiutes who used to live in Red Rock Canyon didn’t have grocery stores or running water, and their houses, called wikiups, looked very different from ours. Yet, they had to eat, drink and have a place to live. All living things need food, water, shelter, and space to survive. These four things are what make up a “habitat.” Draw a line to connect each item from our lives with a similar item the Paiute people might have used. Solve the cryptogram to decode a simple rhyme. 1 A 2 B 6 1 3 C 15 8 4 D 5 E 15 4 1 2 6 F , 9 7 G 8 H 9 I 10 J 11 K 23 1 20 5 18 20 1 20 9 19 12 L , 1 13 M 14 N 15 O 19 8 5 19 16 16 P 17 Q 18 R 12 20 5 3 5 9 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 S T U V W X Y Z 18 1 , 12 19 16 1 3 5 16 12 1 3 5 11 s i s a O t r e Des k e e r C t s o L at Visit the Lost Creek Trailhead seven miles from the visitor center on the 13-Mile Scenic Drive. Walk up the trail until you come to a spring with willow trees around it (about 1/3 mile). Do you see any insects or animals? Write down those that you see. Do you think this might be a good spot for other animals to come and drink when you are not there? What animals might get water here? At the end of the canyon is a seasonal waterfall Lost Creek has water all year long, even though the desert gets less than ten inches of rain a year. If you were a thirsty Native American or pioneer at Red Rock Canyon years ago, would this spot have been important to you? Why? DO NOT DRINK THIS WATER. that occurs in the spring from snow melt or after a heavy rainfall. Think about what time of year it is and if there has been any heavy rain recently. Do you think you will see a waterfall at the end of the canyon? Take a look and find out! What did you see when you arrived? GRRRR There may be tiny creatures in the water like Giardia lamblia that could make you sick. People today must purify water from wild streams and springs before they can safely drink it. 12 Surviving in the Desert Plants and animals at Red Rock Canyon have adapted to survive in the hot and dry weather of the desert. Match each plant or animal with its adaptation. Write the number of the adaptation for that plant or animal in the blank next to it. There is only one answer for each. Mesquite Tree Roadrunner Kangaroo Rat Gila Monster Kit Fox Great Horned Owl Bighorn Sheep Jackrabbit Cholla Cactus 1 Runs more than flies. 2 Tap root may go down 100 feet to get water. 3 Has scaled skin resistant to drying. 4 Comes out at night. 5 Less active during midday heat. 6 Burrows underground. Desert Tortoise 7 Its body is adapted to get all of its water from seeds. 8 Big ears catch cool breezes and has reflective body hair. 9 Spines create shade. 10 Internal organs insulated by fat layer to keep warm during winter. 13 Tracks Although you may not see the animals who live here, you may find signs of them by their tracks and droppings. Unscramble the words on the next page to discover which animals make Red Rock Canyon their home. If you are having trouble figuring out what animal the tracks go to, ask for help from a BLM Ranger or volunteer, an adult, or flip through your Junior Explorer Activity Book for clues. Use the empty space to trace your own footprint. If you have space, trace your foot with your shoe on and with your shoe off. How are they different? How are they the same? Use the ruler to figure out how wide and how long your foot is. Compare your foot size with others. Who has the biggest feet? Who has the smallest? Draw 14 here! 10 9 YTOEOC 7 8 ROGAKONA TRA 6 DARLZI ABCOTB 4 5 ALIQU 3 STREDE STRETOOI 1 HIRNBOG PEHES 2 KASNE 15 Pack your pack! There are many things that you need to take along, could take along, or that are better left behind for a day of hiking. Imagine that this is your bedroom and you are about to go to Calico Tanks for a hike. “Pack” your backpack by circling all the things you would take on the hike. Remember, even if you are going hiking for the day, it is a good idea to be prepared to spend the night if you must. 16 R O W S D C R E A H Find these animals of Red Rock Canyon in the letter block. Their names may be found going up, down, diagonally, backwards, or across. Circle the words as you find them and cross them off the list so that you know which words you have already found. e r e p t i l e t o y o c k h a w k n o l i z a r d n n o t g e t a r k c a p r r l t e y l f r e t t u b d u l e l l l e a e t o r r l r b n t f i i v l p a i e r q l g e n a h e e b b r s e t a o e o t s n b o r t a e d m r b g n a i b i h p m a t m f r a o t c u f g d e c l a e k r t a q t o o h e w m m e p d t s b c x b s o a d r r a r o a d r u n n e r m u t t f c a b e i e i o o n b BIGHORN HAWK LIZARD BAT RABBIT FOX COYOTE BOBCAT SQUIRREL COTTONTAIL DEER BURRO EAGLE RAVEN ROADRUNNER TREE FROG DRAGONFLY BEETLE RATTLESNAKE TORTOISE OWL PACK RAT BUTTERFLY INSECT MAMMAL REPTILE BIRD AMPHIBIAN 17 Leave No Trace The Leave No Trace principles are seven simple guidelines to go by when visiting Red Rock Canyon and other public lands in order to leave the area the same or better than when you arrived. In the picture below, each of the principles are NOT being followed. Can you find and circle all seven guidelines that are NOT correct, as well as some things that just do not seem quite right? 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 18 Know before you go: Be prepared with the right clothing, maps, and knowledge about the area. Choose the right path: Stay on the trail in order not to hurt nature. Trash your trash: Pack it in, pack it out. Be careful with fire: Use existing fire rings and camp stoves, and make sure that fire is out cold. Respect wildlife: Watch animals without bothering them or their homes. Be kind to other visitors: Others have also come to enjoy nature, so be courteous and quiet. Leave what you find: Leave nature as you find it. Take pictures, leave only footprints. The Leave No Trace Seven Principles for Kids have been reprinted with the permission of the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethic. For more information: A Day In The Life A day in the life of a child 2,000 years ago was quite different from today. Children helped by gathering seeds, growing crops (like corn), hunting small animals (such as rabbits and birds), preparing meals, and tending to younger children. They also learned to make tools and pottery. Families taught the children about the world through stories and rituals. Imagine children 2,000 years ago using a daily journal to write down what they did each day. Help finish the ”journal entry” below by filling in the blanks from the words provided. Information at the visitor center and the glossary in this booklet may help you find the answers. Agave Bighorn Sheep Petroglyphs Snares Mano Yucca I knew it would be another busy day today as the sun rose over the red hills. I grabbed my pot and walked to the spring by the big, white mountain to get water to use for the day. Until just a few days ago, I was able to go to the hidden lake in the red hills, but this warmer weather has caused all the water there to disappear. I can remember spending time in the Spring watching the water slide along the rocks. The rushing water slid into the deep hole cut into the stone, forming a pool or _____________, where I could gather water easily. Metate Roasting Pit Storytelling Tinaja seeds and berries together, a tasty meal will be had by all. Near the spring, I saw my brother, along with several other boys, making _____________ out of yucca fiber ropes. Later they were able to catch a couple of rabbits to have for dinner. Above the boys on the rocks are several carved images, or _____________, of the many animals which previous hunters found in the area, including the agile __________, an animal with big curved horns. The rock carvings remind me of the ___________ that our family sometimes Along the way to the water, I passed my shares at night around the fire. I look forward father and a bunch of men collecting gray to this time because it teaches me how my rocks to use for our cooking area, called a family, friends, and the land came to be. _____________. It will be only a few days until the _____________ plant and desert After a five-mile round trip journey, I went tortoise are cooked enough to eat. In the back to our camp with the water for the day. meantime, I will help my mother gather That seems like a long walk for water, but the seeds that she will grind on the large for now, that is a way for me to help out. flat stone, the __________, with a flat When I got back, my mother was weaving hand-sized stone called a ____________ a basket. Someday I will be able to weave to make cooking flour. It’s a lot of work to the _____________ fiber and also make the grind the seeds and to make enough flour yucca soap as skillfully as my mother does. to use for cooking. By mixing the mesquite That will be fun! 19 Journal There is so much going on at Red Rock Canyon that it is hard to believe how beautiful and diverse the desert can be! After you’ve had some time to explore the visitor center and the 13-Mile Scenic Drive, write down a few things that you liked best. You can tell a story about a hike you went on, draw a picture of an animal or mountain you saw, or write a poem about your time at Red Rock Canyon. What sights, sounds, and smells did you experience? 20 Petroglyphs Throughout Red Rock Canyon, there are special cultural resources known as petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are images that have been carved or pecked into the rocks many years ago by Native Americans, and pictographs are the same but painted rather than pecked. These special places provide a link from the past to present day and are clues to how Native Americans lived and used Red Rock Canyon. The images could have been representations of maps, stories, rituals, trails, terrain, or important events. Today, it is illegal to draw on or carve into the rocks. This would be call graffiti. Below is rock for you to draw your own pictograph on without having to use a real rock. Keeping in mind what the Native Americans may have been doing when drawing and carving their rock art, what would be a good image for you to draw? Imagine that 500 years from now people will look at your “rock” to learn about our culture. What will you tell them with your picture? Write your story in the space provided to go along with your picture. REMEMBER, DO NOT DRAW ON REAL ROCKS! 21 Thinking About Red Rock Canyon Setting aside areas of land for conservation brings up issues and questions. Here are examples of four considerations. Pick one and answer the question. What would happen if... 1` people decided to build houses instead of leaving open space for conservation? 2 no one took care of the Conservation Area? 3 Native American artifacts, fossils, and plants were collected by people? Hmmmm... What would happen if... 4 22 you climbed up a rock and couldn’t get down? Conservation Crossword Puzzle 1 2 3 4 5 6 9 7 8 10 11 13 14 ACROSS DOWN 1. Partnership between a fungus and algae 6. Pattern of curving, angled lines in sandstone created by winds (2 words) 11. Rock made up of smaller rocks and pebbles cemented together 13. Historical pack trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles (3 words) 14. “Spokes-tortoise” for Clark County’s Desert Conservation Program who lives at the visitor center (2 words) 2. Upper shell of tortoise 3. Channel cut into the desert floor by flash floods 4. Turtlehead Peak is in this mountain range cemented together (2 words) 5. Swirl created with right combination of hot air, cool air and dust (2 words) 7. Nevada state mammal (2 words) 8. Reptilian form of hibernation 9. Curved lower shell of tortoise 10. Erosion-carved pockets in rock that hold pools of water Look at the clues to discover which words fit together in the crossword puzzle. Some answers can be found around the visitor center, in this book, or by asking for help from a BLM Ranger or volunteer. 23 LICHEN TINAJAS WASH CROSSBEDS BRUMATION CARAPACE CONGLOMERATE BIGHORN SHEEP MOJAVE MAX DUST DEVIL OLD SPANISH TRAIL PLASTRON LA MADRE Mojave Max Meet my friend Mojave Max! He is a desert tortoise that lives at Red Rock Canyon. He is a “spokes-tortoise” for Red Rock Canyon and the Mojave Desert, helping to educate people about desert tortoises and the importance of keeping our public lands clean and protected. Read the story below to find out more about desert tortoises. After you have read the story, help Scutey find his way through the maze so he can safely get to his burrow. O n a warm September morning, a desert tortoise named “Scutey” used his egg tooth to break out of his egg. He had been waiting around six months to come out of his egg, and today was the day! Scutey could not wait to explore the place he would call home, but most importantly, he had to find a burrow for safety. When Scutey hatched, he had a soft shell that would take five years to harden, making him an easy target for predators. The burrow would protect Scutey from any danger, such as hawks and ravens. It would also protect him from the late summer heat. Scutey found a nice shady spot with a burrow already there, just his size. He decided to use that burrow until his shell got too big for it, when he would have to find a new burrow or dig one on his own. Desert tortoises like their burrows to be a little snug so that when they sleep through the winter, they can stay nice and warm during cold months. Scutey decided to go on a walk, a very slow walk, to see what this place was all about. After a few minutes, Scutey met a friendly ground squirrel named “Squeaks.” Squeaks taught Scutey that this place was called Red Rock Canyon, and it is part of the Mojave Desert. “This is a really special place, Scutey,” said Squeaks, “because desert tortoises only 24 live in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.” “Wow! You mean there are other desert tortoises?,” asked Scutey. “Oh yes,” said Squeaks, “but not as many as there used to be. You see, desert tortoises have been around for millions of years, but recently things have been happening to desert tortoises. Hawks, coyotes, snakes, and people have been known to cause loss of habitat. Now desert tortoises, just like you Scutey, are a threatened species and are protected by the United States Government. Here in Nevada, desert tortoises are even more special because they are Nevada’s State Reptile.” This made little Scutey feel very important, but also a little nervous about the dangers he would face in his life. Scutey went along his way, discovering so many great things about Red Rock Canyon. Soon he found another animal munching on some beavertail cactus. “Excuse me, what are you?,” Scutey asked. “Little hatchling, I’m a desert tortoise just like you!,” the bigger animal said. “But you’re so big!” “I’m 60 years old, but I could actually live to be 80, or even 100 years old! I’ll prove I’m a desert tortoise just like you. Look at the back of our shells, the carapace. I have 13 scutes and so do you, and our bodies are covered in scales.” Scutey was still not convinced that this bigger creature was a desert tortoise. After all, he didn’t have an egg tooth and he was eating plants! “Am I supposed to eat plants like cactus and flowers too?,” Scutey thought. “I know what you’re thinking,” said the bigger tortoise, “and, yes you are a herbivore that eats plants too. That’s why we don’t have teeth, because we don’t need to eat meat. We tortoises do have very sharp, tough mouths though, so that we can eat right through cacti and other desert plants such as globe mallow and desert willow.” Scutey decided he was ready to head back to his burrow. He found some water puddles along the way and drank until he was full. Desert tortoises know that they will not see very much water in the desert, so it’s always important to drink it when they can find it. Tortoises can save their water in Help the desert their bladder for up to a whole year in case they can’t find any new water! Scutey crawled into his burrow, realizing that it was still early in the day, but it was already too warm for him outside his burrow. Scutey didn’t know it yet, but he, like other desert tortoises, would spend about 95 percent of his life in a burrow. Before long, winter would be here, and it would be too cold for desert tortoises. Scutey would enter into brumation, a reptilian version of hibernating. He would be in a sleep-like state for almost five months. But, until then, Scutey would need to go out and learn all he could about being a desert tortoise, eat as many healthy plants as he could, and stay away from danger so he could grow old, just like his new friend. tortoise find its way to its burrow! 25 Discovery Plaza Bingo Part of the Red Rock Canyon experience is the visitor center, which is filled with information all about Red Rock and the Mojave Desert. Throughout the visitor center, there are many bronze statues representing some of the animals that can be found here. How many can you find? Use the “Bingo” table below to see if you can find four animals in a line on the board. Perhaps you will be able to fill the entire card by finding all the animals! 26 Glossary Adaptation: A change in a living thing which helps it to Omnivore: An animal that eats both plants and meat. adjust to its natural surroundings. This usually happens Organism: An individual animal, plant, or single-celled over the course of many years. life form. Agave: A desert plant that grows a tall, fibrous stalk in spring; used as an important food source for Native Paiute: The group of Native Americans who lived Americans. Archaeologist: A person who studies the people, customs, and life of ancient times. in southern Nevada, southern Utah, and southeastern California; these were principally nomadic hunter/ gatherers. Petroglyphs: Rock carvings made by Native Artifact: Any human-made object. Americans. Cactus: A desert plant with fleshy stems and branches. Pictograph: Paintings on rocks by Native Americans It is often covered in prickly spines. Camouflage: A way of blending in to one’s environment by taking on colors, shapes, and other characteristics of the surroundings. Carnivore: An animal that eats only meat. Conservation: The official care and protection of natural and cultural resources. Desert: A region receiving less than 10” of rain a year, or

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