Just started watching Disney’s “African Cats” documentary - it always boggles me how these film crews capture the shots they do. Its absolutely amazing, and I’m so thankful just how many great resources there are out there for studying animals in motion (and in glorious HD!)
The Common Collared Lizard, or Eastern Collared Lizard, can be found across the western United States as well as Texas, Missouri and Kansa. They inhabit arid areas with sparse vegetation, and lay their eggs in burrows. Males show bright, distinctive coloring, with blue-green bodies and brownish heads, while females show more demure brown coloration. Both sexes have black bands around the neck and shoulders, giving them their name.
These lizards are also impressive sprinters. They can run on their hind legs, much like frilled lizards and some other species, and can reach speeds of up to 16mph. This helps them to catch fast-moving prey, as well as evade predators.
The Western Black Widow is the only venomous spider native to the United States, and is found in warm, dry areas of the southwest. They build their webs under ledges, rocks or any other debris that will make a suitable cover. They feed primarily on insects that they catch in their webs, using their venom to subdue their prey before feeding. They can be easily identified by their characteristic black bodies and red hourglass shape on their belly.
Black widows are usually shy animals and will normally not bite unless provoked. Their venom is very toxic, and is apparently 15 times more potent than rattlesnake venom. The bite is rarely fatal in healthy individuals, unless they are quite young or old. However, their bite is very painful and can cause internal problems, so it is best to avoid these spiders if possible.
The Pallid Sturgeon is native to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in the United States. They are opportunistic bottom feeders, foraging for insects and small fish like minnows. They can live for up to 50 years, and potentially even longer. It is difficult to tell the age of the fish as their skeleton is made of cartilage, not bone, and they have no scales.
Pallid Sturgeon have been listed as Endangered since 1990. Damming and channelization of their native rivers has reduced flow rates and sediment loads which has continued to have an impact on their populations. In addition, dams stop sturgeon from migrating up stream to spawn. The Keystone Pipeline would cross the rivers where these rare fish are found, and would have further negative impacts on this already fragile species.