Gila Monster Vs.
Rock Squirrel

      Have your camera at the ready when you walk the trails here at the Arboretum -- Dot Coffey graciously shared the image at right after she saw this feisty rock squirrel challending a gila monster. This unusual interaction was observed and photographed July 26 near "Mr. Big," the tallest of all the Australian trees in our eucalyptus grove.

       This isn't the first time a photographer has managed to capture this unusual Arizona scene, though; in 2006 Arboretum Volunteer Tom Keyes took the pictures seen at left and below... also showing a standoff between a defensive reptile and a pugnacious rodent.

       Arboretum staff also relate stories about seeing rock squirrels harassing four-foot
western diamondback rattlesnakes, even a six-foot-five-inch gopher snake a couple years back