Increased Fire Restrictions, Effective June 5 Until Further Notice
Due to increase fire danger and dry conditions, all fires (charcoal, coal, and wood) are prohibited. Cook stoves and lanterns are still allowed. Smoking is limited to enclosed vehicles.
Please note that you will need the latest version of Apple's QuickTime software to view the QTVR Movies below. If you do not have the latest version click here to download it for free.
The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake is one of the most feared and misunderstood animals found in the Sonoran Desert. This snake, out on a morning hunt, was spotted near the visitor center. The video only lasts 12 seconds because as you will see the snake was just as interested in the ranger with camera as the ranger was with it!
Quicktime Movie (1.41Mb)
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument averages less than 8 inches of rainfall a year. Those 8 inches come in two distinct rainy seasons. Those two seasons produce soft gentle rains in wither and very hard summer monsoons. The video below highlights one of the spectacular and dangerous consequences of those monsoons: Flash Floods. The monsoon that caused this flood dropped 2.02 inches in two hours. That is over a quarter of our annual rainfall in just 120 minutes!
To see what this arroyo looks like when it is not flooded click here.
Quicktime Movie (936 Kb)
After the clouds parted and the massive push of water began to subside from the flash flood seen above, the desert had its own little river, at least for a few hours. This arroyo which is dry more than 99% of the time is located on the road that links the visitor center to the campground and North Puerto Blanco Drive.
To see what this arroyo looks on most days click here.
Quicktime Movie (1.62Mb)
The Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes) is anther misunderstood animal of the Desert. While these spiders look menacing and deadly, they are in fact quiet docile and relatively safe. Their bite is comparable to a bee sting; however you would have to do something very severe and aggressive to cause one to want to bite you. These two tarantulas where spotted while mating. The female is on the left and the male on the right.
Quicktime Movie (1.91Mb)
The Sonoran Desert Toad (Bufo alvarius) is a very large, and for most visitors unexpected, resident of the Sonoran Desert. During monsoon season these toads can often be spotted near watering holes or just hopping alongside the road at night. This toad was hanging out by the front door of the Visitor Center. She was not shy, and when the camera turned on, she was ready for her close-up!
Quicktime Movie (2.08Mb)
Bonus Movie (1.18Mb)
The Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) is not only the largest land turtle in North America it is an icon of the desert. This young tortoise was found trying to cross North Puerto Blanco Drive. After removing it from the road and relocating it to a safe place in an adjacent wash the following video was taken. Click on the "Bonus Movie" link to see where it went next.
Quicktime Movie (7.48Mb)
Bonus Movie (2.23Mb)
Images and Movies by Joshua Boles - NPS
Did You Know?
Gila Monsters are one of only two species of venomous lizards found in North America. You can find them in the late spring through early autumn at ORPI. They move really slow, and you have to try pretty hard to get bit. We don't recommend it. It hurts, and they don't let go.