The Sonoran Desert Tortoise appears to be headed toward protected species status.

Jim Rorabaugh, US Fish and Wildlife Services

Desert tortoise

This toothless, docile creature can survive 80 or more years in this inhospitable land.

Horned lizard

These rounded reptiles are commonly called horny toads. In Tohono O'odham, a horned lizard is a tumamoc.

Gila monster

Their beautiful beaded bodies are bright pink and black. Too bad they are venomous.

Western diamondback rattlesnake

Its name alone sounds dangerous. Even though rattlers live in the desert, the suburbs and even downtown, they do their best to avoid people.


These top-knotted birds display their family values by, seemingly, always traveling in packs.

- Selected by Bobbie Jo Buel