Petrified Forest National Park Reptiles

Reptiles occupy a variety of habitats ranging from grasslands to rocky slopes and play an important role in maintaining the health of an ecosystem. They consume large quantities of insects, spiders, scorpions, small mammals, and other reptiles, thereby preventing infestations of any single species. Respecting the entire reptile community helps to preserve this vital link. All reptiles are "ectothermic," or cold-blooded, regulating body temperature via external sources rather than internal metabolism.

The metabolic rate of a reptile is very low, but so are its energy needs. Keeping warm in the Arizona sunshine does not require much work, so energy generated can be used for reproduction and finding food instead of for heating and cooling. Of course, there are limitations to this type of adaptation. Since they cannot pant or sweat, reptiles are not able to endure extremely high temperatures without shade. They also cannot endure freezing temperatures. When it is cold, they hibernate or enter into an inactive torpor. When lizards are seen scurrying across a rock or path, please resist the urge to catch them. Lizards can have a mean bite and some will actually shed a tail to escape capture. Though the tail will grow back, a great deal of body energy is used in the process and population dynamics will be affected. Enjoy them from a respectful distance.

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Featured Park
Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.
Featured Wildlife
The pika is a close relative of the rabbits and hares, with two upper incisors on each side of the jaw, one behind the other. Being rock-gray in color, pikas are seldom seen until their shrill, metallic call reveals their presence.