22. REPTILES, VENOMOUS INSECTS, ETC.


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REPTILES and venomous insects are not as numerous in the Territory as has been generally reported, and instances of serious results from bites or stings are very rare.

There are three varieties of the rattlesnake, one being the large black rattlesnake usually found in the rocky gorges of the mountains. Another kind is the large yellow rattlesnake found in low lands, and on the sandy plains. These two kinds are from three to five feet in length. Another kind, called the side wiper, from its peculiar habit of locomotion sideways, instead of ahead, is found through most of the valleys and plains, and is from two to three feet in length. It is quite spiteful, active, and venomous.

There are many varieties of the saurian lizard species, resembling those found on the continent elsewhere. There is one variety, however, peculiar to Arizona, found principally in the Gila River valley, and locally known as the Gila monster.

It is from fifteen to thirty inches long, a dull,


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filthy looking reptile, with black mouth and tongue, seemingly harmless and inoffensive. The Indians, however, say that its breath will cause one to die, but this is perhaps apocryphal.

The tarantula, which is a large black spider, the Lycosa tarantula, is found in moderate numbers in all the warmer portions of the Territory. Its bite is not as dangerous as generally supposed, though it is quite poisonous and painful.

The centipede, of the genus Scolopendra, is found in the tropical valleys of the Territory, where they often are four to six inches long. When they crawl over the flesh of a person, it causes a stinging, smarting sensation, quite painful, and in sensitive parts of the body would be somewhat dangerous.

The scorpion is found in limited quantities, and its sting is painful but not necessarily dangerous.

Turtles are found along the Colorado and Gila rivers of considerable size, sometimes twenty inches across. Their flesh is quite palatable.

The tarantula bug is about the size of a hummingbird, and is so named from its tenacity in the destruction of the tarantula and its nest and eggs.

The common house-fly, Musca domestica, is numerous in all parts of the Territory, and a great nuisance.

For about two months before the summer ainy season, some of the mountain districts swarm with


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large, venomous flies, which are extremely irritating to horses and cattle.

There are many kinds of bugs, insects, etc., much too numerous to mention, and of no particular interest to the common reader.

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