First up, to pick up or not to pick up, that is the question I received about Desert Tortoises from this post. To clarify, you don't want to pick up Desert Tortoise, as a rule, because they retain water in their bladders - up to 30% of their body weight, as it says in A Naturalist's Guide to Sabino Canyon, pg. 41 - and picking them up startles them (to put it mildly). They will void their bladder; yucky for you, potentially life threatening for them. Unless they can tank up quickly (and, let's face it, water's in short supply here most of the time), they'll die.
There are situations, though, when the risk to the tortoise could be greater if you didn't pick him or her up. One situation could be if the tortoise has (been) flipped over (not by you, of course) and is struggling to get on 4 legs again. (Sometimes they do slip and flip.) The bigger they are, the more difficult it can be to get right. Watch, first; then help them flip gently, without lifting too much off the ground. Always make sure you're needed before intervening.
Another situation that may warrant intervention is impending doom by a vehicle. If you can stop traffic (without risk to life and limb) and allow the tortoise to take his or her time, that's the best option. If you can't, though, choose the shortest path to safety, and, by keeping the tortoise as close to the ground as you can, gently and swiftly move him or her. Again, though, only intervene if the life-threatening risk to the tortoise is greater than the potentially life-threatening risk of being picked up.
Second, a post by our favorite bug lady, Margarethe Brummermann - on the Queen of the Night in her backyard.
Third, a correction by the same favorite bug lady on the 'Dare to Compare' post. (also in the comment section.)
While we did see the very big antlion Vella fallax, I have to point out that this one is an Owlfly, in the same order, Neuroptera, but with a very different larval strategy. To read more, go to this blog post.
Fourth, find out how much it's rained and where at the Pima County Flood Control website. I know you love rain gauges!
And finally, tomorrow's post is not for arachnophobes. That means, you, Honey-Matt.
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