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Sonoran Desert Animal Riddles

Last updated over 4 years ago

If you are in search of a fun activity about Sonoran Desert animals, try the riddles below. Ask your kids to read the riddles out loud, then let them figure out which animal is described in each riddle. Click on a thumbnail to see images, videos, and additional information about each animal.

You can download the riddles (PDF) for printing or displaying on a screen. You can also download a large format poster (PDF, 26 x 22.5 in) with pictures of the animals.

Icon: Desert tortoise, Mojave Desert by Mike Jones

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    Gopherus agassizii

    Desert Tortoise

    I have four legs and a stubby tail.

    I am a vegetarian, and I have no teeth.

    I bury my eggs in the desert sand.

    I carry my house around with me.

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    Heloderma suspectum

    Gila Monster

    I spend most of my time underground, in my burrow.

    My body is covered with pink and black scales.

    People call me a monster, but I’m really not that bad.

    I only use my venomous bite if I have to defend myself.

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    Crotalus atrox

    Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake

    I have no legs.

    I inject my prey with venom through my long, tubular fangs.

    My fangs have hinges on them, so I can fold them against the roof of my mouth.

    When I feel threatened, I make noise with my tail.

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    Callipepla gambelii

    Gambel's Quail

    I am a bird, but I usually fly only when somebody is chasing me.

    I prefer to walk or run on the ground.

    I live in a group called a covey.

    I have a chunky round body and a plume at the top of my head.

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    Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus


    I eat mostly insects.

    I like to build my nest in cholla cactus.

    Some people think I am very noisy.

    I am the state bird of Arizona.

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    Melanerpes uropygialis

    Brewster's Woodpecker

    I have a strong bill that I can use to dig into the wood of trees.

    You can often see me hanging on the side of a tree, looking for an insect snack.

    I raise my young inside cavities that I excavate from trees and saguaro cacti.

    I have a small, red cap on the top of my head.

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    Canis latrans


    I have big ears and a pointy face.

    I also have a long, bushy tail with a black tip.

    I’ll eat just about anything, from fruit and seeds to mice and roadkill.

    I’m most active at night, when you can often hear me howl.

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    Sylvilagus audubonii

    Desert Cottontail

    I have long front teeth, and I eat grasses, herbs, and shrubs.

    When something scares me, I freeze and sit very still.

    I have long ears and a round, stubby tail that’s white on the underside.

    I have long hind legs, and I get around mostly by hopping and jumping.

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    Pecari tajacu

    Collared Peccary, Javelina

    I don’t see very well, but my hearing is great, and I have a very keen sense of smell.

    I live in a herd with my relatives.

    I have short but razor-sharp tusks.

    I really like to eat prickly pear pads.

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    Vaejovis spinigerus

    Devil's Scorpion

    I like to hide under rocks and dead wood.

    I have eight legs and a pair of grasping claws.

    I am a fierce predator.

    I subdue my prey with venom from a stinger on the end of my tail.

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    Aphonopelma chalcodes

    Desert Blond Tarantula

    I spend most of the day in my burrow and come out at night to hunt.

    I like to eat lizards and insects.

    I am very hairy.

    I am a spider, but I don’t build a web.

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    Moneilema gigas

    Cactus Longhorn Beetle

    When I was young, I was a grub, burrowing inside the roots and stems of a cactus.

    Now I am fully grown and my hard shell protects me from the cactus spines.

    During monsoon season, I am out and about feeding on chollas and prickly pear pads.

    I am shiny black and I have two long antennae.