Hiking Kelso “Singing” Sand Dunes in California is an odd sensation. It feels like you are walking up an escalator that is going down as the sand shifts under your feet.
The largest dune field in the Mojave Desert also offers a chance of hearing a low, rumbling “song” that can not only be heard, but can also be felt vibrating through the ever shifting ground.
Although the environment at first seemed barren and lifeless, a bit of movement caught my eye. Then it was gone. A little while later I saw a similar movement and this time carefully watched where the creature buried itself.
The Mojave Fringe-toed Lizard is a flat-bodied lizard with smooth, sand-colored skin featuring a pattern of small black spots. Their habitat is restricted to areas containing fine wind-blown sand dunes, the margins of dry lake beds, desert washes, and hillsides. Large, triangular-shaped fringes on their rear toes are used for speed and mobility in the sand.
This reptile feeds on small invertebrates that dwell close to the sand’s surface, such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and scorpions. They also eat seeds, leaves, grasses, and flowers.
This is a speedy, ground-dwelling lizard that runs on its hind limbs when at top speeds. When threatened it often runs a short distance and then wriggles under the sand, chisel-shaped snout first. This was a really neat place to encounter a really neat lizard!