As a guide I spent a lot of time on the highway. You would not believe the amount of wildlife that get run over and killed. This is a good reason to drive slower in the desert. Some of the road kill I encounter are in really good shape. ( ie. no blood or gore.) I got into the habit of photographing the good examples of road kill that I come across because it gives us an opportunity to see our desert wildlife close-up. This first photo is of a Ring-tail Cat. It is related to the raccoon family. They come out at night, mostly, so we don't see them too often. I came upon this ring-tail a couple of miles down on this side of the summit from Mountain Pass. It was in good condition so I snapped a photo. I bet there are a lot of folks who have lived in Nevada for many years and have never seen a Ring-tail Cat.
The next photo is a young Coyote that I came upon right in the middle of the night as I entered Death Valley. It had been hit by a car within an hour or so when I came upon it. It was the middle of the night because I was going to Stove-pipe wells to pick up a couple of photographers that wanted to get to Racetrack Playa before sun-up to take advantage of the early morning light. I left Pahrump at 1 am and was entering Death Valley at 2 am right by the Furnace Creek Inn when I came upon this guy. I had been listening to a late night alien talk show (Art Bell) and when I knelt down to take the photo the dead coyotes partner came running up behind me in the darkness and just about gave me a heart attack.
This is a Desert Wood Rat. There are 7 species of North American Desert Wood Rats.
They are frequently called Pack Rats. I came upon this guy between Death Valley Junction and the Death Valley Park entrance.
Photo'ed this one along the same stretch of highway.
This is a Red Racer that someone hit on the road going into Valley of Fire. Red Racers are some of the fastest crawling snakes on the planet. They can crawl at about 7 miles per hour.
Someone hit this beautiful Gray Fox on the highway about a mile east of the Death Valley NP entrance sign between Death Valley Junction and Furnace Creek. 11-9-10
Found this poor snake in the El-Dorado Mountains near some Teddy-bear Cholla Cactus.
Poor guy! 11-10-10