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It rains here, but not much! Scottsdale only gets about 7 inches of rain a year. Compare that to a Midwestern state like Michigan which gets 34 inches of rain a year.
Even with the lack of rain, there is still lots of neat plants and cacti. They have just adapted to live without much natural rainfall. One of the coolest is the Saguaro (suh-WAR-oh) cactus. They are often 25 feet tall and the largest ever recorded was 59 feet tall!
Saguaros seem like very friendly cacti because they have arms that look like they are waving at you! These arms do serve a purpose – Saguaros grow arms to help store water, and to help make flowers and fruits that will spread the Saguaro seeds on the desert floor to make more catci!
One of the most popular desert animals is the coyote. The hockey team is even named after them! Besides coyotes, the desert is home to many animals including bobcats, javelina, deer, jackrabbits, cottontails, squirrels, kangaroo rats, owls, quail and cactus wren.
Chuckwalla lizards protect themselves from predators in an unusual way. They crawl into cracks between rocks and gulp in air. The loose skin of their necks and backs stretches as they fill with air, and they tightly fill the cracks. Predators cannot pry them loose from their hiding spots.
An Ironwood Tree, which is important to many plants and animals, can live up to 800 years. That means an ironwood tree you see today could have been alive hundreds of years before Columbus landed in the New World.
Hummingbirds eat two to three times their body weight each day. A 50-pound kid would have to consume 100 to 150 pounds of nectar and insects a day to keep up with a hummingbird!