Exploring for Desert Animals!

I'm coyote peterson, this is wild man phil and his son archie who might actually be a little wilder than his dad.

Tonight we're in their backyard at the boyce thompson arboretum. Now archie, as I understand it there's something underneath this lid over here that we might want to take a look at.

Definitely. Alright let's check this out. Oh, nice! Isn't that wild? (Adventure themed music) wow, alright. So, archie, you gonna get that guy outta there? Yeah, i'll do that.

Wow, you are brave. Nice. Look at that, it's a tarantula! Alright, let's bring him up here on the path so we can get a better look at him. Now, phil what species is this? This is a desert tranatula.

So you're 11 years old and you were not afraid to put your hand down in there and lift the spider up. Why is that? Well, actually it's because if i'm gentle with him he's going to be okay with it.

Nice, and this is a species that you'll find right here in your backyard. Anybody in arizona may have a desert tarantula in their backyard. Yeah.

And if we see these arachnids, what do we know? What are they out there doing? They're out there eating bugs. That's right, all the pest insects that you don't want to have to deal with, this little tarantula is having them for dinner.

Let's put her back into her irrigation box and see what else we can find. On this adventure we will be exploring the boyce thompson arboretum located an hour east of phoenix and nestled at the base of picket post mountain.

Their 320 acre expanse of beautifully manicured trails is home to over 3,000 types of plants. And, at home within these plants are plenty of animals. The arboretum was established in 1924 by colonel william boyce thompson.

His vision of a living classroom has set in motion nearly a century of inspiration for anyone lucky enough to visit this incredible establishment.

Phil and archie ricose are two of the many who have been inspired by the colonel's vision. As a volunteer team they have been leading lizard walks at the arboretum for several years now.

Working together they safely get visitors up close with the unique animals that call this paradise home. With the evening monsoon rains pushing through we have prepared to explore the arboretum grounds under the darkness of night, which according to phil and archie is the best time to come across a plethora of creatures.

So archie isn't it cool being out here at night? It's like one o'clock in the morning, we're out here with your dad looking for creates, isn't that fun? Yeah.

I love being out here late at night. Ooh! Oh, geez, that's, hold on, hold on! Make sure you identify it first, do you know what it is? Yep, that's a california king snake.

Hold on let me come around this side. Careful on the rocks. Alright, you got a hold on him? Phil, help archie down there. Watch your footing alright you got that? You want a hand? good thing you got those keen boots on, gripping to the rocks.

Alright let's get him down here on the path and get a good look at him. Nice! Good spotting phil! Now, I gotta say, one thing that's super important is you always identify a snake before you actually catch it.

You were able to easily tell this was a non venomous species, right? yes. And how did you learn to be able to identify snakes like that? My dad taught me. nice! Very awesome.

Now what's really cool about the california king snake is that it's actually immune to rattle snake venom which is a pretty awesome trait to have isn't it? Yep. Yeah and this guy will actually eat a snake as long as himself.

Will it really? yeah! And he's also going to eat mice, and rats, and other rodents which is great. And this is a species that's pretty common around here so people see them right in their backyards? Yep.

And this is not a snake that you ever need to be afraid of. As you can see this guy just came right out of the wild he is about as calm as can be.

His only interest right now is getting back up onto the rock face so he can go out there and hunt. You think it's time to let him go? Yep.

Pretty cool experience. Let's get him back out there so he can catch some dinner. Getting up close with a california king snake was definitely an unexpected find.

And, as we ventured on we found more creatures. What you got there, archie? A red spotted toad. From amphibians to arachnids and even a giant witch moth.

The arboretum was alive with animals. So this one time, at band camp. We finally arrived at the one spot that phil had been excited about all night, an old abandoned cabin.

I had a pretty good idea what he had waiting inside. I'm not gonna lie, i'm a little bit nervous. Yeah, you see on the ground here we have all these nice piles? smells like bat poop in here! Alright, everybody in.

Woah, what kind of bats are those, phil? Those look like pallid bats. Look how big their ears are! Yeah, pallid bats are one of the bats that have pretty noticeable ears.

Are you just going to scoop one of those up with a net? Woah, look at that! - just like that. Wow, and that's how you one swipe catch a bat out of mid air.

Holy cow phil. That was amazing. That is one cool looking bat. Look at those ears. Alright, so you're going to go first, you're gonna, you want to batter up first? i'll try.

Alright take your time, take your time. Almost, oh, now they're gripping on. There you go. did you get one? He got one! - he's got one! Holy cow, high fives, boom! That was his first swipe at it, too.

Man, the pressure's really on now, i've got bat man and bat kid over here. Wow, look at that. That is quite the experience for a 10 year old. There we go. Wow, right at the camera, that was awesome.

That's a lot of pressure guys, so now it's on me, right? Got him! Did I get one? oh, yes! I got it! All these little appendages out to the side here, these are the fingers and that's his little thumb right there, correct? yeah.

It's kind of like, there's his hand. Right. He's got his elbow here and then this is his wrist, his thumb, first finger down to where his pinky finger is really right here. So it looks just the same as us doing that.

So bats just have incredibly they have lot's of skin. Long hands, with wings. yes. Archie, high fives. Phil, thank you both so much for having us out right here in your backyard at the arboretum.

We saw so many cool creatures tonight, spiders, snakes, and of course the bats. But, I want to know what sort of animals live right in your backyard? You never know, i might be with you on the next adventure.

I'm coyote peterson, be brave, stay wild, we'll see you next time. To explore the boyce thompson arboretum alongside wild man phil and archie was one of the greatest experiences we have had so far while filming coyote's backyard.

I believe that their father/son camaraderie, love for animals, and ambition to educate others, is exactly what colonel thompson saw when he envisioned the dream that has become this arboretum.

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