Catching a Lizard Using NOTHING but WATER!

Catching a Lizard Using NOTHING but WATER!

– I’m Coyote Peterson, this morning, we’re in the Sonoran Desert and right here next to
me is a creosote bush, which is gonna lead me to
one very special lizard. Ah! Uh, dang it! Well, we know where he is. (dynamic jungle music) For anyone that has ever spent time exploring in the Southwest,
I’m willing to bet there’s a good chance that
you have seen a lizard. However, there’s a big difference between seeing and catching a lizard. Some, like the regal horned
lizard are rather slow, which makes them easy to catch, then you have collared lizards, which if you’re quick
enough to catch them, there’s a good chance they will also turn around and catch you. I got a hold of him,
he’s got a hold of me, look at that, argh! Jeez! With their teeth. Holy cow! Alright, whoa, those
teeth are super sharp. When it comes to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, one of my favorite species
is the desert iguana, which is actually pretty
easy to track down, as long as you follow the
right signs in the environment and this is the creosote bush, ah, it smells so good, this is one of the most fragrant plants, that you have here in the Sonoran Desert and what these iguanas are
looking for is this right here, these little flowers are breakfast. All we’ve gotta do is follow
the trail of creosote bushes and hopefully it’s gonna lead us to one of these little lizards. One key to having an animal encounter is being able to be patient, which is oftentimes easier said than done, especially when dealing
with the heat of the desert. Oh, it is scorching hot,
it is about 105 degrees, we have been out here since
about six o’clock this morning, we’re approaching noon right now, which is okay, because the desert iguana does better in high heat, than
most other lizard species, we are in a field of creosote bushes and mesquite trees, we’ve
been looking for hours, I didn’t think it was gonna
be this tough to find one. As our search continued, the endless expanse of desert scrubland became more and more disorienting, the sun beating down, its beams
of light slowly cooking us as we rounded spine-covered plants and stared into empty creosote bushes. I mean, there are literally thousands of these creosote bushes out here and you can see how sparse they are, I mean, you can pretty
much walk up like this, look in, no lizard, keep moving. Time seemed to be dragging on forever, until finally I spotted our target. There’s one right there, well, it’s a lizard, I can’t
tell if it’s a desert iguana, but it’s definitely a lizard right there basking in that tree, see
its tail hanging down? Oh, it looks like a desert
iguana, I can see its tail. Oh, this is it! Okay, I don’t know if I’m
going to be able to catch it, it’s the first one that
we’ve seen, he’s pretty low, he’s probably gonna
burrow right under there. Okay, follow me, let me
see if we can get him, this is just we’re gonna
have one shot at this. (light suspenseful music) I think it’s a desert iguana. See, he’s just up on that
branch, he’s holding on, he’s got his foot wrapped
around that branch. Okay, I’m pretty much just
gonna have to make a jump into that creosote bush
and kind of grab him, are you ready? One, two, three. Ah! Ah! (light suspenseful music) Ah! He got right down that burrow. Dang it! Well, we know where he is. Did you see how fast they are? Unbelievably fast, alright, first thing we need to do is block up any other possible exits for this burrow and then what I’m gonna
use is a bottle of water, dump that down the hole and hopefully I will get
him flushed back out. Alright, ready? Not the smartest thing to do with your last bottle
of water in the desert, but when you wanna catch a desert iguana, sometimes you don’t have many options. During monsoon season, burrows
flood on a daily basis, so what I’m doing is replicating a completely natural occurrence. Oh, this burrow might be really deep. (light haunting music) Shoot! – [Mark] We’re gonna need more water. – We’re gonna need more water. Things don’t always go according to plan and when it comes to catching lizards, this is often the case. Now it’s fair to say that these reptiles are considerably faster than I am, however, I’d argue that they definitely are not smarter than this Coyote. Dang it! Well, we know where he is. It was time to call in plan
B, the manmade monsoon. Now in the desert, when huge
monsoon rains pour down, all these burrows flood, which drives animals up out of the ground. We’re going to pour gallons
of water into this burrow, hopefully get the desert
iguana to shoot out of there and I’ll be able to catch it. It’s gonna be tough, but
we’re not gonna give up yet. We sent our wildlife biologist, Mario huffing across the desert
and back to our vehicle, where he would retrieve our emergency five-gallon
reserve of water. I gotta sit here under this creosote bush and watch the hole, in
case the lizard comes out. This is literally a stakeout now, anything could be living in that hole, so it makes me a little
nervous just laying here, but ooh, that’s my move, I guess I could sit here and practice, ’cause we’re only gonna get one shot, if we get these gallons of water here and that lizard does pop
back up out of the burrow, if I don’t get it on the first try, we’re not gonna have another shot at it. 45 minutes later and Mario
returned with the water. Alright, we’re back,
bring it on in, Mario. Mario has huffed across the desert and has brought back with him, what is that, five gallons of water? Five gallons, if that doesn’t get this
iguana out of that burrow, you guys will have seen your first official
miss on Breaking Trail, see, everybody’s always asking, “Coyote, do you always catch the animals?” This is truly one of those instances, where I think we’re gonna
release this episode, even if I don’t catch it, just because of how much work we’ve gone through to try to get it. Okay, you guys, ready? I’m gonna tip it and just kind of start to
funnel it in there, ready? – Yep.
– One, two, three. (cheerful orchestral music) The method I am using to draw
the iguana up from this burrow simulates a completely natural occurrence in the desert during monsoon season, so this is in no way hurting
the animal or the environment. That’s a lot of water. Come on. Something’s moving. Something’s definitely coming up. I can hear it. (cheerful orchestral music) Got him!
– Oh, my God! (laughing) – Did you guys see that? (laughing) Could you see his little head sticking up? – Oh man, your hand’s dirty.
– Oh, my gosh. My hand is shaking, I didn’t know when I should actually reach
for him and we actually got it, can you guys believe
that that just happened? (laughing) – [Mark] Oh my God. – That may be the most impressive catch I have ever pulled off in my life. – [Mark] Did you think you
were actually gonna catch him? – I did not, I thought
it was pretty hopeless, as we sent Mario back to
get that giant jug of water, literally sitting here for
what, a good 45 minutes staring at the burrow, nothing coming out, I figured it was connected
to one of these other holes and he was long gone, but
sometimes if you wait it out, you can catch the desert iguana. Now this is a lizard species that is very active during
the day, as you could see, incredibly quick as it jumped
out of the creosote bush and darted into a burrow and they’re pretty docile, if you can manage to catch
one of these lizards, as you can see, it’s
not trying to bite me, it’s really just hanging
out at this point. Alright, bring your camera
in a little bit closer there, look at the eyes of that lizard, now this is primarily a diurnal species, which means that they’re
out during the day, that’s why they’re so
in tune to everything that’s moving around
in their environments. The cryptic color pattern on this lizard allows it to perfectly blend
in to these sandy environments and their bellies are incredibly smooth, which allows them to quickly scurry across hot sand surfaces. Now the desert iguana is
related to the green iguana, which is native to
Central and South America, but here in the Southwest,
this is the only iguana, that you’re gonna bump into. Let’s talk about this
lizard’s tail for a second, look at how long that is, about twice the length of the body, now they use these tails to
help them balance in the trees, when they’re trying to eat the
flowers of the creosote bush, but also when they’re on the
ground and they’re running, they can almost lift their body just slightly up off the sand and the tail works like a rudder, as it helps them navigate
across the desert terrain. Now one of the coolest and
grossest facts about this lizard is that they don’t only eat those delicious little
creosote bush flowers, they also eat the fecal pellets
of other desert iguanas, do you guys know what a fecal pellet is? That’s a poop, you eat
other desert iguanas’ poop. The reason that they
eat these fecal pellets is to balance out the amount of cellulose, that is in their gut, so gross, let me smell your breath, doesn’t smell like he’s been
eating any turds this morning, smells like you’ve been eating
some creosote bush flowers, kind of gross, but also kind
of neat at the same time. Well, it certainly wasn’t easy, but a little bit of patience
and five gallons of water and we managed to catch ourselves
one awesome desert iguana. Time to get this little
guy back into the wild and see what else we can find out here in the Sonoran Desert. I’m Coyote Peterson, be brave, stay wild, we’ll see you on the next adventure. (cheerful orchestral music) After the first miss, we definitely considered
throwing in the towel, but with a little
teamwork, we pulled it off and in the end, getting up
close with a desert iguana was totally worth the effort. If you thought that
was one wild adventure, check out the time I was
captured by the collared lizard and don’t forget, subscribe
to join me and the crew on this season of Breaking Trail. (light jungle music)

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About the Author: John Markowski


  1. RE-POSTING this previously two-part episode now combined into one. Now you can enjoy the Epic Lizard Catch unabridged:)

  2. If you turn a lizard upside down for a few minutes it will be tame till it is back on the ground for a little bit

  3. Yeah, those collared lizards bite hard if you catch one and then can turn their head more than 90 degrees. I caught one and it was big enough where it crunched down on my thumb and cracked my thumb nail right in half. Ouch! Believe it or not I think the alligator lizard in California is worse. They bite down, lock their jaws, and then they start twisting. Did I mention they have serrated teeth? Desert iguana is pretty docile in comparison.

  4. Mario:I HAVE THE WATER me:🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯🀯😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡

  5. Coyote: it’s not safe using your last bottle of water in the scorching desert

    Also coyote: waits 45 minutes for 5 gallons of water and the wastes it to put inside a hole

  6. Lizard: I'll go look
    Peterson: I'll go look
    Lizard and Peterson looks at each other
    Lizard and Peterson: ight ima head out

  7. Coyote: Whooo hoo hooo hooooooo! WE CAUGHT IT
    Emergency Water: Not tilted back upright DdDDDrRriiiiPppppPPPppPP
    News: Three men found dead from dehydration with this film with them!

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