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Cruising the Loop at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area | Tales from the Trails

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Cruising the Loop at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area  | Outdoor Nevada Presents Tales from the Trails
SEASON 1: EPISODE 10 | 11/24/2023  

The beauty is undeniable. Whether you’re hiking, biking, climbing or driving the 13-mile Scenic Loop, there is no shortage of amazing views and captivating sights. 

There is one thing most people don’t get to see and experience here - the loop at night. The Nevada Department of Wildlife cruises the loop at night to meet the true locals of Red Rock. 

Claire Clarke is with the Department of Wildlife and she took Maria along for the ride. She said the road absorbs the heat from the sun all day and when the cars stop using it at night, the animals use it as a source of warmth. The cold-blooded animals rely on outside heat sources to keep up their metabolism. 

The first night crawler they found was a desert hairy scorpion. Clarke said they’re the same species that will show up in backyards in Southern Nevada. They use their stingers to envenomate their prey and then use their pincers, otherwise known as pedipalps, to bring their food to their mouths. 

Their exoskeletons glow under a blacklight, which is how many people find scorpions in their backyards. 

The finds don't stop there. Maria and the Department of Wildlife team also found a red-spotted toad. According to Matt Flores from the Department of Wildlife, the red-spotted toad is one of the more desert-adapted amphibians and they’re commonly found in the Mojave Desert. 

The nighttime adventure was not just about cruising around looking for spotted frogs, the data around what they find is recorded and uploaded to a department database. All that information helps with conservation efforts around the Mojave’s unique species.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife manages close to 900 different species of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles and their habitats in the Silver State. If you would like to volunteer and take a nighttime cruise of the loop, contact the Nevada Department of Wildlife. They offer several volunteer opportunities.