Rabbilizard Up High
Most mesa mornings, you’ll find these basking bendy bunnies prone upon the promontories, soaking up the sun to sustain their slow metabolism. Here we see one that we have startled with our shutter-click; note the erect ears, staring gape, open mouth and slightly elevated tuft-tail.
These creatures are descendants of a long-past interspecies pairing between an obviously randy historic hare and the Paleolithic painted giant salamander. Countless centuries of carotene consumption have, however, rendered their originally gaily patterned hides a pale and uniform orange hue.
Lazy lizard lifestyle and rabid rabbit mating have combined over generations to produce teeming troops of these long fuzzy fellows. Rabbilizards can therefore be found in below-ground burrows throughout many areas of the American West and Southwest (they are particularly fond of snoozing vertically in abandoned fence-post holes), as well as in dryer sections of Europe, Africa, and Asia’s high plains.
Being cold-blooded, the Rabbilizard has neither the quickness nor alertness of its warm-blooded relatives we see in grove and garden. And, since a single Rabbilizard pelt can easily comprise a complete stole or scarf, it’s easy to see why the poor animals were hunted to near-extinction in the early 1900s. Recent conservation efforts have brought these Lagomorphic lizards back from the brink, however, and their slowly and sinuously rippling torsos now grace many zoos and animal parks around the globe.
Breeders have also introduced the Robust Rabbilizard, a giant sub-species capable of offering lazy roundabout rides to up to five or six toddlers at a time.