A list of some of our Nevada State Symbols | NevadaAppeal.com

A list of some of our Nevada State Symbols

Don Quilici

According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), with our 2007 Nevada Day celebration spanning Oct. 25-28, we might want to celebrate all things unique to Nevada. A good place to start is with some of Nevada’s state symbols:

1. The mountain bluebird is the state bird.

The male that exhibits a bright blue color, while the female is brown and blue.

The mountain bluebird is a member of the thrush family, has a clear warbling song and lives at high elevations.

Sometimes this bird is called the “bluebird of happiness,” after a children’s story written in the early 1900’s.

2. Nevada’s state reptile is the hard-shelled desert tortoise, the best known federally protected species in the state.

The tortoise is native to the Mojave Desert and brumates through the winter months before showing up again after leaving its burrow in early spring.

This animal eats cactus and other desert vegetation, as well as soil to glean minerals. Tortoises conserve water in their bodies and are in danger if they expel it when startled. In the wild, desert tortoises can live to be 100 years old.

3. With its heavy, curved horns, the desert bighorn sheep, Nevada’s state animal) makes a stately silhouette against the sky and is easily recognized.

Though best known as tools of battle during the mating season, its horns also circulate and cool the animal’s blood during the heat of summer.

Desert, chaparral, and alpine vegetation comprise their diet. They are expert mountain climbers and usually travel in herds.

Hunting of this big game species is highly regulated.

4. Although Nevada is the driest state in the union, it has a state fish, the Lahontan cutthroat trout.

This large species of trout is found in many alpine streams and lakes throughout the state, as well as lowland waters where the alkali content prevents other trout species from living.

It is the only trout that occurs in Walker Lake.

The fish is named for an orange to red marking at the throat.

5. Nevada’s state fossil is the Ichthyosaur Ð a marine reptile, or “fish lizard” from the dinosaur age.

These fossils were found in 1928 at Berlin and Nevada is the only state to possess a complete skeleton of this animal.

The Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park was named for this fossil.

6. The state artifact is the tule duck Ð a Native American canvasback decoy, crafted of bullrush, or “tule” stems.

Eleven of these artifacts were found in 1924 at Lovelock Cave.

The decoys were made by the Paiute tribe and are approximately 2000 years old.

For information, call the Nevada Department of Wildlife at 6888-1500 during regular business hours.