Wildlife takes selfies at Cave Creek Regional Park

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A bobcat stops at the watering hole at Cave Creek Regional Park (Source: Maricopa County) A bobcat stops at the watering hole at Cave Creek Regional Park (Source: Maricopa County)
A family of mule deer stop to take a drink at a watering hole at Cave Creek Regional Park. (Source: Maricopa County) A family of mule deer stop to take a drink at a watering hole at Cave Creek Regional Park. (Source: Maricopa County)
A mule deer 'takes a selfie' with a game camera at Cave Creek Regional Park. (Source: Maricopa County) A mule deer 'takes a selfie' with a game camera at Cave Creek Regional Park. (Source: Maricopa County)
A mule spots Piccolo, the resident desert tortoise at Cave Creek Regional Park. (Source: Maricopa County) A mule spots Piccolo, the resident desert tortoise at Cave Creek Regional Park. (Source: Maricopa County)
CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

When a ranger at Cave Creek Regional Park set up a game camera to capture activity near a watering hole, the surrounding wildlife took advantage by taking selfies.

Ranger Mark Paulat set up the camera because he started noticing that the water in the habitat of their resident desert tortoise, Piccolo, was at lower levels than normal.

Piccolo is a bachelor, so Paulat assumed the tortoise was hosting some guests and set up the game camera.

After reviewing the footage, he noticed that an array of desert wildlife was frequenting the Piccolo’s water basin.

“I quickly learned that Piccolo had been doing quite a bit of entertaining,” Paulat said.

Since then, Paulat has kept the camera up and skims the ‘water cooler’ footage daily. He finds the best clips and posts them to the park’s Facebook page.

The clips range from about eight seconds to 35 seconds long and feature all kinds of desert wildlife.

“Over the years, we’ve seen mule deer, coyotes, javelinas, bobcats, gray fox, a bevy of birds and rabbits, Sonoran Desert Toads and Great Horned owls stop by to quench their thirst,” Paulat said.

Some of the animals are skittish, watching for predators as they stop to take a drink. Others are more curious, and walk right up to the camera for a selfie.

“The only thing predictable is the unpredictability. You just don’t know what you’re going to see from one recording to the next,” Paulat said.

Most of the animals Piccolo hosts seem to know it’s his habitat and show him some respect when he’s around. Although, it could also be because if they get too close, he sometimes bites their feet.

Visitors to the park don’t have to worry about getting their feet bitten by Piccolo, but they can see him and many other wildlife when they go.

Cave Creek Regional Park is located at 37900 E. Cave Creek Parkway, just off of 32nd Street and Carefree Highway and is open 365 days a year.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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