Arizona is an interesting place to live. With our gorgeous sunsets, towering saguaros, red rocks, dark skies, sweltering heat and general desert vibe (sorry, northern Arizona), this state has a unique character that is often a source of pride for its residents.

Here are some of the most Arizona things we saw this year.

Rattlesnakes, rattlesnakes everywhere

The thing about living in the desert is, you have to watch out for snakes.

Buckeye firefighters warned residents to check their pool noodles after a rattlesnake popped out of a family’s pool noodle that had been up against their cinderblock wall. Fortunately, the snake did not attack. Apparently, rattlesnakes have been reported laying their eggs inside pool noodles left outdoors near bushes or block fences.

Another rattler was found stuck in a sprinkler cover, and the Phoenix Herpetological Society had to step in to save it. It took 20 minutes of careful work, but the rattlesnake was eventually freed from the sprinkler cover and released.

And then in April, one Valley resident filmed a legendary dustup in the desert that answered the question: Who would win in a fight, a rattlesnake or a bobcat?

Creating art with 116-degree heat 

We all know how hot it can get in Phoenix during the summer. One of the hottest days peaked at 116 degrees in July. While excessive heat can be miserable, we managed to have a little fun with it.

We glued crayons to a canvas, set them up outside of Studio 12A in downtown Phoenix and let Mother Nature paint. The result was a colorful cascade of wax.

So yeah, let's do that again. 

So. Much. Dust.

The monsoon brings rain, lightning, gusting winds and a heck of a lot of blowing dust.

In June, we got a doozy of a dust storm that made national headlines. A wall of dust about a mile high rolled through Phoenix and beyond. 

According to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, the dust storm traveled “clear across the Sonoran Desert,” making it about 200 miles before dissipating.

Javelina squadrons invade yards

In Arizona, it’s not just rowdy teenagers going after your Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Squadrons of javelinas rove around areas like Cave Creek, looking to satisfy their fall pumpkin spice cravings (yep, a group of javelina is called a squadron).

Some folks are more amused than angry about the vandalism though, like this resident who filmed these javelinas having a little party in her yard. 

Just remember not to approach them. They're pretty cute, but they are wild animals, after all. 

Scorpion infestations

When the weather heats up, the scorpions come out. Armed with a black light, one Mesa mom ended up finding dozens of the intimidating critters in and around her apartment this scorpion season.

Scorpions can't climb smooth surfaces, so she collected them in a fishbowl. That way, they couldn't escape, and she didn't have to start the hunt all over again. 

To decorate or not to decorate saguaros on your property

During the holiday season in the Valley, you usually see a cactus or two strung with lights or wearing a Santa hat.

But one type of cactus in particular—our iconic saguaro—is protected by state law, like many other native Arizona plants. So, is decorating a saguaro considered vandalism? It depends on where the cactus stands.