TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Tucson photographer Mario Martinez hits the trails nearly every day on the lookout for whatever wildlife present themselves on his journey.
"Growing up I never saw any animals," said Martinez. Nowadays, that's not the case. His friends dubbed him 'The Desert Whisperer' because he comes across all sorts of unique sights.
On one of his most recent adventures, he discovered a Gila monster and a rattlesnake together in a cave.
"Both of them were just ... cuddling," he said, as he described the two deadly creatures laying on top of one another. Martinez saw them like this for four days, but didn't feel a single ounce of fear when he saw them.
“I grew up being very afraid of any animals. Not only rattlesnakes but any animals,” he said. “Now it’s completely different.” “I’m still careful.”
His YouTube and Instagram are loaded with followers keeping tabs on his adventures.
He's been feet away from mountain lions and bobcats. A video he took of a rattlesnake hitching a ride on a desert tortoise went viral.
"A lot of people ask me why that happened. I think it was because the rattlesnake wanted to look bigger," Martinez explained.
In fact, he gets a lot of questions from thousands of curious people.
"I have seen many things that many people say how do you find these things? And I still don't have the answer for them," he said.
What he does know, though, is he certainly doesn't take each moment for granted.
"I feel very blessed actually," Martinez said. "I'm surprised that those animals allow me to get that close to them."
Martinez took KOLD out on a trek through the desert and pointed out a couple of owls he sees often on his hikes.
He's explored all parks around the Tucson area, and treats nature like he's her guest.
"I don't want to kill the animals. They didn't invite me to their house," he said. "They shouldn't be the ones dying because I decided to go visit them."
He's still aware of the danger he could face, but it's his own fearless nature that keeps him coming back for more.
"Those are the moments where you decide do I run, scream, and yell and throw rocks like you hear on the news," he asked. "Or do I just stay and take my video, throw my camera so people can see why I'm gone?"
Martinez has learned if he stays calm, the animals will too.
Martinez has been taking still photos and videos of wildlife since 2013 and said he is always practicing ways to get better.