Santa Barbara Island Closed Due to Storm Damage
Santa Barbara Island is currently closed to public access due to damage from the high surf associated with Hurricane Marie. More »
San Miguel Island Closure
In the interest of public safety, the U.S. Navy is closing San Miguel Island until further notice due to recent concerns of possible unexploded ordnance. More »
The number of different animal species found on the Channel Islands, defined as species diversity, is small compared to what would likely be found on a mainland area of similar size. The level of species diversity on islands reflects the challenges to a species of first arriving and then of adapting to unique island conditions. Consequently the ecology of islands is often simpler, but the relationships between species more important and the persisting plants and animals often more unique, than what might be found in mainland habitats. For example the islands within Channel Islands National Park support only four native mammals, the island fox, the island deer mouse, the harvest mouse and the spotted skunk. The fox and the deer mouse have evolved into separate sub-species on each island, resulting in eight unique mammal species found only on the Channel Islands.
Bats, though infrequently seen by most visitors, are common on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands. Bats fulfill an important role, or niche, by consuming large numbers of insects and pollinating some plants. Eleven species of bats have been found on Santa Cruz, and the island is home to an important maternity colony of rare Townsend's big-eared bats.
Did You Know?
Painted Cave on Santa Cruz Island is one of the world’s largest known sea caves. The cave measures 1215 feet in length (the size of more than four football fields), has a 160 foot entrance, and is almost 100 feet wide.