Tucson Mountain District Roads Closed Due to Flash Flooding
Several interior roads, including the scenic loop, are closed in Tucson Mountain District (west) due to severe storms and flash flooding on August 26th. Roads will remain closed until further notice. Check the park's facebook page for updated information More »
Wildlife Interactions with Saguaros
NPS PHOTO. Gila woodpecker
Saguaro cacti are host to a great variety of animals. The gilded flicker and Gila woodpecker excavate nest cavities inside the saguaro's pulpy flesh. When a woodpecker abandons a cavity, elf owls, screech owls, purple martins, finches and sparrows may move in.
Large birds, like the Harris's and red-tailed hawks, also use the saguaro for nesting and hunting platforms. Their stick nests are constructed among the arms of a large saguaro. In turn, ravens and great horned owls may take over an abandoned hawk nest.
Saguaro cacti also provide a valuable source of food for animals. In early summer saguaro flowers provide nectar and pollen for bats that in turn pollinate the flowers. The Mexican Long-tongued and the Lesser Long-nosed bats are the two species that pollinate the saguaro at Saguaro National Park. In mid-summer, ripening fruit provides moisture and an energy-rich food for birds, bats, mammals, reptiles and insects during a time of scarcity.
In drier areas of the SonoranDesert, pack rats, jackrabbits, mule deer and bighorn sheep will also eat the young saguaro's flesh when other water sources are not available.
Did You Know?
"Don't call ME pig!" Javelinas are able to eat spiny prickly pear pads with no obvious harm to their mouths, stomachs or intestinal tracts due to an enzyme in their saliva. Javelinas are not true pigs, they are peccaries, which are native to the Americas. True pigs are native to Europe and Asia. Wild pigs and boars are descended from true pigs brought over on boats to the new world.