High Desert Temperatures
Desert temps are over 100 degrees with extremely low humidity. Drink water before you hit the trails, and during your hike drink a quart of water per hour and some form of electrolytes to replace minerals your body needs. Wear a hat and sunscreen. More »
Fire Restrictions in effect for Saguaro National Park
Due to increased fire danger in southern Arizona, Saguaro National Park will implement fire restrictions in both the Rincon and Tucson Mountain Districts, beginning Wednesday, May 22, 2013. More »
Tucson Mountain District (west) road re-opened
The Golden Gate Road has been re-opened north of Sendero-Esperanza and is is now rated for high clearance vehicles due to the rough nature of the terrain. 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?
The saguaro cactus only grows naturally in the Sonoran Desert. There are approximately 1.6 million individual saguaro plants growing within Saguaro National Park.