(Nathan Munson photo)
For many animals, this is a tough place to survive. Vegetation is sparse and surface water is practically nonexistent. The Bonito lava flow, which covers more than 25% of the monument, is extremely inhospitable. But the monument is surrounded by pine forests which provide foraging habitat for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, bobcat, and coyote, and are home to a variety of small mammals, including the Abert squirrel, cottontail rabbit, and porcupine. Some of these animals wander widely, sometimes into the cinders.
Did You Know?
Sunset Crater was nearly dynamited in 1929, to create a landslide for the Hollywood movie "Avalanche". Local citizens were outraged and lobbied for its protection. The result was establishment of Sunset Crater National Monument in 1930. "Volcano" was added to the name in 1990.