(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?
The eruption of Sunset Crater Volcano must have been a powerful event. It destroyed all plants within a 5-mile radius. A fountain of fire, 850 feet high, was visible for miles around. An ash cloud rose 2.5 miles into the sky, and falling ash covered about 64,000 acres.