Though Tuzigoot is small in size, many animals live here. Birds, small and large mammals, lizards, and rodents are seen most frequently, though seasons and weather play a large role in determining what animals are active. Desert animals have a variety of adaptations for dealing with the temperature and moisture stresses present in Tuzigoot. Most desert animals are nocturnal, being most active at night. This can be an adaptation to both predation and hot summer daytime temperatures. Mostly nocturnal animals include woodrats (also called packrats), pocket gophers, and many other small desert rodents, skunks, ringtails, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, bats, and owls. Animals that are most active at dawn and dusk are called "crepuscular". These times of day are cooler than midday. The half-dark makes it safer for prey animals because they are less visible, yet visibility is good enough to locate food. Some animals are crepuscular mostly because their prey is crepuscular. Crepuscular animals include elk, mule deer, coyotes, porcupines, black-tailed jackrabbits, and many songbirds. A few desert animals are primarily active during the day, or "diurnal". These include rock squirrels, chipmunks, lizards, snakes, hawks, and eagles. Many animals have a temperature range in which they are active, so their active times of day adjust to the season. Snakes and lizards, which go into a state of torpor during the winter, are active during the day during the winter, are active during the day during the late spring and early fall, and become crepuscular during the heat of the summer. Many insects also alter their times of activity, which in turn influences the activity of insect eaters.
Did You Know?
Both the fruits and pads of the prickly pear cactus can be eaten! Today you can buy them at some grocery stores, but the javelina who roam around Tuzigoot National Monument like to eat them right off the plant.