About 50 species of mammals are known to live in and around Tuzigoot National Monument. Some animals, like desert cottontails, ground squirrels, and mule deer, are common and may be seen by a majority of visitors. However, many desert animals are inactive during daylight hours or wary of humans, so sightings can be truly special events. Tracks and scat are the most common signs of an animals presence. Tuzigoots' hot climate and dry ridges seem to favor small mammals. Because of their size, these animals are less able to migrate, but have an easier time finding shelter and require less food and water to live. Rodents are numerous: there are 10 species of rats and mice alone. Larger mammals, like elk, mule deer, and mountain lions, must cover more territory in order to find food and water, and sometime migrate to nearby mountains during summer. In Arizona, around 80% of a mountain lions' diet consists of mule deer, so these animals are never far apart. However, unlike mule deer and elk, mountain lion sightings are very rare.
Did You Know?
Tuzigoot National Monument serves as the official weather station for Cottonwood, Arizona. Rangers keep track of the high and low temperatures as well as rainfall.