Animal life at Petrified Forest includes amphibians, birds, insects, spiders, mammals, and reptiles. Birds, lizards and rabbits are seen most frequently, though seasons and weather play a large role in determining what animals are active.

For many animals, activity occurs during a particular temperature range. Crepuscular animals are active at dawn and dusk, the coolest times of day. The half-darkness makes prey animals less visible, yet visibility is good enough to locate food.

Activity can change with the season, too. Snakes and lizards are diurnal (active during the day) in late spring and early fall, but they become crepuscular during the heat of summer.

Many animals in the park are nocturnal (active at night). This is an adaptation not only to avoid high summer daytime temperatures, but also to avoid certain predators.

You are much more likely to see animal life in the park if you come as early as park hours allow and stay as late as allowed. These are also the times when the angle of the sun makes the views and colors of the Painted Desert most spectacular.

Whenever you are in a national park, do not approach, feed, or harass any wildlife. Help your parks reduce the impact of human visitors to the homeland of many wild species.

Bobcat in a tree

Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates with hair, feed their young milk, and have a large, complex brain.

Two ravens in a tree

Birds are warm-blooded vertebrates (vertebrates have backbones) and are the only animals with feathers.

Collared lizard on petrified wood

Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates. They have dry skin covered with scales or bony plates. They lay leathery eggs or give live birth.

Tiger salamander

Amphibians are cold-blooded vertebrates that don’t have scales. They live part of their lives in water and part on land.

Tarantula walking on the road

Invertebrates have no backbone.


Last updated: June 15, 2023

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Mailing Address:

Petrified Forest National Park
P.O. Box 2217

Petrified Forest, AZ 86028-2217


928 524-6228

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