Although the Sonoran Desert can seem foreboding, it is home to many animal species. These animals have adapted to the desert’s high temperatures and scarce water supply. Many species simply avoid the hot daytime temperatures by being active only at night or by seeking shelter in shaded nests or burrows. Others have features that allow them to stay cool - the jackrabbit’s large ears allow heat to radiate away from its body, and vultures actually urinate on themselves to dissipate heat!
Saguaro National Park contains a great variety of unusual animals, some of which can only be found in southern Arizona. Roadrunners, horned lizards, Gila monsters, kangaroo rats, and collared peccaries are all seen regularly by visitors. Although Saguaro NP lies on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, Mica Mountain in the Rincon Mountain District reaches more than 8600’ in height. This altitude allows for cooler temperatures and pine trees, as well as mammals such as black bears and white-tailed deer. The park is also home to species more commonly associated with the tropics, such as coati. Precious, often hidden desert waters contain aquatic leopard frogs and mud turtles.
Last updated: April 10, 2021