Pile of sticks and debris at the base of a prickly pear cactus.
Although this may appear to be nothing more than a pile of sticks, this is the home of a desert pack rat, protecting it from harsh desert temperatures and predators.

NPS photo

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.

Looking for wildlife? Learn about the signs of life.


Information on amphibians and how they manage to survive in the desert.

Birds of Saguaro

General information on birds and access to the bird photo gallery.

Mammals in the Park

A variety of mammals can be found in the park, including once thought to be gone carnivores!

Reptiles in the Park

Information on snakes and lizards, including the popular gila monster!

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson, AZ 85730


520 733-5153

Contact Us