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 seen frequently by visitors and staff.
Many other desert animals are inactive during daylight hours or are wary of humans, so sightings can be truly special events. Tracks and scat are the most common signs of these animals' presence. Smaller mammals like rodents, rabbits, and javelina are more common in hot and dry areas like the ridge that the Tuzigoot pueblo is built on; because of their small size, these animals are less able to migrate, but have an easier time finding food, water, and shelter in hot areas. Larger animals like deer or mountain lions are more commonly found in shaded areas, like the banks of the Verde River. They are more able to migrate in search of food and shelter, and often move up into the nearby mountains during the heat of the summer in search of water, food, or relief from the heat.
Mountain lion sightings are very rare in Arizona. They have been documented on the property at Tuzigoot, and lions are never far from places where deer and elk are seen, because in this part of the country nearly 80% of a mountain lion's diet consists of deer!