Many species of hawks and other raptors can be found in the desert, along with owls, ravens, cactus wrens, cliff swallows, quail, wild turkey, roadrunners, turkey vultures and woodpeckers. Migratory birds such as sandhill cranes, hummingbirds, herons and egrets live in the desert part of each year.
Small mammals in the desert include rabbits (cottontail and jackrabbit), many types of rodents (gophers, packrats, mice, kangaroo rats, squirrels, chipmunks), bats, skunks, raccoons, armadillos, javelinas and peccaries, and porcupines. Larger herbivores like deer, bighorn sheep, elk, pronghorn antelope and wild horses and burros can also be found. Predators include kit fox, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, grey fox, black bear and wolves.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Common lizards in the southwest include chuckwalla, collared lizard, horned lizard, gecko and gila monster. Several species of snakes make their home in the desert, such as king snakes, coral snakes, gopher snakes and rattlesnakes. Desert tortoises and box turtles round out the reptile category, while a number of toads represent the amphibians.
Insects and Spiders
The desert has a multitude of insect species. Many kinds of ants, bees and beetles live here, as well as stinkbugs, walking sticks, ticks, termites, moths and butterflies, dragonflies, mosquitos, cicadas and praying mantises. Arachnids such as the brown recluse spider, wolf spider, black widow, tarantula and scorpion can also be found.
One type of animal you probably wouldn't expect to see in the desert is fish. But deserts in the southwest United States and northern Mexico are home to various species of desert pupfish, a tiny fish that is dormant much of the year and can tolerate extremes of temperature and salinity. Death Valley National Park, where this endangered animal is protected, boasts one of the largest desert pupfish populations.