North American Desert
The Living Desert features animals and plants that thrive in deserts from all around the world, including all four deserts of North America. One of the first stops on a tour through the park is the Small Animals exhibit, located on the Entrance Patio. This exhibit showcases small desert animals, many active mainly at night. Due to the extreme daytime temperatures that occur May through October, bats, scorpions, screech owls, mice, lizards and snakes all seek the coolness of the evening temperatures to hunt for food. This exhibit provides guests with an opportunity to see these elusive critters up close.
Along the pathways in North America, you will encounter many birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, eagles and vultures. Mammals such as coyotes, badgers, wolves, mountain lions and bobcats may be seen as you approach Eagle Canyon. Also located in North America is Bighorn Mountain with the rare desert bighorn, and nearby are the endangered Peninsular pronghorn.
Many birds are active during the day, including quail, doves, cactus wrens, orioles, finches and roadrunners. In fact, most of these animals live wild and free in our beautiful gardens. Insects and lizards abound and you might even spot a chuckwalla, our desert’s largest lizard, sunning on the rocks before venturing off to lunch on yellow flower blossoms.
The botanical gardens in this area represent the great diversity of flora found throughout the North American deserts. Stroll through our Yucca Garden to find the Sonoran Tree Beargrass (Nolina Metapensis), native to Sonora and Chihuahua Mexico. You may even find its stalk beginning to peak through long blue green grass-like leaves. Or visit The Living Desert’s colorful Sage Garden. This garden is host to more than 35 different Lamiaceae species and there is always something in bloom; just ask the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees that visit!
Come enjoy the beauty and wonder of the North American deserts and feel at home with these incredible plants and animals.