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Animals & Gardens

Explore Habitats and Encounter Our Majestic Animals.

addax

Addax

Species Name:Addax nasomaculatus

Heavily built with short legs and long spiraled horns on both sexes. Coat color is white in summer, darkening gradually in winter. On the forehead is a tuft of dense black…

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Family

Bovidae

Conservation status

Endangered

Range

Sahara desert.

Habitat

The sandy and stony regions of the Sahara Desert, particularly dune regions. They have adapted to life in hyper arid areas.

Highlights

To protect themselves from strong winds and the glaring sun during the day, addax dig ‘beds’ into the sand with their forefeet in which they rest, often in the shade of boulders or bushes.


Heavily built with short legs and long spiraled horns on both sexes. Coat color is white in summer, darkening gradually in winter. On the forehead is a tuft of dense black hair which resembles a toupe’. A band of white hair forms an “X” across the nose.

They are most active from dusk until dawn. Superbly adapted to desert conditions and can go most of their lives without drinking water. They get moisture from plants and the dew which collects on them during evening and early morning. Their light color helps to deflect heat from sun; their broad, flat hooves facilitate travel on desert sands. Daily variation in body temperature reduces the need for evaporative cooling, thus conserving water.

plants african ocotillo

African Ocotillo

Species Name:Alluaudia procera

Clusters of tiny white flowers are borne at the tip of the spine-covered stems on separate male and female plants.

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Family

Didiereaceae

Range

Southwest Madagascar

Habitat

Semi-arid spiny desert

Form

Stem succulent to 30 feet tall

Highlights

Clusters of tiny white flowers are borne at the tip of the spine-covered stems on separate male and female plants.


AFRICAN WILD DOG

African Painted Dog

Species Name:Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are pack animals. Females leave the pack when mature and males typically stay with their pack. Their unique coat patterns, specialize pack communication and teamwork have made them…

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Family

Canidae, the dog family.

Conservation status

Endangered.

Range

Southern Africa, East Africa, and scattered throughout the Sahel.

Habitat

Desert, grassland, savannah, and sometimes arid forests.

Highlights

African painted dogs’ large, round ears allow for excellent hearing that is vital to the pack hunt, but they also serve as radiators of heat in a hot climate.


African painted dogs are pack animals. Females leave the pack when mature and males typically stay with their pack.

Their unique coat patterns, specialize pack communication and teamwork have made them one of the most successful hunters in all of Africa, with a 70%-90% rate of success.

African painted dogs are threatened mainly by habitat loss, which has led to human-wildlife conflict. Painted dogs are also susceptible to diseases carried by domestic dogs, such as distemper and parvovirus. The Living Desert actively supports African painted dog conservation efforts through the Painted Dog Conservation organization.

american badger

American Badger

Species Name:Taxidea taxus

Badgers are large, from 25-30″ in length, and weigh from 15-25 lbs. Their fur is long and grayish, with a white dorsal stripe extending from nose to rump, black patches on…

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Family

Mustelidae. The weasel family.

Conservation status

Not endangered.

Range

From S.W. Canada into central Mexico and Baja, and east into Ohio.

Habitat

Dry, open country around rodent colonies.

Highlights

The badger is well known for its incredible ability to DIG!


Badgers are large, from 25-30″ in length, and weigh from 15-25 lbs. Their fur is long and grayish, with a white dorsal stripe extending from nose to rump, black patches on their face, a short tail and small rounded ears. Their claws are long and sharp.

Nocturnal, elusive and seldom-seen, the badger has several sleeping dens within its territory. These burrows give shelter to other wildlife but can be hazardous to livestock, and ranchers sometimes kill them for this reason. They are also killed by poison bait put out for coyotes and by eating poisoned rodents, even though they benefit man as rodent control.

They hunt mainly burrowing rodents but also other small animals and sometimes carrion. They have few predators. Badgers are fierce fighters, able to drive off an attacker many times their own size.

Badgers are solitary all year until mating season in late summer or early fall. 1-5 babies are born blind in a large dry-grass-lined burrow in spring. The young remain in the burrow for 5-6 weeks, leaving at the end of the summer. The father takes no part in raising them.

The badger’s period of winter inactivity (not true hibernation) coincides with that of the ground squirrel, its favorite food.

amur leopard

Amur Leopard

Species Name:Panthera pardus orientalis

The Amur leopard is the most northerly subspecies of the leopard species that occurs over most of Africa and southern Asia. It has a tawny-gold coat patterned with the distinctive black…

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Family

Felidae, the cat family.

Conservation status

Critically endangered, IUCN. One of the most endangered cats in the world.

Range

Northern Korea and northern China.

Habitat

Boreal forest.

Highlights

The Amur leopard is one of many species of animal that zoos are conserving through captive breeding.


The Amur leopard is the most northerly subspecies of the leopard species that occurs over most of Africa and southern Asia. It has a tawny-gold coat patterned with the distinctive black rosettes common in all leopards. The head, lower limbs and belly are covered with these solid black rosettes. Leopards eat just about any animal they can catch, including birds, hares, beetles, baboons or deer. Their principal predator is man, who hunts them for sport and their spotted pelts.

Leopards are solitary except during the mating season. Only females raise the young, litters of two to four cubs born after a gestation is approximately 96 days. Cubs remain with their mother for 18 to 24 months, when they become independent.

Hunting mainly at night, they stalk and ambush their prey by waiting in a tree until their quarry is within striking distance, then attack with a short burst of speed, grabbing their victim and strangling it. They are very strong and will often drag their kill up into a tree. This allows them to eat their meal at leisure, away from other large predators. Leopards have also been known to eat carrion.

arabian oryx

Arabian Oryx

Species Name:Oryx leucoryx

One of the grazing antelopes, this smallest oryx has a white body with black markings on the face and legs. Their horns, which measure up to 2 1/2 feet long, are…

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Family

Bovidae, the cow and gazelle family

Conservation status

Vulnerable, IUCN

Range

The Arabian and Sinai Peninsulas, parts of Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

Habitat

Stony or sandy deserts.

Highlights

They are often called the “unicorn of the desert”, because, when you look at them from the side, they appear to have only one horn.


One of the grazing antelopes, this smallest oryx has a white body with black markings on the face and legs. Their horns, which measure up to 2 1/2 feet long, are nearly straight and their hooves are splayed and shovel-like.

They eat whatever vegetation is available, feeding mainly at night when it is most succulent. They do not need to drink free water, getting their moisture from plants and occasionally digging hollows under rocks and bushes with horns and hooves for shade. Before becoming extinct in the wild, they were preyed upon by Striped Hyenas, Arabian Wolves, Lions, and Bedouins. Herds usually consist of 10 to 20 animals, with one dominant male mating with the females.

As true desert specialists, they survive through several adaptations, such as remaining in the shade during the daytime; excavating scrapes in shady ground and lying down to offload body heat to the cooler sand and reduce body surface exposed to drying winds. Their temperatures can rise to 113F without ill effects and no valuable water is wasted by sweating or panting. Oryx may travel 10 to 20 miles at night to new feeding areas.

garden

Baja California

Find yourself immersed in the unique landscape of Baja California when you step into this garden. Inside, you'll find yourself surrounded by the peninsula’s unique and sarcocaulescent plant species such as…

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Find yourself immersed in the unique landscape of Baja California when you step into this garden. Inside, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the peninsula’s unique and sarcocaulescent plant species such as the whimsical Boojum tree and the gnarled Baja elephant tree.

BAJA FAIRY DUSTER

Baja Fairy Duster

Species Name:Calliandra californica

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Family

Fabaceae, Pea Family

Range

Baja California, Mexico

Habitat

Gravelly flats, hillsides and desert washes

Form

Shrub

Highlights

Don’t confuse Baja Fairy Duster with Bottlebrush!


banded mongoose

Banded Mongoose

Species Name:Mungos mungo

Although dwarf and banded mongoose are cousins with similar traits, these African animals have unique characteristics all their own.

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Family

Herpestidae

Conservation status

Least Concern

Range

South of Sahara

Habitat

Grasslands, brush lands, woodlands and rocky country

Highlights

Although dwarf and banded mongoose are cousins with similar traits, these African animals have unique characteristics all their own.