Spending the past six months in the desert of Arizona has been an incredible experience for me. One of the highlights of my time here has been the opportunity to see so many incredible animals up close and personal. From the smallest lizards to the most majestic hawks, each creature has its own unique way of surviving and thriving in this harsh environment.
Coyotes seemed to be the most prominent animal, seen during the day or night. I’ve spotted them on numerous occasions, either trotting across the open desert or simply scratching an itch in the middle of the road. They were frequently heard calling and howling in the night, and were one of many reasons we never allowed our dog more than 5 feet from us at all times.
However, my personal favorite has to be the kit fox. I had the chance to see one up close when I was sitting outside late one evening. I was startled when it crept up on me, not expecting to see a cute, inquisitive fox. These agile and curious creatures are a delight to watch as they hunt for prey and interact with their environment. I caught the following trail cam footage the first night of using the trail cam, and as a fox adorer, this is my favourite footage so far.
Another of my most exciting finds was a glimpse of a badger walking through my trail cam. These elusive creatures are seldom seen by humans, but their underground homes, or burrows, can be found throughout the desert landscape. They are skilled hunters, and their powerful claws allow them to dig quickly through the hard desert soil in search of prey.
The ravens and black hawks are also common sights in the desert sky. These birds of prey are experts at hunting and are often seen circling above, scanning the landscape for their next meal. Their aerial acrobatics are truly awe-inspiring, and watching them hunt is a sight to behold. Just remember to keep an eye on your pets when they’re about, too!
On the other end of the size spectrum, the quail, mice, and rabbits scurry about the desert floor, trying to stay out of harm’s way. Their speed and agility are their only defense against the many predators that call this place home. The quail were especially interesting and fun to watch; enough so that I wrote a blog just about them.
I was lucky enough to witness a roadrunner crossing a road one day. These iconic birds are famous for their incredible speed and agility. They have a distinctive appearance and are easily recognizable by their long legs and distinctive head crest. It was truly a treat to see one up close.
And then there was the tarantula. I came across one walking seemingly forever, and I couldn’t help but watch it for a bit. These giant spiders are not dangerous to humans, and they play an important role in the desert ecosystem by controlling the insect population. I have many photos and videos of the tarantula we saw, but decided not to post them here for those with arachnophobia (myself included)!
Finally, the hummingbirds are a true joy to watch as they dart around, flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar. Their bright colors and delicate features are a stark contrast to the harsh and unforgiving desert landscape. I only managed to see a few this year, with no photos, but will definitely have to capture some pictures and videos of them next year.
The wildlife in the Arizona desert is truly incredible, and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness it up close. Each animal has its own unique way of surviving in this harsh environment, and watching them interact with their surroundings is a humbling reminder of the power and beauty of nature.