Watching The Wildlife In Arizona

Wildlife Watching In AZFolks love to watch the wildlife here in Arizona. It’s one of my favorite things to do, too, so I get it. And we’re blessed to live in a state that has such a diverse wildlife population. Whether you’re watching wildlife in the desert or up in Arizona’s high country, there’s plenty of different critters to track. Here’s just a small sampling of who you may run across if you get out away from town (and sometimes even in town!):

  • Arizona Badger
  • Bats
  • Bald Eagle
  • Bark Scorpions
  • Bear
  • Big-eared Bat
  • Bighorn Sheep
  • Bobcat
  • California Condor
  • Chiricahua Leopard Frog
  • Chuckwalla Lizard
  • Coral Snakes
  • Coyotes
  • Desert Tortoise
  • Fish – lot’s of different species
  • Gambel’s Quail
  • Gila Monster
  • Golden Eagle
  • Horned Toad
  • Jackrabbits
  • Jaguar
  • Javalina
  • Kit Fox
  • Mallard Ducks
  • Merriam’s Turkey
  • Mexican Free-Tailed Bats
  • Mountain Lion
  • Mule Deer
  • Prairie Dog
  • Porcupine
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Raccoons
  • Rattlesnake
  • Ringtail Cat
  • Roadrunner
  • Rocky Mountain Elk
  • Rodents
  • Sandhill Cranes
  • Skunks
  • Squirrels
  • Tarantulas
  • Western Banded Gecko
  • White Tailed Sheep

You can check some of these critters along with many others by visiting the state’s zoos and animal parks:

The cool thing about going to the zoos is that you can often get a lot closer to and learn more about these animals, which is cool. But there’s nothing quite like coming across actual wildlife living in their natural state either in Arizona’s vast desert areas or in the beautiful pine trees of the northern or eastern areas of the state. The key is to respect these animals and leave them as you found them. Virtually all animal bites occur when folks get too close to the animals or decide to handle or catch them. They obviously don’t understand and will feel threatened, so they’ll bite you, scratch you and do just about anything else they can to get away. The best way to watch wildlife is to keep a safe distance – far enough away so that the animal doesn’t feel threatened – and just watch them do what they do. A number of these creatures have dangerous and/or venomous bites and some, like the Rocky Mountain Elk, are much larger and stronger than humans and can really hurt you if you do get too close. Think about it this way: how would you feel if a skunk walked into your house and tried to catch you or started poking at you with a stick? You’d probably be a bit ticked off, right?

When spending time out in the wilderness, where there are virtually no people, your odds of seeing animals in their natural state get better. However, so does the odds of you having a problem, too. Depending on where you go, bears, rattlesnakes, corral snakes and mountain lions can pose a real danger. Luckily rattlesnakes will usually let you know when you’re getting too close, coral snakes have some bright, colored markings that may help you see them quicker and the bears and mountain lions really don’t want anything to do with you. So just be aware of what’s going on around you and be prepared. There are many resources out there where you can learn how to be safer in the wilderness and I recommend taking the time to explore them so you can really enjoy the wilderness and watching the wildlife in Arizona. And don’t poke at the bear!

I hope this article lends a few thoughts and resources that will help you and your family enjoy Arizona’s wildlife. As always: Happy Hunting!

John H. Goldshot
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