You may cross paths with some of the following wildlife inhabiting Sabino Canyon during your visit and will most likely spot something of interest in your travels. Environmental adaptations of desert wildlife greatly enhance the odds for survival for many mammals. A good number of birds and animals found in Sabino Canyon can expertly camouflage themselves by blending into the landscape. A sharp eye is often rewarded with a glimpse of these unusual inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert.
Hamming It Up!
Meet Sabino Canyon’s own gregarious resident road runner, BigMac, who lives in the thicket of creosote bushes by Sabino Canyon Tours’ main departure point. He enjoys sending tram riders off with a swish of his tail feathers and has even been known to hop up on the ticket counter next to a surprised visitor! There’s no coyote sidekick here but plenty of road runner antics to keep tram riders amused.
Not Your Average Porky and Petunia
They’re called collared peccaries, or more commonly referred to as javelina. You’ll usually smell them before they come into view, since near the rear of a javelina’s back is a small organ that produces a musky odor. Javelina travel in herds, with each herd developing its own unique group scent. If you’re lucky, you’ll see a herd with several young javelina scooting along after mom and dad.
Big, Hairy and Scary?
You’ve seen them in movies, but witnessing a tarantula in its native habitat is a sight to behold. The large spiders are actually quite graceful in movement while ambling along the desert floor, but quickly scuttle out of sight when surprised. Tarantulas are nocturnal predators that typically stay close to their burrows until mating season and may have a life span of up to 20 years.
White Tail Deer
The name is deceptive, but the lightning-fast creatures are so-called for their big, mule-like ears. White tail deer are brownish-grey in color and possess a white rump patch with a small white tail which has a black tip. They tend to inhabit lower foothills and brushy canyon areas. The buck grows antlers and sheds them each spring, only to re-grow them during summer and fall.
Sssssso Many Snakes
Two different types of snakes reside within Sabino Canyon; those that have an affinity for water and those that like their surroundings dry. Aquatic species include garter snakes and checkered garter snakes. Non-aquatic species prefer areas such as dry, sandy washes (like the Western Shovelnose Snake and the Western Hognose Snake), rocky outcroppings (Lyre Snakes or Western Patchnose Snakes) or open creosote bush flats/desert scrub areas (Rattlesnakes). Bull snakes are very abundant as well as some racer snakes.