Desert Wildlife

Because Tucson Estates backs up to Tucson Mountain Park, wildlife abounds in and around our community. Frequently seen are deer, javelina, rabbits, coyotes, and bobcats. Some have even seen an occasional mountain lion. Reptiles, lizards, snakes, and toads are also prevalent. The Sonoran Desert is not only home to many native species of birds including hawks, cactus wrens, quail, cardinals, roadrunners, and sparrows, but it sits along a migratory path of cranes, hummingbirds, raptors, etc. that is often busier than the Interstate. These animals, reptiles, and birds share our desert and we have all learned to live happily together!

But be careful, they are wild and can inflict injury to an unsuspecting human or pet.


The mournful cry of a single coyote turns into a yipping party of his friends and family. Coyotes exist in a highly flexible social organization, living either in nuclear families or in loosely-knit packs of unrelated individuals. Its diet consisting primarily of other animals so it is important to ensure your cats and small dogs are always protected.


This medium-sized, (3 – 4 foot, 50 pound) hoofed mammal has a strong resemblance to a pig with a snout and small eyes, but distinctive from a pig by its feet, teeth/tusks, diet, and musky smell. They are often seen in yards because their preferred foods consist of roots, grasses,seeds, fruit, and cacti—particularly prickly pear. They are very social and usually seen in small groups. They will charge if threatened so stay away.

Road runner:

Not only found in cartoons, road runners are fun to see running in the Sonoran desert. They are a fast-running (some clocked at 20 mph), slender, black-brown and white-streaked ground cuckoo with a long tail and distinctive head crest. Its diet normally consists of insects, small reptiles (including rattlesnakes), rodents and small mammals, spiders (including tarantulas), scorpions, centipedes, snails, small birds (and nestlings), eggs, and fruits and seeds like those from prickly pear cacti and sumacs.


Before visiting the Sonoran desert, make sure you know the characteristics of a rattlesnake. With a triangular head, thick dull body, diamond-type markings, and a rattle tail, it is often mistaken for a Bull or Gopher snake. Both snakes are critical in keeping the rodent population in check so they should not be killed. But stay clear; rattlesnakes can kill you or your pet. The Fire Department will respond to a snake call and remove it from your property.


Quailgenerally live on the ground. Although they are capable of short bursts of strong flight, quail prefer to walk and will only take off explosively as a last resort. The family is generally thought to be monogamous. Males have brighter plumage on the head than the females. Nest are constructed on the ground and the tiniest chicks leave the nests quickly, scurrying across the desert behind their parents in large family groups.