Desert Mammals

We often think of cacti and reptiles when we think of deserts, but  there are quite a few mammals found in deserts as well.

Some mammals found in deserts:

  • Jackrabbits
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Ringtails
  • Coatis
  • Skunks
  • Cougars
  • Bobcats
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Javelinas
  • Bats
  • Ground squirrels
  • Mice
  • Packrats
  • Rats


Pick a desert mammal and find out more about it. For example, is the mammal diurnal or nocturnal? Is it active all year around or does it hibernate for part of the year? What does it eat? What is its life cycle? 


(This ground squirrel is all puffed up on a cold morning.)

Does it have any special ways to conserve water in the desert?


What are these javelinas (also called collared peccaries) doing to keep cool?


Create a lapbook, poster, diorama, or report about your findings.

Resources to check:

1. The AZ-Sonora Desert Museum has an extensive list of fact sheets about desert bats as well as fact sheets about other desert animals and plants.

2. Pima Community College in Tucson has online facts about desert mammals

3. Arizona Naturalists has information about Sonora desert mammals

4. Tohono Chul Gardens has a number of desert related handouts on their website. Scroll down to “Fun and Smart Projects for Kids,” and look for links to the Desert Pathfinders Activity Booklet (this link takes you directly to the .pdf), Saguaros, etc.

© Roberta Gibson 2021