Bobcats are solitary predators that eat rabbits (2/3 of their diet), rats, mice, ground squirrels, young deer or pronghorn, raccoons, skunk, ground birds, reptiles, and other small mammals.  Their camouflage coloring and elusive retreats among rocks or brushy thickets help protect them from predators such as mountain lions, coyotes, and wolves.


Mule Deer - Named for their large ears, these  herbivores graze on leaves, twigs, acorns, berries, fruit, and grasses.

 They have a unique stiff legged bounding leap as high as 8 feet, which allows them to see predators and cover

distances of up to 8 yards.  They use their sharp hoofs as weapons and for digging up to 2 foot holes to find water.

American Elk  are members of the deer family.  In March the males lose and begin growing their antlers at a rate of 1 inch per day.  The largest antlers can be 4 feet long and weigh up to 40 pounds.  They are herbivores that eat grass, leaves, twigs, and some flowers.   They use their strong front hoofs to fight off predators such as wolves.

Prairie Dogs - Settlers called these rodents "dogs" because of the high-pitched sharp barking sounds they make.  They are very social animals that live in family groups called coteries.  These coteries make up wards (neighborhoods).  Several wards make up a "town."  They have a very complex "language" that can communicate what type of predator is approaching and if they need to  immediately dive into their burrows or can wait to see what will happen.  

Gray Fox - These are the only dogs that climb trees where they  can  spend the day sleeping 

 away from predators  such as coyotes, wolves,  mountain lions, and bobcats.  The males help

the females care for 1 to 7 (average of 4)  kits that are born in April through May.  

MAMMALS OF OUR ZOO

        Welcome from the
Friends of the Living Desert

This site is matained by the Friends of the Living Desert, a non-profit organization

that provides support for the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park.  

E-mail: friendsoflivingdesert@gmail.com

Phone: 575-887-5516.

Pictures may be used for educational purposes.  

Copyright © Friends of the Living Desert. All rights reserved.

Click on thumbnails for full size photo.

Our black bear, Maggie, enjoys roaming her exhibit, which includes her own pool for cooling off on hot days and a hammock.  To keep her from becoming bored, Maggie is given "enrichment" items such as egg cartons, pizza boxes, balls, etc.  Maggie also enjoys painting pictures with her paws.  Her paintings and book markers are for sale in the Visitor Center.

Black Bear

Our black bear, Maggie, enjoys roaming her exhibit, which includes her own pool for cooling off on hot days.  To keep her from becoming bored, Maggie is given "enrichment" items such as egg cartons, pizza boxes, balls, etc. to play with.   Maggie also paints pictures with her paws.  Her paintings and  bookmarkers are  for sale in the Visitors Center.

Mountain Lions (cougars, panthers) are solitary predators that kill their prey by stalking, leaping on their prey's back by the headand driving their teeth into the neck. They eat large prey such as elk, pronghorns, and mostly deer.  Smaller animals such as rabbits, raccoons, porcupines (including the quills), squirrels, javelinas, birds, bobcats, etc.   They have sharp, retractile claws for grasping prey.   

 Javalinas live in family  herds of 5 to 20 .  They do not see well, but they have an excellent sense of smell, which allows them  to find food and identify predators and other members of their herd.  They will clack their 2 inch long tusks together to warn each other of danger and defend themselves.  They are omnivores that eat some  insects, eggs, and occasionally small reptiles, but most of their diet consist of plants such as soto, lechaguilla, and agave.  Prickly pear pads and their fruit (tunas) make up about 1/2 of their diets.   

American Bison are often mistakenly called buffalo, an animal from Asia and Africa.  These huge herd animals  graze on grasses, sagebrush, and berries.  Their thick shaggy fur protects them from harsh winters then sheds in the spring.  They were once the "supermarket" of the plains Indians supplying them with food, clothing, shelter, fuel, etc., until millions were slaughtered by the westward influx of settlers.

Mexican Gray Wolves - Our Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Mexican Wolf Survival Plan (SSP).  These endangered wolves, nearly driven to extinction, are now making a slow comeback because of zoos and related facilities that are working together to save them.  They are the smallest of the gray wolves and are about the size of a German Shepard. 

Pronghorn have true horns made out of bone, but the outer sheaths (made of keratin) is shed each year after mating season and regrown by July.  They are the only animal to shed the outer part of their horns each year. They can sprint at 60 mph and keep up a speed of 30 mph for several miles.  No other land mammal can keep up with a pronghorn over a long distance.