"Scenics - Old Highway 180 and Petrified Wood" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
Animals at Forest National Park (NP) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
Petrified Forest National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Petrified Forest National Park Arizona Common Animals Although Petrified Forest is best known for its fossil clues to an ancient environment, it is also a living Park. Despite its seemingly barren appearance, Petrified Forest National Park supports hundreds of animal species. In this often demanding environment, animals have adapted many behavioral and physical means of survival. For example, blacktailed jackrabbits very long ears are radiators, helping to cool the animal during the heat of summer. Other creatures only come out in the relative cool of morning and evening. Some animals migrate or hibernate to escape the cold of winter. Keep your eyes open and watch for signs of the many animal species, large and small, that make Petrified Forest their home. (Bird information is available in the park Bird Checklist.) Amphibians Couch’s spadefoot Reptiles Collared lizard Can you imagine living underground for nine months of the year and not eating, drinking, or defecating? An amazing group of animals do just that—amphibians. It’s hard to imagine that in this dry region animals that require consistent moisture could thrive. Permeable skin allows amphibians to live in Petrified Forest. Amphibians do not drink; instead, they absorb water through their skins. Spadefoot toads, residents of the park, absorb water from the soil in which they hibernate. Although permeable skin allows for water absorption, it provides little barrier to evaporation. This causes amphibians’ water balance to be in constant flux. Evaporative water loss also results in loss of body temperature. This is why you often see amphibians on warm pavement in the evening. It is not an easy life for amphibians in this dry grassland. Ambystoma tigrinum Tiger Salamander Anaxyrus (Bufo) cognatus Great Plains Toad Anaxyrus Bufo punctatus Red-spotted Toad Anaxyrus (Bufo) woodhousii Woodhouse’s Toad Scaphiopus couchii Couch’s Spadefoot Spea multiplicata Mexican Spadefoot (formerly Scaphiopus multiplicata) Spea bombifrons Plains Spadefoot Well adapted to the often dry environment of the region, reptiles play an important part in maintaining the health of the ecosystem. Over sixteen varieties of lizards and snakes make Petrified Forest their home. Reptiles occupy a variety of habitats ranging from grassland to rocky slopes. They consume large quantities of insects, spiders, scorpions, other reptiles and small mammals, thereby preventing infestations of any single species. Respecting the entire reptile community helps preserve this balance. Lizards Aspidoscelis pai Pai Striped Whiptail (formerly A. inornatus Little striped whiptail) Aspidoscelis neomexicana New Mexico Whiptail Aspidoscelis velox Plateau Striped Whiptail Crotaphytus collaris Eastern Collared Lizard Holbrookia maculata Lesser Earless Lizard Phrynosoma hernandesi Greater Short-horned Lizard (formerly P. douglasii Short-horned lizard) Sceloporus graciosus Sagebrush Lizard Sceloporus tristichus Plateau Lizard (formerly S. undulatus Eastern fence lizard) Uta stansburiana Common Side-blotched Lizard Snakes Arizona elegans Glossy Snake Crotalus viridis viridis Prairie (Hopi) rattlesnake Hypsiglena torquata Nightsnake Lampropeltis getula Common Kingsnake Lampropeltis triangulum Milksnake Masticophis taeniatus Striped Whipsnake Pituophis catenifer Gophersnake Thamnophis cyrtopsis Black-necked Gartersnake Tiger salamander Rattlesnake Mammals Coyote Pallid Bat White-tailed antelope ground squirrel Invertebrates White-lined sphinx moth Tarantula Pillbug Taking Care of Wildlife Mammals are a diverse group of animals, ranging from the delicate white-footed mouse to the elegant mule deer. Mammals have fur or hair, produce milk for their offspring, and are warm-blooded. To live in the often extreme climate of the plateau country, mammals utilize survival strategies such as hiding in their Canis latrans Urocyon cinereoargenteus Vulpes velox Lynx rufus (Felis rufus) Odocoileus hemionus Antilocapra americana Bassariscus astutus Procyon lotor Taxidea taxus Mephitis mephitis Spilogale gracilis Lepuscalifornicus Sylvilagus audubonii Notiosorex crawfordi Antrozous pallidus Corynorhinustownsendii Myotis californicus Myotis thysanodes Myotis yumanensis Pipistrellus hesperus Erethizon dorsatum Cynomysgunnisoni Ammospermophilus leucurus Spermophilusspilosoma Spermophilus variegatus Thomomys bottae Neotomaalbigula Neotoma cinerea Neotoma mexicana Neotoma stephensi Dipodomys ordii Perognathus flavus Onychomys leucogaster Peromyscus boylii Peromyscus crinitis Peromyscusleucopus Peromyscus maniculatus Peromyscus truei Reithrodontomys megalotis Mus musculus burrows or migration, as well as physiological adaptations, like hollow hairs for insulation. Many of the mammals found in Petrified Forest National Park are rodents, a principal prey for predators of the region. Early morning is the best time to view mammals while in the park. Coyote Gray fox Swift fox Bobcat Mule deer Pronghorn Ringtail Raccoon Badger Striped skunk Western spotted skunk Desert cottontail rabbit Black-tailed jackrabbit Desert cottontail Desert shrew Pallid bat Townsend’s big-eared bat California myotis Fringed myotis Yuma myotis Western pipistrelle Porcupine Gunnison’s prairie White-tailed antelope ground squirrel Spotted ground squirrel Rock squirrel American pronghorn Botta’s pocket gopher White-throated woodrat Bushy-tailed woodrat Mexican woodrat Stephens’ woodrat Ord’s kangaroo rat Silky pocket mouse Northern grasshopper mouse Brush mouse Canyon mouse White-footed mouse Deer mouse Pinon mouse Western harvest mouse Ord’s kangaroo rat House mouse Invertebrates include far more animals that can be listed here. Arthropods—one of the most diverse groups of creatures in the world— consist of such animals as spiders, crustaceans, and insects. Please remember that even these “bugs” have their place in the environment, often one of great importance. Invertebrates enrich the soil, decompose, and control pests. This is just a tiny sample of the many intertebrates in the park. Crustaceans Pillbug (Isopod) Insects Pepsis and Hemipepsis spp. Tarantula hawks Praying mantids (Order Mantodea) Bombus sonorous Bumblebee Dasymutilla spp. Velvet ant Ascalapha odorata Black witch moth Battus philenor Pipevine swallowtail butterfly Hyles lineata White-lined sphinx moth Vanessa cardui Painted lady butterfly Eleodes spp. Pinacate beetle Parabacillus spp. Stick Insect Myriapods Orthoporus ornatus Desert Millipede Scolopendra heros Giant desert centipede Scutigera coleoptrata House centipede Arachnids Aphonopelma spp. Tarantula Lycosa spp. Wolf spider Latrodectus hesperus Western black widow Centruroides exilicauda Arizona bark scorpion Hadrurus arizonensis Giant hairy scorpion Eremobates spp. Solpugid, windscorpions Millipede Only a fraction of animals found in the park are listed in this publication. Birds are not included here, having their own checklist. National parks create oases of protection for many species of animals. Do not approach, feed, or harass any wildlife in Petrified Forest or any other national park area. www.nps.gov/pefo EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA April 2013