Arizona Animals

Arizona Animals

The diversity in the climatic conditions of Arizona gets reflected in its varied wildlife. This article presents a short account of the Arizona animals.
The Arizona wildlife exhibits a great variety, and many different animal species including mammals, reptiles, birds, etc., are found in this state. The state of Arizona is characterized by geographical features such as deserts, pine forests, and mountainous regions. Naturally, the animals that are found here are of a great variety. A few of the native animals of Arizona are discussed in the following paragraphs.

Arizona Elk
The second-largest animals in the deer family, the bulls (males) weigh between 600 and 800 pounds. Cows (females) weigh around 450-600 lbs. These animals can reach a speed of 40 miles/hr. Elks can also run long distances at a consistent speed of 30 miles/hr. Their lifespan is 14-16 yr. Elks can also swim, and their jump can go up to a height of 10 feet. Their diet includes foliage and grasses, while their predators are coyotes and mountain lions. The casting of antlers in adult elks takes place in the period between January and March. For the younger ones/sub-adults, this period is between March and May. The Arizona elks are known to prefer forested lands with a high altitude (7000-10,000 feet). During the winter season, they migrate to areas of lower altitude. The Mogollon Rim, White Mountains, and Kaibab forest are the areas where these elks are mostly found. Areas in which herds of elks are found include the Payson, Williams, Flagstaff, Overgaard, Heber, Pinetop Lakeside, Show, etc.

Black Bear
The only kind of bear found in the state of Arizona, the black bear males weigh between 115 and 600 lbs; the weight of the female bears ranges from 90 to 400 lbs. They can reach a height (or length) of 7 feet. These are shy creatures and prefer to live a solitary life. The only type/form of group found in these bears is that of a mother accompanied by her cubs. Black bears primarily feed on berries, roots, cactus fruit, insects, etc. In few cases, they also prey on livestock animals. Their hibernation period starts in the month of November and extends up to March. The females reach adulthood and are able to reproduce by the age of 4. Weight of the newborn cubs is less than 1 pound; cubs in most cases are born in pairs. Black bears can survive both in forested and desert regions. Their territories can range from 5-50 sq. miles. Areas in Arizona where black bears are commonly found include the Mogollan Rim, White Mountains, and Phoenix.

Mountain Lions
Mountain lions are also referred to by names like puma and cougars. These animals exhibit the behavior of preying by ambush. They are the fourth-largest animals in the cat family; the first three being tigers, lions, and jaguars. Pumas have a height of 2.7 feet up to their shoulders; the body length is around 8 feet. Adult cougars weigh around 115-160 lbs. Their coat has a tawny shade. These carnivorous animals prey on different creatures including deer, antelopes, elks, wild horses, bighorn sheep, and other livestock animals. Cougars are agile creatures and they can jump up to heights of 18 feet; a horizontal leap of pumas can cover a distance of 40 feet. Their habitat is diverse and includes regions like Rimrock canyons, forests situated at high elevations, and mountainous deserts. Mountain lions live a solitary life and come together only at the time of mating. Their territory is not defined and it can be smaller or greater depending on the availability of prey.

Coyotes are animals which resemble dogs. These creatures are a bit smaller than wolves and larger in comparison to dogs. Coyotes can grow up to a height of 40 inches while their average weight is 50 lbs. These agile creatures can run at a speed of 40 miles/hr. They live in groups and hunting is carried out at night. Their territory is in the radius of 15 miles, with their den being at the center. Coyotes mainly feed on rabbits, voles, squirrels, and mice. Birds, snakes, lizards, and even larger animals like deer form their diet. Their gestation period lasts for about 60 days and the litter size ranges from 1 to 19. Coyotes are found in a variety of habitats including mountainous regions to forests.

Venomous Animals
The venomous Arizona animals can be categorized into the following categories - vertebrates and invertebrates. A brief list of these animals is given below.

Vertebrates: Snakes, lizards, and toads are the vertebrates found in Arizona. The rattlesnake is amongst the important types of Arizona snakes. It is also one of the most poisonous snakes found in the USA. The coral snake is not very poisonous and has a small size. It is not considered to be a threat to human beings. The rear-fanged snake, just like the coral snake, is small in size and produces mild venom. Toads have poisonous glands placed behind the eyes and on top of the head. Bufotenine is the neurotoxic venom produced by these toads. The venom produced by Gila monster lizards is used for the purpose of defense and in the process of digestion.

Invertebrates: Scorpions and spiders are amongst the important invertebrates from Arizona that produce venom. There are 56 scorpion species found in the Arizona state. Amongst all the species found in the USA, the bark scorpion (Centruroides exilicauda) is considered as the most toxic. Spiders are venomous and they use these toxins for preying on other invertebrates. Bees are known to use their venom for defense and for protecting the hive. Other venomous invertebrates found in Arizona are ants, wasps, blister beetles, conenose bugs, centipedes, and caterpillars.

List of Endangered Animals
Here is a list of animals from Arizona that are on the verge of extinction.

JaguarGrizzly Bear
Lesser Long-Nosed BatKanab Ambersnail
Yaqui CatfishGila Chub
Eskimo CurlewCalifornia Condor
Black-Footed FerretNorthern Aplomado Falcon
Chiricahua Leopard FrogSouthwestern Willow Flycatcher
Loach MinnowSinaloan Jaguarundi
Sonoran PronghornMexican Spotted Owl
OcelotYuma Clapper Rail
Desert PupfishSonora Tiger Salamander
SpikedaceBeautiful Shiner
Mount Graham Red SquirrelLittle Colorado Spinedace
Razorback SuckerApache Trout
Gila TopminnowGray Wolf

The different animals found in Arizona give us an idea of the diverse fauna of this state. There are a few Arizona animal species which have become endangered. It is very important to protect the remaining species from becoming extinct.