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TOP 21 Animals That Call Death Valley Home

Animals that call death valley home.

Despite its foreboding name and reputation for extreme heat, Death Valley National Park is home to a surprising array of wildlife. These animals have adapted to survive in one of the harshest environments on Earth, including extreme temperatures and limited water sources. Let’s find out which animals call Death Valley home, each uniquely adapted to this harsh ecosystem.

Bighorn Sheep

bighorn sheep
Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep. Image by UgputuLf via Depositphotos

The park’s largest mammal, adapted to rugged terrain, can go without water for days.


Howling Coyote standing on Rock with Saguaro Cacti
Howling Coyote standing on Rock with Saguaro Cacti By JayPierstorff via Depositphotos

Opportunistic feeders that can survive on a wide range of food sources.

Kit Fox

kit Fox
Kit Fox in Utah. Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Small nocturnal foxes that avoid the daytime heat by being active at night.

Desert Tortoise

desert tortoise
Large tortoise reptile walking on sandy ground through an arid desert landscape. Image by paulvinten via Depositphotos

A reptile that spends much of its life underground to escape the heat.


By Connor Long – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A large lizard that uses crevices to escape predators and the heat.

Gila Monster

gila monster
Gila Monster. Image by jessiegirl413 via Pixabay

One of the only venomous lizards in the U.S., spending 90% of its life underground.

Sidewinder Rattlesnake

sidewinder rattlesnake
Sidewinder – Crotalus cerastes, inconic venomous rattlesnake from desert regions of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Image via Depositphotos

A venomous snake known for its distinctive sidewinding movement and heat-sensing pits.


Roadrunner. Image by twildlife via depositphotos.

A bird capable of running at speeds up to 20 mph to catch prey or escape predators.

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle
Close up of the intense eyes of a Golden Eagle. Image by Craig Hughes via Unsplash

A large raptor that preys on mammals and birds, using thermal updrafts to soar.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine falcon.
Peregrine falcon. By Carlos Delgado – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The world’s fastest bird, known for its high-speed dives to catch other birds in flight.

Western Burrowing Owl

A burrowing owl outside of it burrow on a gravel road. Image via depositphotos.

Small ground-dwelling owls that utilize abandoned burrows for nesting.


A jackrabbit. Image via depositphotos.

Has large ears that help with thermoregulation, allowing it to survive extreme heat.

Kangaroo Rat

kangaroo rat
Image by California Department of Water Resources, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Nocturnal rodents that can survive without ever drinking water, getting moisture from their food.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

Desert bighorn sheep. Image via depositphotos.

Skilled climbers with specialized hooves for navigating steep, rocky terrain.

Black-tailed Jackrabbit

Wild black-tailed jackrabbit, also known as the American desert hare. Image via depositphotos.

Uses its long legs and ears to dissipate heat and listen for predators.

Mountain Lion

cougar kitten
cougar kitten. Image by Svehlik via Depositphotos

Top predator in Death Valley, preying on smaller mammals and birds.


Bobcat in a forest. Image Miller_Eszter via Pixabay

Smaller than mountain lions, but equally adaptable to desert and rocky environments.

Desert Cottontail

A Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) sitting in the sand in Arches National Park, Utah. Image via depositphotos.

A small rabbit that feeds at dawn and dusk to avoid daytime predators and heat.


Scorpion. Image by EcoPic via Depositphotos

Nocturnal arthropods that hunt insects and small vertebrates at night.


Tarantula. IMage via depositphotos.

Large, hairy spiders that prey on insects, small birds, and rodents.

Zebra-tailed Lizard

A Zebra-tailed Lizard in Mexico. Image via depositphotos.

Recognizable by its long, striped tail, which it uses to confuse predators.


Death valley. Image via depositphotos.

Each of these animals has developed unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in Death Valley’s extreme conditions, from avoiding the heat through nocturnal habits to conserving water with efficient metabolism and specialized physical traits. I hope you enjoyed reading about the animals that call death valley home. To read more like this, check out the articles below:

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