Joshua Tree National Park Wildlife of Joshua Tree

Although Joshua Tree appears to be a solitude and dead environment, this park is bursting with wildlife from various reptiles to birdlife.

Deserts are composed of plants and animals living together in what seems like an oppressive environment. Living and nonliving elements interact complexly, forming the desert ecosystem. Unlike most ecosystems, in which plants compete for space in the sun, the desert"s sparsity is created in part by too much solar energy.

Many animals derive their energy from plants, but desert plants give up the fruits of their production only reluctantly. Sharp spines and chemical-laden leaves complicate the lives of plant eaters.


Muted jackrabbit fur colors provide a motionless defense from the searching eyes of many predators.

Those predators include: coyote, bobcat and eagle.


This largest desert spider is not poisonous to humans but bites painfully if provoked. If feeds on insects, but may fall victim to the large, colorful tarantula hawk wasp. A tarantula may inhabit a burrow for years.

Golden Eagle

The rabbits and squirrels that evade the night hunters must till search the daytime skies for the silhouette of the golden eagle. Its keen eyes scan the landscape for the slightest motion as it soars from the mountain heights out over the valleys and desert floor. Its golden nape is visible only at close range. Its soft voice is rarely ever heard.


The desert"s most successful opportunist is the coyote. Its skill as a hunter, and its appetite for anything swallow-able, ensures this desert carnivore"s success. Its diet may include insects, lizards, snakes, birds, rodents, rabbits, carrion, fruit, nuts, grass, or young tortoises. Coyotes are renowned for howling, but they also bark playfully.


Stilting across the sand, this large black beetle freezes in a handstand pose at the slightest disturbance. Emission of a pungent odor repels predators. The pose is enough to stop those familiar with this scavenger.

Yucca Night Lizard

This lizard may live its entire life under the protective bark of a decaying Joshua Tree. ITs narrow body fits in small crevices where it feeds on ants and termites attracted by the host tree"s shelter from predators and climate.

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