Death Valley National Park Fish

amargosa pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis amargosa

Found in the Amargosa River northwest of Saratoga Springs.

saratoga pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis nevadensis

Found at Saratoga Springs at the south end of Death Valley.

devil's hole pupfish Cyprinodon diabolis

(an endangered species)

Found in Devil's Hole 37 miles east of Furnace Creek, in western Nevada.

salt creek pupfish Cyprinodon salinus salinus

Found in Salt Creek in the central part of Death Valley.

cottonball marsh pupfish Cyprinodon salinus milleri

(a threatened species)

Found in Cottonball Marsh on the west side of central Death Valley.

western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis

(an introduced species)

Introduced into Furnace Creek irrigation ditches and ponds.


Death Valley National Park covers over 3 million acres of western desert terrain. The habitat varies from saltpan below sea level to the sub-alpine conditions found on the summit of Telescope Peak, which rises to 11,049 feet. Vegetation zones include creosote bush, desert holly, and mesquite at the lower elevations and sage up through shadscale, blackbrush, Joshua tree, pinyon-juniper, to limber pine and bristlecone pine woodlands. Annual precipitation varies from 1.90 inches below sea level to over 15 inches in the higher mountains that surround the valley. The saltpan is devoid of vegetation, and the rest of the valley floor and lower slopes have sparse cover, yet where water is available, an abundance of vegetation is usually present.

These zones and the adjacent desert support a variety of wildlife species, including 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, three species of amphibians, and five species and one subspecies of native fishes (Hansen 1972 and 1973; Landye 1973). Small mammals are more numerous than large mammals, such as desert bighorn, coyote, bobcat, mountain lion, and mule deer. Mule deer are present in the pinyon/juniper associations of the Grapevine, Cottonwood, and Panamint Mountains.


desert tortoise Gopherus agassizii

(A threatened species)

Found in the flats and surrounding foothills from 1500 to 3500 feet; lives in burrows.

desert banded gecko Coleonyx variegatus variegatus

Nocturnal; around springs and well watered places; valley floor to 3500 feet.

desert iguana Dipsosaurus dorsalis

In and around mesquite hummocks and other similar locations with fine sandy soil; in low canyons and washes up to 3000 feet.

chuckwalla Sauromalus obesus

Areas of large rocks and boulders on alluvial fans and in canyons; throughout Death Valley up to 5000 feet; Towne Pass, Dante's View road, Titus Canyon.

zebra-tailed lizard Callisaurus draconoides

Sandy and gravelly areas near dunes and in washes; common on roads in morning in spring , summer, and fall.

mojave fringe-toed lizard Uma scoparia

Found in the Ibex Dunes in Death Valley, this lizard is restricted to sandy habitats with fine to very fine grained sand. The fringe-toed lizard has specially adapted fringes on its toes that allow it to run across sand at speeds up to 10 miles per hour. This lizard can also swim underneath soft sand to find cooler temperatures.

collared lizard Crotaphytus bicinctores

Among rocks in hilly areas and washes, on slopes; from 1000 to 5000 feet.

leopard lizard Gambelia wislizenii

Valley floor to 3600 feet on alluvial fans, in canyons and washes with scattered vegetation.

desert spiny lizard Sceloporus magister magister

Rocky slopes and canyons from 3500 to 7000 feet around vegetation.

great basin fence lizard Sceloporus occidentalis biseriatus

Rocky areas over wide elevation range; rock outcrops, canyons, near springs.

sagebrush lizard Sceloporus graciosus

From sagebrush through pinyon-juniper up to 10,500 feet.

desert side-blotched lizard Uta stansburiana

Throughout Death Valley below 5000 feet in gravelly and rocky areas. Active on warm days all year.

western brush lizard Urosaurus graciosus graciosus

Low desert in and around creosote bush and mesquite.

southern desert horned lizard Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum

Sandy, gravelly areas; low desert to over 5000 feet.

desert night lizard Xantusia vigilis vigilis

In and near Joshua trees; under debris; near Dantes View, over 9000 feet in Panamint Mountains.

western skink Eumeces skiltonianus skiltonianus

Moist areas with good cover in pinyon-juniper.

western red-tailed skink Eumeces gilberti rubricaudatus

Found in isolated populations in Hanaupah and Johnson Canyons in the Panamints.

great basin whiptail Cnemidophorus tigris tigris

Dry sandy area with sparse vegetation; rocky areas of upper washes; meaquite thickets and vegetated areas of Greenwater Valley and Harrisburg Flats.

panamint alligator lizard Elgaria panamintina

Panamint and Grapevine Mountains above 3500 feet.

western blind snake Lepotyphlops humilis

Nocturnal; under rocks, among roots on brush covered slopes; from below sea level to 4000 feet.

rosy boa Lichanura trivigata

Low foothills and canyons below 4500 feet; in sandy and gravelly habitats.

western leaf-nosed snakePhyllorhyncus decurtatus perkinsi

Nocturnal; sandy and gravelly soil; rocky foothills.

coachwhip (red racer) Masticophis flagellum piceus

Sandy mesquite hummocks; gravelly desert; rocky foothills.

striped whipsnake Masticophis taeniatus

Willow Creek in Black Mountains; Hunter Spring in Cottonwood Mountains.

desert patch-nosed snake Salvadora hexalepis hexalepis

Rocky and sandy areas from lower slopes and washes up to Towne Pass

desert glossy snake Arizona elegans eburnata

Nocturnal; in sandy or gravelly areas.

great basin gopher snake Pituophis melanoleucus deserticola

From rock-strewn desert foothills into mountains.

california king snake Lampropeltis getuls californiae

Panamint Mountains from Emigrant Canyon to Wildrose; Daylight Pass.

western long-nosed snake Rhinocheilus lecontei lecontei

Nocturnal; Aguereberry Point, Towne Pass, Daylight Pass.

western ground snake Sonora semiannulata

Sandy or fine gravel to over 4000 feet; Wildrose Canyon, Greenwater, Daylight Pass.

mojave shovel-nosed snake Chionactus occipitalis occipitalis

Sandy areas in the southern half of Death Valley; frequents dunes, washes, sandy flats, and rocky hillsides where there are sandy gullies.

nevada shovel-nosed snake Chionactus occipitalis talpina

Sandy areas in the northern half of Death Valley; frequents dunes, washes, sandy flats, and rocky hillsides where there are sandy gullies.

utah black-headed snake Tantilla planiceps utahensis

Nocturnal; Panamint Mountains.

california lyre snake Trimorphodont biscutatus vandenburghi

Rocky areas; sea level to over 4000 feet.

desert night snake Hypsiglene torquata

Many habitats from below sealevel to over 5000 feet.

panamint rattlesnake Crotalus mitchelli stephensi

Below sealevel to over 7000 feet, usually in foothills and mountains.

mojave desert sidewinder Crotalus cerastes cerastes

Nocturnal; mesquite hummocks; from below sea level to 4500 feet.

mojave rattlesnake Crotalus scutulatus

Chiefly inhabits upland desert and mountain slopes but ranges from sea level to 8,000 feet. Considered rare in Death Valley and restricted to the southern half of the park.


desert shrew Notiosorex crawfordi

Found in sagebrush; sometimes in masses of vegetation at the base of desert plants.

fringed myotis Myotis thysanodes

Roosts in caves, mines, and buildings;juniper forests and desert shrub.

california myotis Myotis californicus

Roosts in caves, mine tunnels and buildings.

small-footed myotis Myotis subulatus

Roosts in caves, mine tunnels and rock crevices.

silver-haired bat Lasionycteris noctivagans

Found around water in forested areas.

western pipistrelle Pipistrellus hesperus

Roosts in rock crevices and caves near watercourses.

western big-eared bat Plecotus townsendii

Found in abandoned mine tunnels and shafts from 3000 to 6000 feet.

hoary bat Lasiurus cinereus

Roosts in trees; found around well watered areas.

pallid bat Antrozous pallidus

Roosts in crevices and caves.

brazilian free-tailed bat Tadarida brasiliensis

Roosts in caves, crevices, and buildings.

mountain cottontail Sylvilagus nuttalli

Surrounding mountains.

desert cottontail Sylvilagus audobonii

Mesquite thickets on valley floor.

black-tailed jackrabbit Lepus californicus Near valley floor and in mountains.

panamint chipmunk Eutamius panamintinus

Pinyon-juniper belt of Panamint and Grapevine Mountains.

whitetail antelope squirrel Ammospermophilus leucurus

Mesquite hummocks of valley floor to over 6000 feet in mountains; common along roadsides.

california ground squirrel Citellus beecheyi

Hunter Mountain area of Cottonwood Mountains.

roundtail ground squirrel Citellus tereticaudus

Low desert; mesquite thickets near Furnace Creek; common along roadsides.

mojave ground squirrel Citellus mohavensis

Inhabits gentle slopes in Wingate Wash area.

panamint pocket gopher Thomymus umbrinus scapterus

Panamint and Grapevine Mountains.

pygmy pocket gopher Thomymus umbrinus oreocus

Higher elevations in surrounding mountains;up to 10,000 feet on Telescope Peak.

great basin pocket mouse Perognathus parvus

Grapevine Mountains.

little pocket mouse Perognathus longimembris

Sage habitat at Harrisburg Flat.

long-tailed pocket mouse Perognathus formosus mohavensis

Grapevine Mountains.

desert pocket mouse Perognathus penicillatus

Mesquite Flat.

chisel-toothed kangaroo rat Dipodomys microps

Harrisburg Flat in dry, sandy soil with sparse vegetation.

panamint kangaroo rat Dipodomys panamintinus

Northern Panamint Mountains between 6000 and 7000 feet.

merriam kangaroo rat Dipodomys merriami

Dry, sandy soil on the valley floor.

desert kangaroo rat Dipodomys deserti

Dry locations on valley, especially around mesquite.

western harvest mouse Reithrodontomys megalotis

Well watered areas; Salt Creek, Furnace Creek, Hanaupah Canyon, Wildrose.

cactus mouse Peromyscus eremicus

Higher elevations in Grapevine and Cottonwood Mountains.

deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatis

Valley floor and mountains.

canyon mouse Peromyscus crinitus

Mountains and rocky canyons.

brush mouse Peromyscus boylii

Northern Panamint Mountains.

pinon mouse Peromyscus truei

Rocky areas in pinyon-juniper belt.

southern grasshopper mouse Onychomys torridus

Throughout Death Vally below 5500 feet.

desert woodrat Neotoma lepida

From salt marshes into surrounding mountains.

bushy-tailed woodrat Neotoma cinerea

Pinyon-juniper area of northern Panamint Mountains.

house mouse Mus musculus

In and around human dwellings.

porcupine Erethizon dorsatum

Grapevine, Panamint, and Cottonwood Mountains.

coyote Canis latrans

From salt flats into mountains; common around mesquite thickets.

kit fox Vulpes velox

Nocturnal; common throughout most of Death Valley; Sand Dunes and Furnace Creek.

gray fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus

East side of Grapevine Mountains.

ringtail Bassariscus astutus

Nocturnal; rocky terrain in arid brush and tree areas.

badger Taxidea taxus

Low desert into mountains; Daylight Pass.

spotted skunk Spilogale putorius

Mountains surrounding Death Valley.

mountain lion Felis concolor

Surrounding mountains.

bobcat Lynx rufus

From sea level into mountains.

burro Equus assinus

(An introduced species)

Introduced in the 1880's; Panamint, Cottonwood, and Grapevine Mountains.

horse Equus caballus

(An introduced species)

Introduced; Hunter Mountain, Cottonwood Basin, Pinto Peak, Grapevine Mountains.

mule deer Odocoileus hemionus

Along eastern and western boundaries of the park in Panamint, Cottonwood, and Grapevine Mountains.

desert bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis nelsoni

Throughout Death Valley at all elevations; inaccessible ridges and canyons, usually near water.


inyo mountains slender salamander Batrachoseps campi

Rare; found in riparian areas in the Inyo Mountains

red spotted toad Bufo punctatus

Common at Furnace Creek; also found in water areas in Johnson, Hanaupah, and Emigrant Canyons

western toad Bufo boreas

(an introduced species)

Introduced in the middle portion of this century to the Furnace Creek area, where it is locally abundant.

pacific treefrog Hyla regilla

Water areas throughout Death Valley: Scotty's Castle, Furnace Creek, Saratoga Springs,and at springs in Johnson and Hanaupah Canyons.

bullfrog Rana catesbeiana

(An introduced species)

Introduced around 1920 at Furnace Creek.

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