The native animal species found in the riparian habitat along Butte Creek are varied and important to the overall health of the environment. Explore the photos and some facts to help familiarize yourself with just some of the species found in the area.
Bobcats are generally seen alone, but groups may consist of mating pairs, siblings, or mothers with kittens. Bobcats are most active around sunset and sunrise, and it is not uncommon to find one napping under a shrub in a brushy backyard. Individual bobcats will defend a territory of one to 12 square miles.
Coyotes tend to travel and hunt alone or in pairs, but they can form groups where food is abundant. Coyotes are usually gray with a rusty color on neck and flanks, and black patches on base and tip of tail help distinguish from dogs. On average, coyotes weigh 20-30 pounds. They can run as fast as 40 miles per hour. Coyotes are omnivores and eat both plants and meat.
Javelina, or collared peccary,
have poor eyesight
and use vocalizations to communicate. They live in herds of up to 30 individuals.
With a broad diet, the collared peccary may feed on roots, fruits, seeds, insects and even small animals.
Arizona is home to 28 species of bats, more than almost any other state. Bats are the only true flying mammals and are valuable human allies. They are primary predators of vast numbers of insect pests, saving farmers and foresters billions of dollars annually and helping to control insect-spread human diseases.
Great horned owls are referred to as "the tiger of the sky" because of their keen hunting skills and ability to capture a wide variety of prey sometimes larger or heavier than the owls themselves. Great horned owls have bright yellow eyes and feathery ear tufts, with a wingspan of 4-5 feet.
Madrean alligator lizard has tiny legs, and is distinguished by armor-like scales and a fold in the skin that runs the length of the body, which may allow the relatively inflexible body to expand during breathing, after feeding, or when the female is carrying eggs. This lizard can grow to 5.5 inches.
Mountain lions are shy and elusive, so people do not often see them. Mountain lions are solitary animals with the exception of females with kittens or breeding pairs. Signs of mountain lion presence include large tracks (3-5 inches wide) without claw marks; large segmented, cylindrical droppings; food caches where a kill has been partially eaten and then covered with leaves, brush or dirt; and scrapes in soft dirt or leaf litter.
Signs of woodpecker presence include sounds, such as drumming, drilling and calls, plus holes in trees, cacti, utility poles and buildings. The drumming is a rhythmic pecking sequence used to make the birds’ presence known. It establishes territories and attracts or signals mates.
Peregrine falcons are formidable hunters that prey on other birds (and even bats) in mid-flight. Peregrines hunt from above and, after sighting their prey, drop into a steep, swift dive that can top 200 miles an hour. They grow to an average of 14-19 inches with wingspans of 3.3-3.6 feet.
The golden eagle is a large bird of prey that belongs to the hawk and eagle family. With broad, rounded wings, the colors of the eagle's feathers range from black-brown to dark brown. But it's the striking golden head and neck that give the bird its common name. Golden eagles can reach speeds of up to 120 miles (193 kilometers) per hour during a dive in play or after prey. The wingspan ranges from an average of approximately 6-7.5 feet.
Black bears are very opportunistic eaters. Most of their diet consists of grasses, roots, berries, and insects. They will also eat fish and mammals, including carrion. Solitary animals, black bears roam large territories, though they do not protect them from other bears. Black bears can grow to 5-6 feet tall and weigh 200-600 pounds.
North American porcupines are the second largest rodents in North America (after the beaver). Porcupines are mostly nocturnal. The quills are highly modified hairs that are stiff, thick, and barbed at the tip. Quills cover all parts of the body except the face, belly, inner thighs, and underside of tail.
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