Desert: The L.A. Mag Guide to Animals

Five critters that live in the desert

antelope-squirrelAntelope Squirrel  

Skimpy white tail, two white stripes down the back—it is one of the only small mammals active in the desert during the day.



cactus-wrenCactus Wren
About seven inches, with a spotted breast and tawny sides, the bird builds its bulky nest in taller cacti and other prickly plants.



kangaroo-ratKangaroo Rat  
There are 22 species of the nocturnal rodent, which is widespread in the state’s arid zones. Most hop on their hind legs.



red-racer-snakeRed Racer Snake  
Varying from gray and tan to pink, the reptile can grow to six feet. It’s the fastest in the California desert, too, and it bites. Enjoy!



side-splotched-lizardSide-Splotched Lizard  
One to six inches long, the ubiquitous lizard sports a large dark spot behind each front leg and small whitish spots all over.




Illustrations by Roger Hall