The Sonoran pronghorn is the fastest land mammal in North America and can run at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
At least 21 types of snakes call the refuge home, including 6 rattlesnake species. They are an important part of the desert community.
Exciting Night Life
When the sun sets and the desert cools, a host of refuge animals stir, including ringtail cats, pocket mice and 11 species of bats.
Light-colored fur helps mammals reflect heat rather than soak it in. The scales of lizards serve the same purpose.
Many desert animals burrow, including tortoise. They burrow down (sometimes up to many feet) to avoid the summer heat and winter cold.
Due to the success of recovery efforts, pronghorn numbers have increased to historic average numbers.
To protect the young Sonoran pronghorn, much of the refuge had been closed since
2003 during fawning season but the closure is now suspended. However, the Barry M. Goldwater West Range remains closed during the fawning season of March 15 - July 15. This closure effects the entrance and exit at the Tacna exit south of I-8. Visitors on the Cabeza Prieta can use the Christmas Pass Road but must turn back when reaching the north boundary of the wildlife refuge. During
About the NWRS
The National Wildlife Refuge System, within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, manages a national network of lands and waters set aside to conserve America’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
Learn more about the NWRS
Close to being lost forever, Sonoran pronghorn are making a comeback thanks to an active management program and captive-breeding program. Learn how the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are applying the best available science to ensure North America’s fastest land animal remains forever at home on the range.Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Brochure
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently prepared a report regarding off-highway use by the public on Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge.Off-highway Vehichle Report (pdf)
Feeding on the saguaro’s nectar and fruit, the endangered lesser long-nosed bat helps pollinate and spread the saguaro seed. The bats are able to reach deep into the cactus’ blossoms using their elongated, narrow snouts. Their hairy heads get covered with the pollen and as the bats fly from cactus to cactus, they transfer pollen to other saguaro blossoms – pollination occurs! For this and other reasons, lesser long-nosed bats play an extremely important role in maintaining healthy deserts.
Page Photo Credits All photos courtesy of USFWS unless otherwise noted., Lesser long-nosed bats / USFWS, Horned Lizard / Johnida Dockens ©, Pronghorn / Steve Hillebrand ©, Black-tailed Rattlesnake / Gary M Stoltz ©
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2015