National Wildlife Refuge
|9300 E. 28th Street
Yuma, AZ 85365
Phone Number: 928-783-7861
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Continued . . . Numerous mammal species can be found in the vast desert environment of Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. A drive over the long rough roads on the refuge can give the impression that the desert is devoid of animal life, but a closer examination reveals numerous burrows between scattered bushes, among rocks, and even on the open plains. The burrows are home to ground squirrels, pocket mice, and kangaroo rats. The familiar woodrat makes its home by piling sticks and cactus joints that are scattered beneath bushes and in rock clefts and caves throughout the refuge.
Desert mammals have adapted their lives to the extreme temperature and low humidity of their environment. Water conservation is an absolute necessity in their activities. The majority of mammals living in the desert are nocturnal, foraging only at night when the relative humidity is higher and moisture loss from their bodies is kept to a minimum. Most of the desert mammals, especially the smaller ones, have adapted to survive with little water and receive needed moisture from plant material. During hot summer days, bighorn sheep lay in the shade of mountain caves. Large-eared mule deer forage along desert washes at night and rest during midday in the shade of desert trees and overhanging banks.
Bats, the only true flying mammals, find caves, crevices, and mine tunnels ideal places to gather during the day. Most bats in this area are nocturnal and are rarely seen in the daylight. In the dim, flickering light of the campfire, bats may be seen flying through the night air catching their meal of insects.
The refuge supports several amphibians and reptiles within its boundaries. The desert tortoise is one of the longest living creatures in the United States. Other reptiles and amphibians include the following: banded sand snake; western banded gecko; western shovel-nosed snake; zebra-tailed lizard; collared lizard; desert horned lizard; desert night lizard; chuckwalla; desert iguana; desert spiny lizard; Couch's spadefoot; Great Plains toad; Colorado river toad; and the red-spotted toad.
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