Needles Field Office

Watchable Wildlife



Deer: The Rocky Mountain Mule deer has its home in various northern mountain ranges within the NRA. They are not native but were transplanted many years ago from northeastern California. Another species, the burro deer, is found along the Colorado River. This small member of the deer family ranges westward into the desert when rains makes water and green feed available.

The Needles Resource Area (NRA) supports a wide variety of wildlife species, from the unique bird, the roadrunner, to the majestic desert bighorn sheep. As is true throughout the biological world, certain wildlife forms are endemic to specific life zones, although some species have the adaptability to inhabit a number of life zones with ease, e.g, the coyote. There is somewhat of a general division between species of wildlife found in the high and low deserts. The NRA has components of three deserts: the Colorado, the Eastern Mojave, and the Great Basin. The resource area also has the Sonoran Desert life zone interspersed within the Colorado Desert, in particularly the Whipple Mountains.

Mule deer

Printable Wildlife Brochure       Printable Bighorn Sheep Brochure        Printable Rattlesnake Brochure

BLM National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants Websit

Bonanza Spring Watchable Wildlife Area


Desert Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep: The subspecies which inhabits the NRA is the Nelson, or desert bighorn. It inhabits many of the mountain ranges throughout the area, and populations are stable. The California Department of Fish and Game and the Bureau of Land Management (Bureau) classifies the bighorn as a sensitive species. Special hunting permits are available for some populations.

Quail: Gamble's Quail is a widely spread game species throughout the NRA.

Chucker  Partridge






Dove on a tree limb


Gamble's Quail


Chukar Partridge: Introduced into California in 1932, this exotic game bird has rapidly filled an open niche within the desert ecology of southeastern California. It has continued to extend its range and increase its numbers over the years with apparently no conflict with other wildlife species.  This species inhabits the ruggedest mountain ranges, utilizing grasses and seeds where no other game bird exists. Its ability to range long distances from water sources is a very desirable characteristic where free water is a scarce commodity.

Doves: The mourning dove can be found in almost every vegetative type in California. The Needles Resource Area supports substantial numbers of these birds yearlong, but great concentrations occur during the winter months as they migrate south out of the colder climates. The mourning dove and white wing dove occur within the NRA.


Birds- nongame: The Needles Resource Area has many species of birds, from hawks and owls to small songbirds. The roadrunner is a unique and picturesque bird of our area.

Mojave Green Rattlesnake


Reptiles and Amphibians: Numerous species of small lizards are characteristic of the resource area. Additionally, various rattlesnakes inhabit the area, of which the sidewinder is unique. Other non-poisonous species of snakes are also present. The federally listed threatened Desert Tortoise is wide ranging within the NRA with most populations being stable. The horned lizard, better known as the horned toad, is another familiar species.


Desert Tortoise


Rabbits and hares: Blacktailed jackrabbits probably have the most widespread distribution in the NRA of all the mammals. This animal is capable of existing within the most arid and rugged areas imaginable, and therefore is an integral part of the resource area's landscape.  Cottontail rabbits are more specialized in their habitat requirements, but are generally scattered throughout the NRA in middle to high elevations.

Bobcat  Badger 

Kit fox

Bats: Many species of this misunderstood mammal occur within the Needles Resource Area. Among them are the California leaf-nosed bat, cave myotis, Townsend's big-eared bat, Western mastiff bat, and the pallid bat. Abandoned mines, trees, and deep rock crevices make ideal bat habitat within the NRA.


Learn more about bats

Blacktailed Jackrabbit                 Cottentail Rabbit feeding

Furbearers: The kit fox, coyote, badger, and bobcat are some of the more typical furbearers inhabiting the NRA. The interesting little kit fox is a protected species. Other furbearers include gray fox, spotted and striped skunks, racoon, and along the Colorado River, muskrat and beaver.

Rodents: A great variety of rodents exist within the Needles Resource Area. Ground squirrels of several species, and a chipmunk in certain higher areas, are probably the most noticeable since they can be seen during daylight hours. Many species are nocturnal to escape the high daytime temperatures. Large houses of woodrats are frequently seen. Other species include: pocket gopher, pocket mouse, kangaroo rat, grasshopper mouse, harvest mouse, and white-footed mouse.

Pallid Bat