8 Iconic Animals That Roam The American Southwest


Ground-dwelling and renowned for its swiftness, the roadrunner may run up to 20 mph in order to elude predators or capture prey.

Gila Monster

One of the few poisonous lizards in North America is the Gila monster, distinguished by its thick, bead-like scales that are colored in shades of black, orange, or pink.

Javelina or Collared Peccary

Javelinas are gregarious creatures that live in herds, which can contain up to 50 members.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

With cloven hooves that offer better traction on rocky and steep terrain, desert bighorn sheep are well-suited to the rough landscape of the Southwest's mountains.

Prairie Dog

Because of the environments they generate for many other species through their burrowing activity, prairie dogs are regarded as keystone species, contributing to biodiversity.


With their characteristic rattle that serves as a warning to potential predators, rattlesnakes are widely associated with the Southwest.

Mexican Gray Wolf

The smallest subspecies of the gray wolf found in North America, the Mexican gray wolf, is a symbol of Southwest conservation efforts.


In the Southwest, tarantulas are well-known for their enormous size and hairy bodies; their intimidating appearance frequently inspires dread.