Red Rock Canyon -
Carnivores are predators and chiefly eat meat, although some will consume plants. They will drink water when it
is available, but are not dependent on it since the moisture-rich flesh of their prey satisfies their water needs. This
group includes such well known members as the
kit fox, gray fox,
A member of the dog family, the coyote resembles its domestic cousins except that its nose is more pointed and its
tail is bushier. The coyote is a very vocal mammal, communicating through barks and howls. Its scientific name, Canis
latrans, literally means 'barking dog." In addition to being a predator, the coyote is an
(plant and animal eater)
varied diet allows the coyote to exist under the desert's harsh conditions and is one reason why
the coyote is now the most widespread mammal in the United States. It can be seen occasionally from the scenic loop drive.
The gray fox also has a varied diet, but not to the extent of the coyote. It hunts widely at night, subsisting on
birds, wild fruit, insects, amphibians and
small reptiles. It is an adept climber and
will often search for food or escape danger by climbing trees.
Weighing only five pounds, the kit fox is the smallest dog in the United States. It survives by being nocturnal and
sleeping in the shade of a tree or in its den during the hot part of the day. Its large ears and sharp sense of smell
help it to catch prey. Usually the kit fox seeks
kangaroo rats, but
birds and rabbits will also be
eaten. Watch for this elusive creature alongside the road as you drive through the desert at night.
The bobcat, the most abundant cat in the southwestern United States, also resides in the area. It spends most of
the day under bushes, usually in rock fractures or canyons. The bobcat has little endurance and stalks
than chasing it. It primarily eats rodents, but will take
rabbits, ground-nesting birds, and occasionally,
a young deer. Because of its
it is not often seen unless disturbed from its daytime resting place.