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Sonora Desert

Sonora Desert

Step into another world! The Sonora Desert exhibit is a glass-domed building designed to recreate the arid, colorful desert of the North American southwest. Walk among free-flight birds, towering saguaros and watch the racing roadrunners. Look closely to find a desert lizard perched on a rock outcropping. Watch the stunning ocelot stretch after a catnap. Then enter the batcave! This nocturnal area features vampire and pallid bats, coatis, and cacomistles. 


This feline is well-known for its beautiful spotted fur. Ocelots are carnivores that eat small mammals, reptiles and birds. Although ocelots can climb they hunt on the ground by chasing prey. This small cat measures 40-55 inches from head to tail and typically weighs 20-40lbs. Like other cats, ocelots spend a great deal of time resting and sleeping.Roadrunner 

Greater Roadrunner

Both the real and the famous cartoon roadrunners are fast! Speed helps them escape danger, like coyotes, and catch food, like lizards and insects. But unlike the cartoons, real roadrunners go "coo, coo" not "beep, beep."

Desert TortiseDesert Tortoise

This tortoise is typically 9-14 inches in length. They have flat front feet that are used to dig burrows for protection. When undisturbed, they can live to be more than 100 years old. The desert tortoise is a herbivore that eats herbs, grasses and cacti. They obtain moisture from the vegetation they eat but they will drink water if it is available.

ChuckwallaIsla San Esteban Chuckwalla

This plump lizard can grow up to up to 18 inches long. When danger approaches, the chuckwalla hides in  rocky crevices. It gulps air and inflates its body, firmly wedging itself in place so it can’t be pulled out.


This is a relative of the cardinal found in North Carolina. Pyrrhuloxias (pir-oo-lox-e-as) provide valuable assistance to cotton farmers in the southwestern United States and central Mexico by eating large numbers of destructive cotton worms and weevils.