To this day I am amazed by some of the animals I encounter when I am out hiking. We have so man unexpected residents popping up at the most unexpected times. West Clear Creek has a tremendous variety of wildlife. You never know what you might see.
The coyote is an aloof animal that prefers to be left alone.
They do show up in neighborhoods and cities frequently as they can adapt nearly anywhere and manage to stay out of human sight. There are even coyotes in places like New York City and they are still often able to go unnoticed. They live in dens in washes and other sheltered areas. They are not likely to cause trouble unless you get too close to where the pups are. Also it is a good idea to keep dogs on leashes when walking near coyote habitat.
The desert bighorn sheep is a gentle , strong, beautiful animal. They like to hang out on the slopes of the canyon at West Clear Creek. The males have large spiral shaped horns while the females and the young might have smaller curved horns. I once walked right up on two female desert bighorn while at West Clear Creek. I pulled my camera out very slowly and took a very crummy picture. They didn't seem to concerned even though I was quite close. I just kept going and let them be. They are one of the coolest things to see in AZ.
Javelina or peccary look similar to a pig but they are from the Americas and pigs are from Eurasia. They are in the same order but not the same family. They are social omnivores, eating everything from Prickly Pear Cactus to trash. They can be quite bold and com into a campsite to steal some food if they think they can get it
During the rainy season you might be lucky enough to spot a gila monster. The spend a lot of time underground. They aren't very quick to attack though they have a nasty venomous bite. Gila monsters are actually the only venomous lizard in the United States. They are recognizable by their black and orange, yellowish, or peach pattern. They also have a very fat tail. They are about a foot to two feet, but don't get too worried about giant venomous lizards attacking because they are known for being sluggish and lethargic and are not likely to bite unless provoked.
It's best to steer clear if you see either of these locals. The black rattlesnake lives in areas with dead trees and wood piles formed by flash floods. They are sometimes called Timber Rattlesnakes because they live in the woods at higher elevations. They are not the only rattlesnakes in the area, but they are harder to see, and they don't always rattle. So it's always best to be on the lookout for snakes, especially during the warm times of day.
These are most likely on the ridges where there are fewer rocks and trees. There are slight differences between the diamondback and its more leathal cousin the mojave.
The only surefire way to tell the difference is to look at the scales between their eyes, and who wants to do that. The mohave has only a couple large flat scales between the eyes,
the diamondback has smaller between the eye scales.In certain areas the mohave has a green tint, but not always. Good Luck!
The only animal some people dread more than the rattlesnake is this cute little guy. The skunk is immediately recognizable by just about anyone, and no one wants to get to close. They live along the creek and are often spotted near the trails at West Clear Creek.