Mammals among the Joshua Trees

I have always been fascinated by the Dr. Seuss-like Joshua Trees (actually a type of yucca!) of the Mojave Desert. Their twisting and contorting magnifies after they die and burn, curling up like enormous spiders writhing on the desert floor. The Mormon pioneers who named them must have been in dire straits emotionally to see something uplifting in their haunting forms.

After a burn in a Joshua tree forest in southern Nevada (2007)

Last week I spent four days camping in Joshua Tree National Park. I didn’t bring a tent, despite the bright full moon. I often get questions about whether I worry about the wildlife around me without a tent, so I brought my infrared game cameras (Bushnell Trophy Cams) along to see who visited our campsite while I lay blissfully unaware nearby. One was set up facing a sandy patch baited with oats in hopes of finding kangaroo rats, and the other above our picnic table to see who shared our dinner tastes!

Here’s who showed up to the party:


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