Yes, We Have Deer (and Mountain Lions) in the Mojave Desert!

“Desert Muleys” as they’re often called, at home in the desert. Photograph Courtesy of CDFW

We are often asked if mountain lions, also known as pumas,  live in the Mojave Desert.

It is commonly believed that mountain lions cannot survive in a desert environment, because the primary diet of many mountain lions is deer.   While mountain lions do enjoy a diet of deer, and will require approximately one deer per week, they are opportunistic hunters, and are at the top of the food chain.  They will also hunt for, and eat bobcat, coyote, fox, skunk, feral hog, raccoon, squirrel, rabbit, and even  porcupine.  What we do know, is that wherever deer occur, so do mountain lions.

To answer the question regarding deer in our Mojave Desert?

Yes, even deer call our desert home.  We may not see them around our homes, but they’re out there, most often in remote areas.  Believe or not, deer are native to the higher elevations above our local region in Apple and Lucerne Valleys, as well as Phelan.

The following photos were graciously permitted for use by John Nelson.

These deer were photographed near the Whipple Mountains, in San Bernardino County.