All visitors who aren’t members must buy a general admission ticket.

9am-7pm daily

Wildlife at Descanso

Descanso’s diversity of life

Urban life and wildlife converge

Descanso Gardens is a habitat for many living things: from heritage oaks to native gray squirrels, to the vast network of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil underfoot, to the birds that migrate through, to the people who make this place a part of their lives.

Descanso’s location, so close to an urban center, yet nestled in the foothills and connected to more “wild” areas, creates a prime opportunity to explore how humans and nature interact, coexist, and impact each other in the universal search for a place to call home.

Safety for all — wildlife and visitors

To create a safe habitat for wildlife, Descanso Gardens does not use pesticides or herbicides in the gardens. In turn, these creatures increase the health of the gardens by munching on pests, including insects and rodents.

Visitors love their chance encounters with wildlife. For your well-being, as well as the safety of wildlife, please:

  • Keep your distance from animals in the landscape. These are wild creatures, not tame pets.
  • Do not feed wildlife — and dispose of garbage responsibly. They thrive on the natural diet they forage for in the landscape. “People food” — including bread for ducks — is hard to digest.
  • Please do not release unwanted pets at Descanso Gardens. Some — such as red-ear slider turtles — are invasive species that threaten the native wildlife. Other pets do not have the wariness to evade predators such as coyotes. Contact your local animal shelter to re-home your pet.

Share your sightings

Share your sightings of Descanso Gardens wildlife! Upload your photos and recordings taken at Descanso Gardens to the Descanso Gardens Survey at iNaturalist.

Add your observation

Find the birds!

See if you can spot these birds at Descanso Gardens.

Download the checklist

Additional wildlife resources

Descanso Gardens resources

Animals at Descanso Gardens

Other local community science projects

Southern California Squirrel Survey
RASCals (Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern California)
SLIME (Snails and Slugs Living in Metropolitan Environments)
California Birds
Living in a Wildlife Corridor

Red-eared slider turtle

Red-eared slider turtle

California Sister butterfly

California sister butterfly

American bullfrog

American bullfrog

Western fence lizard

Western swallowtail butterfly

Mallard duck

Western honey bee

Western honey bee

California scrub jay

California scrub-jay

Allen's hummingbird

Allen’s hummingbird

Cottontail rabbit

Cottontail rabbit

California mule deer

California mule deer

Eastern fox squirrel

Eastern fox squirrel