Fledgling owl

Wildlife at Descanso

Descanso Gardens is home to a diverse group of creatures — mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds — which are drawn to this habitat for food, water and shelter. More than 100 species of birds have been spotted in the Gardens, as well as dozens of native bee species, squirrels, mule deer, bobcats – even the occasional bear.

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.

Caught on camera

Our wildlife cam in the Oak Woodland has captured images of coyotes, bobcats and more! Check out our YouTube page for more.

Get Involved

Share your sightings of Descanso Gardens wildlife!

Upload your photos and recordings taken at Descanso Gardens to the Descanso Gardens Survey at iNaturalist.



Find the birds!

See if you can spot these birds at Descanso Gardens.


Other local citizen science projects:

Southern California Squirrel Survey

RASCals (Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern California)

SLIME (Snails and Slugs Living in Metropolitan Environments)

California Birds