Crest Canyon Critters

The iNaturalist website reports that 282 living species have been documented by the organization’s observers as being at home in what they call Crest Canyon Park, but referred to as Crest Canyon Open Space by the City of San Diego. Among the dwellers are fungi and lichens, insects, scorpions, butterflies, the Pacific Velvet Ant, snakes, lizards such as the Orange Throated Whiptale, many kinds of wonderfully named and colored birds, some of whom use the territory, a flyway, as a migratory rest spot, and plants including the Red Bush Monkeyflower and the San Diego Silverback fern. Those last two, though their names do refer to animals, cannot be counted as such in the animal category. Each species in the animal category is further subdivided. Only the cottontail rabbit is listed under the mammal category because in order to quality for this list the animal must have been observed for documentation. Since many animals are nocturnal or sly enough to avoid detection, others likely living locally, in alphabet order: badgers, bats, bobcats, coyotes, ground squirrels, maybe even mule deer. 


While walking about the recently reopened portion of the Crest Canyon Park trail you may have first hand observations or encounters underfoot or overhead with many of the species. So perhaps will Crest Road residents from the rim above the park—some happy and some not. These animals in the wild are noted to be moving toward and living near cities because of loss of wilderness habitat due to the drought, new construction and/or wildfires. Sightings of bobcats and coyotes within the canyon, usually at dawn or dusk, keeps owners of small pets on alert. 


You can look up your findings and further identify them at, an active website that is an association between the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. The site offers links to extended information on the specific species that may catch your attention. The organization also invites you to contribute information and photos of species you see to be added to their existing compiled list.

Photo: Julie Maxey-Allison