Wildlife Awareness
General information about desert wildlife at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center.

Desert Wildlife

What to do if you encounter wildlife on the Base

If the wildlife is non-threatening, do not disturb it.

If you encounter any type of threatening wildlife during business hours contact Environmental Affairs at (760) 830-5728 / 5719 / 5720. After business hours contact the Desk Sgt at (760) 830-6310.



  • Never feed coyotes. Feeding endangers everyone as it lures coyotes into neighborhoods.
  • Keep unattended pets indoors or in an enclosed run, especially at night. Don't assume a fence will keep a coyote out of your yard.
  • Don't run away or turn your back on a coyote.
  • Do not allow a coyote to get between you and your child or pet.
  • If you have a close encounter with a coyote, yell, clap your hands, blow a whistle, and try to make yourself appear larger.


Desert Tortoise

  • It is against the law to touch, harm, harass or collect a wild desert tortoise.
  • Stay at least 10 feet away from any tortoise and keep dogs leashed at all times.
  • Desert tortoises have been known to seek shelter under parked vehicles. If you park in the desert, look under your vehicle before you drive it.
  • Don't dump or litter; desert tortoises can get tangled in trash and it also attracts predators that feed on the tortoises, their eggs, and hatchlings.
  • If you see a tortoise in danger, slowly approach from the front, pick it up and take the animal about 100 feet and leave it in the shade. Do not carry the tortoise more than 18 inches above the ground and do not tilt or turn it over for any reason.


Giant Hairy Scorpion

  • Giant desert hairy scorpions look much more dangerous to humans than they actually are.
  • The scorpion is generally docile and will run from confrontation, but it will assume a defensive position and sting if it is cornered or provoked.
  • Stings should be treated like a bee sting. Wash thoroughly with soap and water to clean the wound and apply a cold pack to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Scorpions may enter homes under doors, through damaged window screening, and any cracks in the foundation while looking for water and shelter. 
  • If indoors, the scorpions may seek shelter during the day in shoes and folded clothes and blankets. Make sure to shake out any gear left outside overnight.



  • Tarantulas are nocturnal and come out during the cooler and darker hours.
  • Despite its reputation, this spider is docile, reclusive, and nearly harmless.
  • The tarantula is not poisonous to humans, but its bite can be painful if provoked.
  • The venom is usually no worse than a bee sting.
  • If you are bit, wash the site with soap and water to minimize the chance of infection, apply a cool compress to induce numbness and reduce swelling, and stay alert for symptoms of an infection or allergic reaction



  • Rattlesnakes may roam at any time of the day or night; if walking at night be sure to use a flashlight.
  • When walking through wild areas, wear over the ankle hiking boots, thick socks and loose fitting pants. Never go barefoot or wear sandals in the wild.
  • When hiking, stick to well-used trails if possible. Avoid tall grass, weeds, and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
  • Rattlesnakes will not attack, but if disturbed or cornered, they will defend themselves. Reasonable watchfulness should be sufficient to avoid snakebite.
  • About 25 percent of bites are "dry," meaning no venom was injected, but the bites still require medical attention.
  • If bitten by a rattlesnake the California Poison Control advises:
    1. Stay calm.
    2. Wash the bite area gently with soap and water.
    3. Remove watches, rings, etc. which may constrict swelling.
    4. Immobilize the affected area.
    5. Transport safely to the nearest medical facility.


Front Desk 760-830-6611
Housing Referral Specialist 760-830-1706
Jr Enlisted Housing Coordinator 760-830-1708
NCO Housing Coordinator 760-830-1707
SNCO / Officer Housing Coordinator 760-830-1709
Bldg. 1525 5th Street
0800-1600 Monday-Friday
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms