Range Cattle

Range cattle can be found in many areas around Tucson. I once saw a herd of them galloping down the very busy South Houghton Road after they had breached the barbed wire fence along the roadway. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the cattle made it back safely into the desert.

One member of a herd of range cattle in Tucson

Sure signs of range cattle are barbed wire fencing and metal cattle guards (a depression in the road with metal bars laid horizontally across it that cattle are afraid to cross). Range cattle are most common in Southern Arizona's juniper and oak savannas with their rolling hills and abundance of grass. Cow ponds have been constructed in these areas to provide water for the cattle.

Cow pond on Bellota Ranch near Tucson, Arizona

Cattle are very hard on natural water sources because these big, heavy animals trample the surrounding vegetation, muddy the water, and pollute the area with their waste. Many natural riparian areas are surrounded with barbed wire to keep the cattle out.