9 Fascinating Critters You Can Find at Cabrillo National Park

Skyline of San Diego in background behind statue of Cabrillo on Point Loma


Did you know that San Diego is one of the top 5 best large cities to live in?


For good reasons, too. With the number of fantastic restaurants, history, coffee, events, and more, there’s never a lack of fascinating things to do.


But today, we’re going to focus on a local favorite for adventurers: Cabrillo National Park.


Since its discovery in 1542 by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, this park has been a must-see destination. It’s full of culture, natural resources, and a slew of exciting wildlife.


Here are 9 remarkable creatures you might see when you make your visit!


1. Pacific Gray Whales


Every winter, the Pacific gray whales pass by the Western end of the Cabrillo National Monument. As they swim south to Baja, California, you can witness their migration.


These beauties are anywhere from 30-50 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons!


2. Trap Door Spider


There is one genus of trap door spider found here and only here.


Keep your eyes peeled for a small-to-medium-sized spider that not only burrows but creates a trap door out of its environmental resources.


3. Great Blue Herons


The eucalyptus woodlands on the East side are home to the most significant breeding rookery of great blue herons.


Look out for these, as well as their black-crowned night cousins.


4. The Canyon Bat


There are 11 bat species in all in Point Loma. And fascinatingly enough, two of them rank as the smallest and the largest in North America.


The Canyon Bat is the tiniest. Good luck catching sight of them!


5. The Western Mastiff Bat


And the largest, respectively, is the Western mastiff bat.


Catch sight of them around the fall, where they use the park as a migratory stopover.


6. Crawford’s Gray Shrew


This seldom-seen cutie is an insectivore. Upon seeing it, you may believe it’s related to a mouse — but these little gray babies are more closely related to the hedgehog.


Since the shrew is one of the smallest desert mammals — about 2 inches tip to tip — you’re not likely to spot one. But if you do, it’ll likely be closer to nighttime when they go hunting.


7. The Jerusalem Cricket


This frightening-looking cricket is harmless, so don’t be alarmed if you catch one on your sleeve! This large cricket lives under rocks and wood, so careful where you pick up your stones!


Their population is maintained by coyotes and foxes, which love their crunchy texture.


8. California Quail


Although Cabrillo National Park was named for Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, we argue that the California quail has a little influence in the title.


These birds make a distinctive call of “ca-BREE-oh, ca-BREE-oh, ca-BREE-oh” that rings through the landscape. It’s common to spot these guys during the springtime as they scramble around with their babies.


9. Red-Tailed Hawk


These birds of prey make Cabrillo National Park their home year-round, so the odds of spotting one are high.


These beauties are mostly pale from below, but their red tail is undeniable if you catch one sitting. Keep your eyes peeled for various shades of white and brown, accompanied by a massive wingspan.


Cabrillo National Park: A Voyage of Exploration


Point Loma, San Diego is rife with activity, fun, and adventure.


Whether you’re a current resident or a resident-to-be, Cabrillo National Park needs to be on your must-visit bucket list. This guide is nowhere near all-inclusive, as the park is home to a wealth of other birds, insects, snakes, and more.


In case you’re curious, here are 4 other fascinating perks of living in the area!