By day, the hot sands of Southern California's Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area are inhabited mostly by human visitors, who take advantage of the region's wide open spaces to ride all-terrain vehicles.
But by night, the desert comes alive with a diverse collection of animals, as revealed by a hidden motion-activated camera recently set up by park officials.
"What we were able to do was take those over 600 pics, stitch them together into a time lapse and put three days in just two minutes," park official Jeff Price told CBS 8.
The camera was positioned near a tiny watering hole, according to the station, a welcome and essential respite for the furry and feathered residents of the massive Ocotillo Wells state Vehicular Recreation Area, outside San Diego.
"The big players out here are of course the coyotes," park official Kevin Ponce told the station. The coyotes are followed by badgers, foxes, rabbits and even a road runner or two.
Officials said they set up the camera to raise awareness of all the life that's out in the desert they would normally not be able to see. "It's not just a deserted wasteland," Price noted. "A lot of life thrives."
Ocotillo Wells has made protecting its sensitive habitats a priority, according to the California State Parks website. Important areas known as mesquite dune habitats "occur sporadically" in the park, the site notes, and many natural springs are also fenced off by officials.
But the region has also faced criticism from environmentalists frustrated with human intrusions. Earlier this year, a pair of desert environmental groups filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court in an effort to curtail the freedoms enjoyed by the park's off-roading visitors, according to U-T San Diego.