Mammals of National Parks

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK 

There is a large variety of hairy life running around Grand Canyon National Park. In fact, some of them even fly through the air. Bats enjoy a rich habitat of dwelling locations in this cliffside paradise. There are 22 individual species to be found here. Other rodents include squirrels and mice. Visitors are asked to use caution around these land-based creatures that have frequently been known to bite while scavenging for food.

One of the more unique mammals in the park is the state mammal of Arizona: the ringtail. These animals are related to raccoons and have an almost primate style tail. They are intelligent scavengers that are extremely nocturnal, making them less encountered than many visitors would prefer.

Big-game animals can also be found here. Mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and even bison! Bison only occupy the North Rim area of Grand Canyon National Park. They are a hybrid between cattle and the natural species. These animals were introduced to the local wilderness in the early 20th century. All of the big game animals must be treated as potentially dangerous and should never be approached on foot.

Predator mammals help keep populations in check. Bobcats and coyotes pose no real threat to humans, but definitely keep smaller animals from outnumbering but the terrain can handle. It is very infrequent for a bear to be seen here, but mountain lions are common. Visitors are told to use caution when driving along the east rim because vehicle collisions with the big cats are not uncommon. Hikers should limit solo movement and pay attention to their surroundings.

 

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK 

Grizzly Bear

These are the largest of the predators found in Yellowstone National Park. Over 700 can be found in the Greater Yellowstone Area, with 150 or so living primarily in the park boundaries. Ranging over hundreds of miles, weighing between 200 and 700 pounds, and able to run up to 45 mph, these impressive animals are to be treated with the utmost respect and precautions should be taken so as not to accidentally invite them into your area.

 

Bison

North America's largest mammal, herds of these impressive beasts have been in Yellowstone since prehistoric times. Over 4500 individual animals reside within the park boundaries, and many more inhabit surrounding areas. Bulls can weigh as much as 2000 pounds and run as fast as 30 mph. Though they look like giant pets, they are to be treated with respect. Yellowstone bison injure ignorant tourists every year for venturing too close.

 

Gray Wolf

A true success story of reintroduction, the gray wolf was absent from Yellowstone for several decades during the 20th century. Human ignorance and poaching led to their removal, but the park was tabbed as a recovery site and today there are thriving packs. Standing over 2 1/2 feet tall at the shoulders, weighing up to 150 pounds, and working together for survival, these are magnificent predator. 99 resident wolves were counted in January 2016.

 

Elk

The most abundant big-game mammal in Yellowstone, exact numbers of the population are difficult to pin down. There are two primary herds that make up somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 individual animals. Winter ranges for most of them are outside the park which allows outdoorsmen to take advantage of robust hunting grounds outside the boundaries. Fully grown animals weigh between 500 and 700 pounds.

 

Rabbits

Multiple species of rabbit populate Yellowstone National Park. White-tailed Jackrabbit, Snowshoe Hare, and two varieties of cottontail are the most common. Alongside the other 50 small mammal species, these help provide food sources for the plethora of predators to be found within the park boundaries. Not to mention, they're just so darn cute to watch bounce by! Not even the smaller mammal species are to be approached. It is illegal to disturb any animal in Yellowstone National Park.

 

BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK 

High elevation meadows and canyon forests combine in Bryce Canyon National Park to create some of the best big-game habitat in the United States. 59 species of mammals can be found here, including highly sought after sporting and table fare. Everything that wanders through nature here is an integral part of the food chain.

The three species of chipmunks feed weasels and foxes. Though they are predators, weasels and foxes sometimes fall prey to coyotes. Coyotes are very adaptable predator that can live in the wildest of places as well as downtown metropolises. Wiley as these animals may be, mountain lions and black bears have been known to make meals of them. Hikers and campers are advised to take great caution, especially with their food storage, because Bryce Canyon National Park is bear country.

There are also majestic mammals to be viewed from a safe distance. Herds of elk cast striking images against the massive skyline. Mule deer and pronghorn also populate the amphitheaters and surrounding area. There is no shortage of game to view for those keep their eyes peeled.

 

ZION NATIONAL PARK 

Furry beasts of all shapes and sizes occupy Zion National Park. Nearly 70 species, from bats to deer to mountain lions to squirrels, have been identified in the 229 square-mile area protected by the National Parks Service. Keep an eye out during your visit and see how many you can spot.

Mule deer are some of the most frequently seen mammals around. They are able to keep cool through the day because their large ears carry so many blood vessels that they are able to dissipate heat quickly. This is especially important during the hot summer months.

One of the largest families of mammals in Zion National Park are the rodents. Porcupines and beavers do a number on the trees in the park, but not enough to damage the ecosystem, while pocket gophers and rock squirrels prefer a more terrestrial habitat. Many of these animals are most active after dark.

Predator mammals are also to be found here. Bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions rule the food chain where mammals are concerned. No attacks by mountain lions on humans or pets have been documented in Zion National Park, but caution is advised while hiking in the area.