Wildlife in Bryce Canyon National Park
One of the most exciting things about visiting Bryce Canyon is the fact that you can immerse yourself in nature. The scenic views, terrain, and plant life come together to create some of the most scenic landscapes imaginable. Among that gorgeous landscape is another part of nature that sets Bryce Canyon apart from other areas. That wonderful part of nature is the wildlife.
The wildlife in Bryce Canyon includes many animals that you may not see in most areas. From birds to snakes, Bryce Canyon has a variety of living things that will make your trip even more exciting. Whether you come to Bryce Canyon to see the animals or you just happen to run into it during your adventures, it is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and make a lasting memory.
Types of animals
Mammals are warm-blooded animals that birth and nurse their offspring. There is a wide range of mammals in Bryce Canyon National Park. Seeing one if the various common mammals during your trip will be a highlight of your day. When a chipmunk scurries across your path or, you think you may have glimpsed a mountain lion, you will understand how important the mammals here are. The following are some of the most common mammals in Bryce Canyon.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
This furry, little animal is smaller than the common Rock Squirrel which is also seen near Bryce Canyon. You will be able to tell the difference because the Rock Squirrel is twice the size of the Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel. It is also possible to confuse this squirrel with the chipmunks in the area. You can distinguish this squirrel from chipmunks by noting whether the face has stripes. Chipmunks have striped faces, squirrels do not.
The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel mates and has large litters of young in the summer months. Since they have such large litters, they are very common to see in Bryce Canyon and the surrounding areas. You are likely to see them surrounding picnic areas because they are used to the visitors feeding them. As tempting as it may be, do not feed the squirrels in Bryce Canyon National Park. It prevents them from being able to survive in nature the way they should.
The Mountain Lion is a mammal with many names. It is commonly called a Cougar, Panther, or Puma. These big cats stand about three feet tall and can stretch up to eight feet long, from nose to tail. It is quite uncommon to see them in the area, so you generally will not have to worry about an encounter. However, keep in mind that Mountain Lions are carnivores, which means they are meat eaters. This is important because, however rare, it is possible that a Mountain Lion could attack. If you think you see a Mountain Lion, it is best to avoid contact and let a park official know where the siting occurred.
There are two different Uintah Chipmunks that you will probably see during your trip to Bryce Canyon. The Least chipmunk and the Cliff chipmunk are small, striped mammals. You are likely to see one scurrying across trails and congregating near picnic areas. Uintah Chipmunks live in the trees, so look up when you hear the leaves rustling.
Utah Prairie Dog
Prairie Dogs are exciting to see and are incredibly adorable. They live in large communities, which allows them to protect themselves from predators. They are a burrowing animal, so they live underground. You may hear them barking out a warning as a large bird of prey passes their community. It is important to observe the Utah Prairie Dog from a distance so that you don’t disturb their habitat. You may see them in the meadows that border the roadways, so keep an eye out.
Since the beginning of time, humans have been captivated by birds. Their ability to glide effortlessly through the sky, or zero in on their prey from incredible heights, makes them some of the most magnificent creatures on earth. Most birds create nests, lay eggs, and survive off a variety of food sources. While you’re visiting Bryce Canyon, be sure to look up occasionally so you do not miss a winged wonder passing above. The following are some of the birds you may encounter during your visit.
The Peregrine Falcon holds the title for being the fastest animal in the world. This amazing bird can reach speeds of up to 200-300 miles per hour while diving. You may see the Peregrine Falcon gliding high above as you travel through the park. If you’re lucky, you may even see this gorgeous bird preying on its next meal. They commonly eat small, ground-dwelling animals or other birds. Make sure to look to the skies so you do not miss the Peregrine Falcon.
The Steller’s Jay is a beautiful bird that is a loner. This bird is black and blue and resembles a Blue Jay. The Steller’s Jay is the only crested jay in the Bryce Canyon area. You may hear it’s loud, unmistakable caw as it soars or perches above. This bird is very bold and is known for not being afraid of people. Be sure to limit your interactions with this bird to preserve its ability to survive in the wild.
The Raven is a bird that many people are familiar with. It is often mistaken for a Crow; however, it is twice the size of a Crow. The Raven is an omnivore, which means it will eat pretty much anything. These birds mate for life and perform a beautiful mating ritual during the summer months. You may see them soaring above or perched in a tree. You will be amazed at their size and beauty.
Reptiles and amphibians
Reptiles and amphibians elicit different reactions from everyone. While some think their beady eyes and quick movements are charming, others may be terrified by them. If you are scared by all things scaled or slimy, find comfort in knowing that these creatures are much more afraid of you than you are of them. Below is a list of some reptiles and amphibians you may be lucky enough to encounter during your trip to Bryce Canyon.
Great Basin Rattlesnake
The Great Basin Rattlesnake is the only venomous snake in Bryce Canyon National Park. You will know when you encounter one by its distinct rattle of the tail. They are usually brown or gray with dark blotches along their back. Many people have a fear of snakes or believe that venomous snakes will attack, unprovoked. However, snakes want to avoid confrontation and will slither away from danger. They are a protected animal, so do not kill or injure these snakes if you cross paths.
This funny looking creature blends in perfectly with the rough, rocky terrain of Bryce. They are sometimes called horned toads, which is inaccurate since they are, in fact, lizards. They come in a variety of colors which include gray, red, yellow, and brown. They have a spiky back and large, flat-looking body. Though their appearance may seem scary, they only eat insects, so don’t worry about the Short-Horned Lizard hurting you.
This snake is long and skinny, like a whip. They can grow to be over six feet long. They have striped running down both sides of their long body. If you see a Striped Whipsnake during your stay, he may be slithering along quickly with its head held high. This allows them to see where they are going. Whipsnakes are not venomous and will slither away from confrontation.
The Tiger Salamander is a slimy, but cute, amphibian. They are the largest salamander known, growing to over a foot long. Like all amphibians, they stay close to wet environments. The Tiger Salamander comes out at night, so if you are going on a nighttime hike, you make get to see one. Although they are rare to see, another place to see a Tiger Salamander is in Swamp Canyon. Seeing one of these awesome amphibians will be a highlight of your trip.
Enjoy Bryce Canyon
Whether you have come for the wildlife in Bryce Canyon, or just happen to encounter it on your trip, you will be in awe of all the different wildlife Bryce Canyon has to offer. By becoming familiar with the type of animals you may see, you will be more prepared for which wildlife to look for and where they may be found. Remember to follow the rules of the park when observing any animal. Always have as little interaction as possible. Never, ever, feed the animals in the park. If you want to experience and enjoy nature, be sure to take pictures and leave the animals’ habitat intact when you leave. The wildlife in Bryce Canyon adds to the overall experience during your stay.