Grand Canyon Wildlife

Where does an elk cross the road in The Grand Canyon National Park? Anywhere he wants to. These were photographed about 1/2 mile south of the El Tovar Hotel. Elk are wild animals. The elk in Grand Canyon have become tolerant of human presence, making them unpredictable and very dangerous. Never feed or approach wildlife.

Mule deer and elk may be commonly seen in the South Rim Village. Mule deer are generally not permanent residents along the river, but travel down from the rim when food and water resources there become scarce.

Mule Deer
Mountain Lion
Bald Eagle

Mountain lions, bobcats, badgers and rattlesnakes are less commonly seen, but are present in the park.

Resident adult mountain lions on the South Rim of the canyon use the rim as a distinct territory boundary. It is doubtful that you will ever see a mountain lion as they are only found in a remote section of the park.

Javelina are now roaming The Grand Canyon National Park. They have become accustomed to people and it isn't unusual for them to live near campgrounds. The Javelina is the only known wild native pig-like animal found in the United States.

The three most common amphibians in the Grand Canyon are the canyon treefrog, red-spotted toad, and Woodhouse’s rocky mountain toad. These amphibians need the Colorado River or perennial tributaries in order to breed, since their egg masses and tadpoles are water bound.

Grand Canyon bats typically roost in desert uplands, but forage on the abundance of insects along the river and its tributaries. In addition to bats, coyotes, ringtails, and spotted skunks are the most numerous riparian predators. They prey on invertebrates, rodents, and reptiles. Raccoon, weasel, bobcat, and gray fox are also present, but are much more rare.

The Bald eagle uses the river corridor as winter habitat. The trout rich waters of the Colorado River provide a perfect food source for the eagles. The Colorado River running through Grand Canyon once hosted one of the most distinctive fish assemblages in North America.

Never approach wild animals. Photograph all wildlife from the safety of your vehicle. Use telephoto lenses and observe quietly. It is dangerous, and illegal, to feed wild animals in a national park. Violators will be fined.

Keep a look out for California condors, regarded as one of the rarest birds in the world. The California condor is the largest land bird in North America with a wingspan up to 9 1/2 feet and weighing up to 23 pounds.

Adults are primarily black except for triangle-shaped patches of bright white underneath their wings. These patches are visible when condors are flying overhead and offer a key identification characteristic.

Using thermal updrafts, condors can soar and glide at up to 50 miles per hour and travel 100 miles or more per day searching for food while expending little energy. There are currently 73 condors flying free in northern Arizona and southern Utah, including several that were raised in wild nest caves within or near to the Grand Canyon.

During the warmer months they are seen regularly from the South Rim and frequently also from the North Rim. On the South Rim, try scanning the cliffs and Douglas-fir trees below the Bright Angel Lodge late in the afternoon.

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