wildlife in the grand canyon

The Grand Canyon. Most folks think of it as a day trip you can see from Phoenix or Vegas and tick off the old bucket list. Truth is, however, there is plenty to see and do at the Grand Canyon. There’s a lot more to do than stand way high up and stare down into the abyss. Grand Canyon National Park can take months to explore, so you shouldn’t be afraid of dedicating a week to a trip here.

One of the best things about visiting Grand Canyon National Park is the wildlife. Some of it is dangerous, so keep your distance, and bring binoculars so you don’t miss a bird sighting.

These are 12 animals that live at Grand Canyon National Park.

1. Mountain Lions (and Baby Mountain Lions)

Mountain lions are hard to spot since they’re nocturnal, but if you do see one we have one piece of advice: keep your distance.

2. Golden Eagles

Flying high over the Grand Canyon, it’s quite common to spot a Golden Eagle in the park. They scour the landscape for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

3. The Grand Canyon Rattlesnake

Watch where you step – these guys sure blend in! These venomous pit vipers are found only within Grand Canyon National Park.

4. Black Ravens

Ravens are found throughout the Western United States, and can often be spotted on the rims and along the edges of the Grand Canyon. If you get the chance to see one, study it. They’re extremely intelligent and are sure to impress you.

5. Chuckwalla and Collared Lizards

You can see many lizards in Grand Canyon National Park, but these are our two favorites.

6. Elk & Deer

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Did you know that the Elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) currently living in Grand Canyon National Park are not originally from here? In fact, they aren’t fully adapted to living in this dry climate. . From 1913-1928, 303 elk from Yellowstone National Park were introduced to the state of Arizona. Over time, they migrated north and have become a fixture in Grand Canyon National Park. However, the species still hasn’t fully adapted to the dry climate of Northern Arizona. . As the southwestern United States has been experiencing prolonged drought prior to recent seasonal monsoon rains, be mindful of the struggle that resident wildlife are enduring. With a short season to capitalize on fresh greenery and vegetation, these animals can become persistent and aggressive in their quest for fuel of any kind. Especially elk mothers with calves. . Providing food and water sources to elk and other wildlife is not only illegal in a national park, it is a bad idea anywhere: ‘helping’ animals in times of perceived need actually hurts them in times of plenty. They will learn to stop looking for natural resources and suffer greater consequences in the long run. Please remember to turn off or cap bottle-filling stations and water sources in the park! And always keep at least 100 feet (30m) from elk. . Image descriptions: 1) A cow elk in profile walking on a bikepath in a forest. 2) Chrome water faucets shine in sunlight at a bottle filling station NPS/B.Maul 3) Rear view of an elk calf staying close to mom in a forest. (Photos courtesy S. Behrns)

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There are tons of mule deer in the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, while elk are quite common sightings as well. Be cautious of these animals – they look friendly but elk, in particular, can have a temper!

7. Western Bluebirds

Arguably the cutest birds in the park, especially when they sit side by side like this.

8. Turkey Vultures

Say what you will about Vultures, but they sure keep the place clean and tidy.

9. Coyotes

Similar to Turkey Vultures, Coyotes are top scavengers in the park – they occupy the ground while the Turkey Vultures search from the skies.

10. Peregrine Falcons

Often referred to as the duck hawk in North America, the Peregrine Falcon is a beautiful bird you should definitely aim to see when you visit – but good luck. When they dive, they’re one of the fastest animals on the planet.

11. Bighorn Sheep

These are some of the most amazing animals in the park. Sit back and watch them from a good distance. Their balance and agility is quite impressive.

12. Ring-tailed Cats

A member of the raccoon family, the Rain-tailed Cat has a tail with between 14-16 stripes, making it quite easy to identify. It’s arguably the cutest animal you’ll see in Grand Canyon National Park.