Archive for the ‘animals zion national park’ Category

Zion National Park Widlife

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Of all the animals that are possible to view in Zion National Park, perhaps the desert bighorn sheep is the most intriguing. Bighorn sheep were reintroduced to Zion National Park in the 1970′s and have adapted well to the environment on the upper eastern sections of the park.

Bighorn sheep are commonly spotted on the rock formations and along the road-side above the Zion National Park mile-long tunnel. Small groups of bighorn sheep feed regularly on the abundant vegetation and are not shy about ascending or descending the steep sandstone rock faces of the larger formations in the park.

Enjoy this short video captured recently of the bighorn sheep enjoying a leisurely day in Zion National Park. Read more about bighorn sheep here.  Follow this link to learn about other wildlife in Zion National Park.

7 Surprising Animals You May Not Expect to See in Zion

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Zion National Park has something for just about everyone. And I’m not just talking about humans.

From its arid desert to its lushly vegetated forests, Zion boasts an eclectic mix of animals. There are four different life zones within the park (coniferous forest, woodland, riparian and desert), and each zone contains its own microclimates and habitats for a broad range of animals.

To give you an understanding of what types of animals live in the park, let’s take a look at some of Zion’s full-time residents.

bighorn sheep

Big Horn Sheep

As you look at the side of a dry, rocky cliff, you might notice something moving. Don’t change your contact lenses – you’re looking at a small herd of big horn sheep. Big horn sheep have the ability to navigate seemingly impossible terrain, and they can go for days without water. They are most common on the rocky slopes of the east side of the park (by Zion Ponderosa).

Mexican spotted owl

Mexican spotted owls

All animals in Zion are protected by its National Park status, but the Mexican spotted owl is of special note. Zion offers the perfect habitat for the Mexican spotted owl, a species classified as threatened on the federal level. These nocturnal birds  are “perch and pounce” predators, typically locating their prey from an elevated perch by sight or sound, then pouncing on the prey and capturing it with their talons.

wild turkey

Wild turkeys

Wild turkeys are quite common in the park. There are many of them in Zion Canyon and you don’t have to go too far from the road to spot one of them roaming a grassland area.

bald eagle

Bald eagles

During the winter, bald eagles come to Zion to rest. And I don’t blame them. I think I’d be pretty tired too after flying all the way from Alaska or Canada to Southern Utah, and Zion would be the perfect place to take a break.

desert tortoise

Desert tortoise

If you’re lucky, you may come across a desert tortoise. These rare reptiles are federally protected,and their population is being monitored by park rangers. Although they can live up to 100 years of age, very few of them make it that far because young, slow-moving tortoises are easy prey for ravens, gila monsters and coyotes.

beaver

Photograph by Makedocreative, licensed under CC-ASA 3.0

Beaver

Beavers make their homes along the Virgin River, where they chew on cottonwood trees and build dams.To escape the heat, though, they like to do most of their work during the night, so you may see the remnants of their hard work while they are getting their rest.

gila monster

Photograph by H. Zell, licensed under CC-ASA 3.0

Gila monster

There are 16 species of lizards in Zion. The only one that can potentially harm humans is the gila monster, the only venomous lizard in North America. Although they pack a painful (but not fatal) bite, their sluggish nature keeps them from being too much of a concern.

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These are just a few of the animals that flourish in Zion National Park. More than 78 species of mammals, 291 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 8 species of fish coexist within the park. Remember that if you’re lucky enough to see one of these creatures in real life to keep your distance and don’t feed or touch them.