Grand Canyon National Park
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 Utah Travel Center National ParksGrand Canyon • Wildlife


Because there is an elevation difference of at least 6,000 feet, the Grand Canyon supports a great variety of species indigenous to both the desert and mountain climates. Naturalist C. Hart Merriam noticed that, because of the elevation differences in the canyon, there were three different life zones. These life zones allow a range of wildlife to live in the canyon that would normally be found when traversing the United States from Canada to Mexico. The life zones are viewed easiest when seen from the Rim, the Inner Canyon and the Inner Gorge. They each contain a different variety of animals to observe and admire.

The Rim contains a good variety of animals that are usually found in the mountains. One of the smaller of the mammals on the Rim are the squirrels. On the South Rim you will find the Abert Squirrel with its tasseled ears and gray and white tail. On the North Rim might have a chance to see the rare Kaibab Squirrel. Found only in the ponderosa pine forests of the North Kaibab Plateau and nearby Mount Trumbull. If you sit quietly in the ponderosa forest, look for a squirrel with a charcoal gray body and white tail moving along the branches. You will also see mule deer, named for its long ears, feasting on shrubs and grasses in the Village early in the morning or at sunset. The coyote is also common on the Rim.

There is also a very powerful winged presence on the Rim. Ten types of hawks and eagles can be seen soaring among the clouds. The red-tailed hawk is the most visible throughout the park as it patrols the airways. You can also see the majesty of the golden eagle that makes its home on the canyon cliffs. This powerful predator has a wingspan of up to six feet and can easily carry away an infant bighorn sheep. The more common of the birds found on the Rim is the raven. It can be seen doing a display of aerobatics or hear its distinctive caw. You can also see the blue-gray piņion jay feasting on piņion(pine) nuts every fall. The rarest of the parks inhabitants are the six California Condors released at Vermilion Cliffs in 1996.

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