Bryce Canyon National Park and the surrounding forests and canyons are home to a diverse population of wildlife. The park follows the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau and encompasses three climatic zones, allowing visitors an opportunity to see a wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in their natural habitats. Bryce Canyon National Park is home to 59 species of mammals and 175 species of birds, plus 11 types of reptiles and 4 kinds of amphibians.
Bryce Canyon’s mammal population includes creatures of all sizes, from the endangered Utah prairie dog to the more plentiful mule deer. Mule deer are the largest and most commonly seen mammals within Bryce Canyon National Park and its surrounding area, and tend to migrate to lower elevations during winter, along with fellow resident mountain lions and coyote. Elk, pronghorn antelope, deer, fox, bobcats, ground squirrels and marmots also reside in Bryce Canyon country. On rare occasions, a black bear may be sighted in the backcountry.
In spite of its high altitude and generally cooler temperatures, the Bryce Canyon National Park area is home to 11 species of reptiles and four species of amphibians including the Short-Horned Lizard, Striped Whipsnake, Tiger Salamander, and the venomous Great Basin Rattlesnake.
The Great Basin Rattlesnake is usually sighted near the Under-the-Rim Trail, Fairyland Loop, and Riggs Springs Loop, and rarely elsewhere in the high-altitude park’s boundaries unless temperatures are unusually high. This venomous rattlesnake mates in the early spring and gives birth between August and October, as do many of the other reptiles and amphibians in Bryce Canyon country.
More than 175 species of birds have been documented in and around Bryce Canyon National Park, and many make an appearance between May and October each year. Swifts and swallows are commonly seen in summer but migrate further south for winter. Other birds commonly sighted in and around Bryce Canyon National Park include the Golden Eagle and a variety of owls, jays, and ravens which reside in the park year-round. Turkey vultures and the endangered California Condor may also be observed in and around Bryce Canyon National Park. The California Condor is the largest land bird in North America, with a wingspan of nearly ten feet. There are only 190 California Condor living in the wild and Bryce Canyon National Park requests that sightings of these rare birds be reported to a park ranger.
Visitors are encouraged to view all wildlife at a safe distance, and reminded to never feed wild animals.