Bryce Canyon and the surrounding canyons and forests are home to a diverse population of high desert and mountain wildlife. In the Bryce Canyon area, researchers have identified 59 species of mammals, 175 species of birds, 11 types of reptiles, and 4 kinds of amphibians.
Bryce Canyon’s mammal population includes porcupines, racoons, the Utah prairie dog, and the more plentiful mule deer. Mule deer tend to migrate to lower elevations during winter along with mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes. Elk, pronghorn antelope, fox, ground squirrels, and marmots are also found in this region, and on rare occasions, a black bear may be sighted in the forested high country.
With a higher altitude and generally cooler temperatures, the Bryce Canyon National Park area is home to reptiles and amphibians such as the Short-Horned Lizard, Striped Whipsnake, Great Basin Rattlesnake, and the Tiger Salamander.
The Great Basin Rattlesnake may be sighted in lower elevations areas of Bryce Canyon National Park or in and around the lower and warmer elevations of the Grand Staircase.
Over 175 species of birds have been identified in this region and are most visible between May and October. Swifts and swallows are common in summer but migrate further south for winter. Other birds frequently spotted include the Golden Eagle and a variety of owls and jays. Perhaps most common are beautiful but brash black ravens, which reside in the park year-round. Turkey vultures are not uncommon and on rarer occasions, visitors spot the endangered California Condor, which is the largest land bird in North America, sporting a wingspan of up 10 feet. If you spot a California Condor in the Bryce Canyon National Park area, it is suggested that you report this to a park ranger.
The best way to view wildlife is from a safe distance. Use binoculars for viewing and telephoto lenses for photographing. Remember to treat Bryce Canyon Country’s wildlife with reverence—they are wild animals, no matter how tame they appear. Even humans with the best intentions can have a detrimental effect on their ecosystem, habits, and digestive systems. Feeding wildlife also teaches the animals to venture too close to roads and parking lots, where they can be injured or killed. Feeding wild animals can also cause human harm, either by disease or attack. Even normally docile animals can become aggressive if they expect food and don’t receive it, so keep a safe distance and keep your food—and your best intentions—to yourself.