At Ferber Resorts, we are fortunate enough to share the same landscapes and habitats of Zion National Park. Each of our resorts has an incredible view of Zion National Park, especially at Zion Canyon Campground, where you are fully immersed in the habitats where native wildlife is thriving. There are so many incredible wild animals to observe while exploring! Whether you like to camp in luxury, such as in one of our up-and-coming cabins, or a tent, you have a place to bond with all the critters.
Wildlife in Zion National Park
Zion National Park is home to creatures as small as a lizard and as big as a mountain lion. As the sun rises, see lizards scurry across the warm sandy trails or bask in the sun on a rock. While you walk down a path, listen to the song of the bluebirds in the trees. And in the early evening, nocturnal creatures such as mountain lions and red-spotted toads begin to emerge. Be aware of predators, especially the rattlesnakes tucked beneath the sagebrush when out and about.
The most common critters to run into while visiting the area are mule deer, foxes, bighorn sheep, rock squirrels, and chipmunks. With 68 native species, you are sure to spot something scampering across a rock or wandering along the river. Here are some of our favorite mammals to watch on a sunny day at Ferber Resorts.
Bighorn Sheep: Bighorn sheep have adapted to Southern Utah’s dry, arid climate. Their narrow hooves help them grip the steep terrain on the east side of Zion National Park and escape predators like mountain lions. If you are trying to spot bighorn sheep, you will most likely see them between the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunel and the East Entrance posted atop a sandstone rock. Be sure to drive carefully through the park and use turnouts if you wish to photograph them. Remember to maintain a safe distance from any wildlife you spot.
Gray Fox: In Zion National Park, gray foxes live in areas near the river or in thick vegetation. Grey foxes have adapted to the surrounding habitat, allowing them to climb trees to raid birds’ nests. Foxes are opportunistic omnivores meaning they typically dine on lizards and plants. Grey foxes are nocturnal, which means they are usually out at night. You probably won’t run into a fox, but you might stumble upon their scat on the trail.
Chipmunks: Chipmunks and squirrels are often grouped in the same ‘rodent’ category, but chipmunks are significantly smaller than squirrels. They also have brown or black stripes, alternating with white stripes down their backs. Chipmunks are always looking for a snack but are very shy and usually scurry away before you can get a good look at them. It’s important to note that you should not feed them. Despite their cuteness, chipmunks can bite, and human food is harmful to them.
Zion National Park is the perfect place for avid bird watchers. 291 bird species can be found in the park throughout the year. Many organizations, such as The Peregrine Fund and BirdLife International, work alongside Zion National Park in efforts to protect the park’s bird populations. Zion Canyon Campground is the perfect perch for you and your family to spot all sorts of birds high up in the branches of the surrounding trees. What kinds of birds should you be on the lookout for?
Greater Roadrunner: One of Southern Utah’s most common birds to see is the Greater Roadrunner. If you happen to see one, it will probably scurry away quickly. Roadrunners can run about 15 miles per hour and sometimes faster when hunting for prey. Roadrunners feast on various insects, reptiles, and even rattlesnakes. Keep on the lookout for these speedy critters.
Hummingbirds: The shady trees along the riverbank in Zion are the perfect place for hummingbirds to find shelter from the weather, a food source, and a place to nest and raise their young. Zion National Park is home to various desert wildflowers that these nectar lovers thrive on. Hummingbirds are tiny, and their winds rapidly flap as they fly from flower to flower. Most hummingbirds are painted with jewel tones such as dark green and ruby red. Watch for these fast-flying birds as you explore the park’s trails.
California Condor: California Condors, an endangered species, calls Zion National Park their sanctuary. California Condors are North America’s largest flying land bird, with wings spanning as wide as nine feet from end to end. The towering sandstone walls are their perfect nesting spot. Nearly 30 years ago, the population of these feathered giants dwindled to 22 individuals. The population has begun to increase in the decades following, and roughly 70 condors live wild in Arizona and Utah. Condors are very curious about human activity, but if a bird is perched, be sure to keep your distance. Read more about endangered California Condors here.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Zion National Park is home to an array of amphibians and reptiles, including 6 species of frogs, toads, and one salamander. The warm spring temperatures and moisture from rain and snowmelt create the perfect conditions for frogs and toads to emerge. Additionally, while visiting Zion, you might be lucky enough to spot one of the many lizards, snakes, or even a desert tortoise! If you find yourself staying at Zion River Resort, our close proximity to the water is perfect for catching a glimpse of these water and land-loving critters.
Red-spotted Toad: Most amphibians like toads, and frogs are nocturnal, just like our friend, the Red-spotted Toad. You will likely hear their song as the sun sinks into the canyon. These tiny creatures are easily identified by their red wart-like spots called tubercles. Their amphibian skin contains glands that secrete mucus and a special toxin to protect them from predators.
Tortoises: The desert tortoise has undergone many challenges with modern development, making this species endangered. If you can spot one, be sure to keep your distance because of their endangered status, but they are also known to bite! These rare reptiles are long-time residents of Zion National Park. If you want to learn more about the Desert Tortoise, click here.
Plateau Lizard: One of the smallest species of lizards, the Plateau Lizard, has distinctive patches of blue along its belly. This is Zion’s most common lizard, often seen scurrying across the trail from rock to rock to get warm. These little lizards’ primary food source is insects like beetles or moths. These little friends are nearly harmless, but it’s important to be aware of their place in the ecosystem and leave them be.
Great Basin Rattlesnake: Like other rattlesnakes, you can easily identify them with a triangular head and a rattle at the end of their tail. Rattlesnakes are usually brown in color, but they are known to adapt to their surroundings. Rattlesnakes like to hide beneath the sagebrush and in their dens, so be aware of where you are stepping! Keeping your distance from these venomous snakes is important, as they can strike nearly 10 feet in the blink of an eye.
Zion National Park is the perfect place for anyone on the hunt to observe wildlife. At Ferber Resorts, you are fully immersed in the habitats where native wildlife thrives. With incredible views of Zion National Park from each of our resorts, we offer a variety of stays, from cabins to campgrounds, for all kinds of visitors. You will experience the amazing wildlife of Zion National Park up close, from small lizards on the trail to the giant California Condors in the sky. Come stay with us and experience the beauty of Zion National Park’s wildlife for yourself!
Leave A Comment