Covering an extensive mass of land, the Grand Canyon is the home to a variety of different major ecosystems. Ranging from a thickly settled forest to a dry, hot dessert, the large canyon is also the host to a wide range of wildlife species. If you are visiting, hiking or rafting the beautiful canyon landscape, it’s important to be aware of the different animals and their surrounding habitats.
One of the biggest predators in the Grand Canyon National Park is the mountain lion. Typically found in the North Rims’ Boreal Zone, biologists first started tracking mountain lions in 2003 in order to provide a safer environment for park visitors and the mountain lion species. Unfortunately, tracking efforts were put on hold in 2007 when Eric York, a park biologist, contracted the pneumonic plague from a mountain lion carcass.
Once a very prominent fish species in the Colorado River, the Humpback Chub is now on the federal endangered species list. The Chub is one of the only types of fish that has been able to adapt to the extreme temperature changes that take place in the water each season. Due to the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, the water’s living environment has changed so drastically that the number of Humpback Chub’s in the area are decreasing at a rapid pace.
The California Condor is regarded to be the most popular species of bird in the Grand Canyon, and one of the rarest in America. Also know as a vulture, the California Condor has a bald head and a wingspan of 9 feet. A very uniquely looking bird, this vulture will hover in the sky searching for dead animals to feast upon.
The Kaibab Squirrel
Making its home on the North Rim, the Kaibab Squirrel can only be found on the Kaibab Plateau. You will be able to recognize the squirrel by its white tail and black underbelly. Because of its rare existence, the Kaibab Squirrel is considered to be a National Natural Landmark.
The Bark Scorpion
Regarded as the “ancient assassin,” this insect is America’s most poisonous scorpion. Nearly 400 million years old, the bark scorpion is nocturnal and only comes out during the night. The scorpion senses its prey by vibrations in the ground and typically only eats other insects like moths, crickets, cockroaches and spiders. For anyone hiking this part of the Grand Canyon, it’s critical to be aware of these nasty creatures.