What Animals Live in Yellowstone National Park?

What Animals Live in Yellowstone National Park?
Yellowstone National Park is a vast preserved wilderness where many species of animals are found. Some, like the wolf, have had to be reintroduced to this area in which they once thrived. Others, like the bison and the pronghorn antelope, once roamed the American West in astounding numbers but now are reduced to a fraction of their former populations and call Yellowstone home. Yellowstone visitors will find members of the deer family, rodents, birds of prey and various other animals in this national park located mostly in the state of Wyoming.

Weasel Family

The badger is one of the larger members of the weasel family and inhabits Yellowstone's grassy meadows. The fisher and the pine marten make their home in the coniferous forests of Yellowstone. Mink, short and long-tailed weasels and river otters can be seen by the astute observer on the shores of lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. The wolverine is rarely ever seen by tourists but a small number of them do live in this park. The striped skunk is another constituent of the weasel order that lives in Yellowstone.

Rodent Family

There are a wide variety of rodents that exist within the borders of Yellowstone National Park. The largest of these is the beaver, which inhabits ponds and streams throughout the park. The porcupine lives in this region's forests. The least chipmunk, the yellow pine chipmunk, the golden-mantled ground squirrels, the marmot, the flying squirrel and the red squirrel are closely related species of rodents found there. Pocket gophers, deer mice, jumping mice, muskrats, many types of voles and the wood rat are also citizens of Yellowstone.

Hoofed Mammals

There are seven species of ungulates (mammals that possess hooves) that live in Yellowstone and another that has been introduced on its northern border and now occupies parts of the park. The mountain goat was introduced near the Idaho and Montana portions of the park in the late 1940s and early 1950s and eventually some of them made their way into Yellowstone, where they now live in the higher elevations of the Rockies. Mule deer and white-tailed deer are present in the park but are actually outnumbered by elk. Yellowstone has one of the largest elk herds in the U.S. Bison, which once meandered throughout the nation in huge numbers, have found Yellowstone as a sanctuary. Bighorn sheep, moose and the swift pronghorn antelope also thrive in Yellowstone.

Larger Predators

The presence of so many species lower down on the food chain such as voles, mice, rabbits, and even elk and deer mean that Yellowstone has its share of predators. There are both black bear and brown bear living in Yellowstone; brown bears are also known as grizzly bears. Coyotes, red foxes, swift foxes and gray foxes are members of the dog family that reside in Yellowstone but the gray wolf, which was reintroduced in the mid 1990s, is the largest of these savvy predatory animals. Mountain lions, bobcats and lynx are among Yellowstone's creatures but this trio of cats is rarely seen.

Birds of Prey

Birds of prey have a healthy representation in Yellowstone National Park. Owls like the great horned owl and the barn owl are found there. The American kestrel, the peregrine falcon, the turkey vulture, the bald eagle, the golden eagle, the northern harrier and the red-tailed hawk all are located in Yellowstone. There are also kites, ospreys, goshawks and red-shouldered hawks that hunt in the skies and on the ground of Yellowstone.

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