What Animals Live in the Redwood Forest?

What Animals Live in the Redwood Forest?
The trees of the redwood forest are a wonder in and of themselves, but there is also much wildlife that thrives in the diverse temperate ecosystem along the western coast. There are many large animals to be aware of if you visit any of the redwood parks as well as smaller-sized creatures.

Large Animals

mountain lion There are numerous large animals that live in the redwood forest, some of which hikers must watch for as they can be dangerous. There are mountain lions, bobcats, black-tailed deer, elk, black bear and coyotes to name a few. Bobcats may be seen in the forest or open areas, and are active day and night. They have a bobbed tail, pointy ears with tufts and are gray to reddish in color. Mountain lions are a larger cat than bobcats and are tan in color with a long tail. Black bear are also active in the forest and open areas. If you see a black bear do not run, but stop and slowly back away while making noise. Most of these animals have no intention of hunting down humans, but can react harmfully if frightened or when threatened.

Midsize Animals

Northern Spotted Owl Midsize animals are not as much of a worry to your safety as they are to your belongings. Leave your lunch out or your pack unattended and you may find that an animal--a raccoon for example--has claimed some of your goods as his own. There are gray foxes--one of the only canines that can climb trees--Coho Salmon, northern spotted owls, turkey vultures, river otters and beavers in the redwood forest. Some are specific to water, such as salmon otters and beavers, while others can be seen roaming all sorts of areas. Owls of course are mostly nocturnal but if you keep a watch during dusk you may be lucky enough to spot one. The northern spotted owl (picture above) is an endangered species.


Small Animals

Pacific Giant Salamander A few of the many small animals that live in the redwood forest are the pacific giant salamander (which feed on banana slugs and are not much bigger than a quarter), Sonoma chipmunks, dusky-footed woodrat, western gray squirrels, Steller's jays and banana slugs, which are bright banana yellow. Water striders, also called water skaters, are just one of hundreds of insects inhabiting the forest and can be seen gliding atop water. Water striders eat other smaller insects and are themselves food for many others, such as the pacific giant salamanders (picture above). Many of the smaller animals feed on things such as nuts, seeds, fruit, buds and mushrooms as they are near the bottom of the food chain.



Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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