Cuyahoga Valley National Park Mammals

The comparative wilderness of CVNP in a sea of urbanity provides a refuge to mammals. Thirty-two mammal species have been identified in the park.

Coyotes, recently returned (naturally) to the valley after a long absence, are the dominant predator in the CVNP ecosystem. The park offers coyotes good edge habitat with open meadows and fields surrounded by forests, and plenty of food in the form of fruits, nuts, grains, and small mammals. Red and gray foxes take advantage of these same food sources, though gray foxes are considered rare in the park.

Small mammals make up the majority of the mammal population in CVNP. With much of the park covered with fields or forests, mice, moles, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, and other small mammals are abundant. If you hear rustling leaves while hiking through the woods, one of these small critters is usually the culprit.

Along roadsides, white-tailed deer and woodchucks graze on grasses and forbes in open fields. At night, you may catch a glimpse of raccoons or opossums scurrying across the road, in a hurry to find food or shelter before the day begins.

Many of the park's wetlands are filled with beaver and muskrat activity. Where a tree once stood, there may be nothing left but a stump and woodchips, signs of the beaver's need for food, shelter, or a dam. Mink, in search of fish, snakes, or other foods, often visit wetlands or streams but are rarely seen.

The ground is not the only place to look for CVNP's mammals. Seven species of bats have been found in the park, three of which were identified in a 2002 bat survey. A federally endangered species never before identified in the park, the Indiana bat, was found during the survey.

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