Great Basin National Park Mammals

In the sagebrush desert, you will find certain animals which are specially adapted to the aridity of that area. Jackrabbits, pygmy rabbits, mountain cottontails, ground squirrels, chipmunks, and various mice live in this area. Pronghorn antelope may be seen on the open sagebrush and grassy plains near the park entrance. Coyotes, kit fox, and badgers will be seen less often, but are present.

The pygmy forest with its pinyon pine and juniper trees offers another haven for mammals. Some prefer the wooded areas, while others like the transition zone between the sagebrush desert and pygmy forest. Mule deer abound in this area. Other mammals most commonly seen in the pinyon-juniper forest are striped skunks, mice, and ground squirrels.

There are a number of springs and clear running streams in the park. The secretive spotted skunk, shrews, ringtail cat, and the least weasel or ermine are fond of wetter places to make their homes.

In the more rugged areas on the slopes of mountains and in the valley areas nearby, mountain lions, bobcats, marmots, rock squirrels, and mountain sheep can occasionally be seen. Many of the mammals in the area can be found in more than one habitat. Most have a preferred territory but seasonal changes, food supply, change in habitat quality, or overcrowding may force them to relocate. All mammals in the park are protected which means their numbers are controlled naturally by predators, disease, food supply, and the diversity of available habitat.

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