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Nature and Wildlife

Are you interested in viewing wildlife during your next trip to the US National Parks? Are you planning a trip based primarily on wildlife viewing? Here a couple great ideas if wildlife viewing is top on your list for your next trip.


All mammals share at least three characteristics not found in other animals: 3 middle ear bones, hair, and the production of milk by modified sweat glands called mammary glands. The three middle ear bones, the malleus, incus, and stapes (more commonly referred to as the hammer, anvil, and stirrup) function in the transmission of vibrations from the tympanic membrane (eardrum) to the inner ear. The malleus and incus are derived from bones present in the lower jaw of mammalian ancestors. Mammalian hair is present in all mammals at some point in their development. Hair has several functions, including insulation, color patterning, and aiding in the sense of touch. All female mammals produce milk from their mammary glands in order to nourish newborn offspring. Thus, female mammals invest a great deal of energy caring for each of their offspring, a situation which has important ramifications in many aspects of mammalian evolution, ecology, and behavior… Mammals


Birds are vertebrates with feathers, modified for flight and for active metabolism. Birds are a monophyletic lineage, evolved once from a common ancestor, and all birds are related through that common origin. There are a few kinds of birds that don't fly, but their ancestors did, and these birds have secondarily lost the ability to fly. Modern birds have traits related… Birds


Reptilia, presented as a Class in our classification, includes turtles (Testudines), snakes and lizards (Lepidosauria), crocodiles and their relatives (Crocodilia), and birds (Aves), as well as a number of extinct groups. Reptiles (including birds!) are amniotes; that is, their eggs are protected from desiccation and other environmental problems by an extra membrane, the amnion, not found in the first terrestrial vertebrates (amphibians). Mammals (Mammalia) are also amniotes, but they differ from reptiles in the structure of their skulls (especially the regions associated with chewing and hearing). Mammals also have hair and feed their young with milk produced by modified skin glands (mammary glands)… Reptiles


Amphibians begin their lives with gills. Some lose their gills before leaving the egg. Most lose them when they reach the adult stage. There are exceptions, like the mud puppies (Proteidae). They keep gills through their entire life. Sometimes a mole salamander (Ambystomatidae) will also keep gills into adulthood. These mole salamanders are called axolotls and never leave the water for their land stage. They are like adults with the features of the larval stage… Amphibians

Respecting Wildlife

Respecting Wildlife

Traveling to National Parks is fun and exciting for kids of all ages, including us "big" kids. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the beauty and the nature that we stop thinking about what is "right" for the wildlife that lives in these gorgeous destinations.

Respecting Wildlife

Threatened and Endangered



The bald eagle was officially adopted as the U.S. national emblem on June 20, 1782.


The American Beaver can remain submerged under water for up to 15 minutes before surfacing for air. Visit a list of fun and interesting facts here. Wildlife Facts


The best times to see wild animals in summer are early morning and late evening. The Hayden Valley between Fishing Bridge and Canyon, and Pelican Creek east of Fishing Bridge are prime moose territory. Watch for bison in Hayden Valley, and waterfowl along its Yellowstone River. Watch for elk, bison, pronghorn, and coyotes in Lamar Valley, and for pronghorn in sagebrush flats near the North Entrance. Bighorn sheep frequent Mount Washburn in summer. Elk and occasional bison are seen in the Midway and Upper Geyser Basins.


The spectacular mountain scenery of the park is literally brought to life by the plants and animals that make their home here. Flowering plants, from the first pasque flower in April to the last aster in September, add color, fragrance, and movement to the landscape. Especially intriguing are the alpine wildflowers that survive the extreme climate of the tundra, completing their yearly life cycle in just a few weeks.