Yosemite National Park Wild Things

Natural History

The varied topography of Yosemite's wilderness hosts about 1,460 species of plants in over 40 recognized plant communities. These, in turn, are home to numerous invertebrate and vertebrate species, including 78 species of mammals, 247 of birds, 17 of amphibians, 22 of reptiles, 11 of fish, and numerous invertebrates. Wilderness users must understand they are visitors to the homes of these residents and behave in ways that do not upset or destroy their balance of life. Consequences of improper human behavior to the inhabitants or their habitat can be extremely destructive if not deadly. Campfires above 9600', for instance, eliminates necessary habitat and nesting sites. Feeding wildlife, either intentionally or not, encourages unnatural and potentially dangerous behavior and disrupts normal ecological processes.

The information in this section highlights bears and proper food storage both in the wilderness and at the trailhead. Wilderness users must take similar care in everything they do in the backcountry to minimize their impact on the natural systems there. Users should also be aware of potential threats to themselves and learn more about mountain lions, poison oak, lyme disease, rattlesnakes or other hazards.

Additional Nature and Science Topics for Yosemite

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Rising above a scene rich with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain, the Teton Range stands monument to the people who fought to protect it. These are mountains of the imagination. Mountains that led to the creation of Grand Teton National Park where you can explore over two hundred miles of trails, float the Snake River or enjoy the serenity of this remarkable place.
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The pika is a close relative of the rabbits and hares, with two upper incisors on each side of the jaw, one behind the other. Being rock-gray in color, pikas are seldom seen until their shrill, metallic call reveals their presence.