• Badlands formations against the blue sky; photo by Rikk Flohr

    Badlands

    National Park South Dakota

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  • Visitor Center Open / Road Construction

    Park roads and parking lots are under construction. Expect occasional 10 - 15 minute road construction delays along Hwy 240 Loop Road. There is limited parking at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Please follow the signs to park in designate areas.

Animals

Bighorn sheep lamb on formation

A bighorn sheep lamb climbs the Badlands.

NPS Photo by Shaina Niehans

The mixed-grass prairie is home to many species of animals. In Badlands National Park, scientists have observed 39 mammal species, 9 reptile species, 6 amphibian species, 206 bird species, and 69 butterfly species.

The prairie animals are well adapted to their environment. They can handle climate extremes and find protection in these vast, open spaces. Most small prairie mammals either dig burrows or invade another animal's burrow for shelter. Others hibernate or become dormant in the cold of the winter. Larger mammals may seek protection from the winter wind by taking cover in badlands canyons or in low spots such as drainages or woody draws. Some ungulates find protection in herds as they graze throughout the year.

 

Did You Know?

The rugged badlands topography

To the Lakota, this harsh and desolate landscape was known as "mako sica," meaning “land bad." Early French trappers similarly described the area as “bad lands to travel across." Today, geologists consider all the places in the world with similar topography and formation badlands.