Bears are active in Grand Teton
Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »
Mammals are special to us. They inspire our imaginations and thrill our senses. They are big and small, inquisitive and reclusive. They are always engaging and thrilling to see.
Sixty-one species of mammals live beneath the towering peaks of the Teton Range. They are found in each of the four major communities in the park: alpine, forest, sagebrush flats, and wetlands.
Mammals have two characteristics that separate them from other animals. They have hair and they nurse their young. Mammals also have other characteristics that allow them to thrive in almost any environment. They are warm-blooded relying on metabolism to maintain a constant body temperature instead of their surroundings. Mammals have well-developed sensory systems and specialized teeth that allow them to find and eat different foods. They can climb, swim, run, glide, and fly allowing mammals to inhabit a variety of niches in every ecosystem. Mammals also focus their energy to raise only a few young to ensure their survival rather than produce vast numbers of offspring. These characteristics allow mammals to adapt to almost every environment found on Earth.
In Grand Teton National Park, most wildlife watchers are in search of mammals. Look for large ungulates like moose, elk, mule deer, bison, and pronghorn from roadside vantage points. Large predatory mammals like grizzly and black bears, wolves and mountain lions are typically more elusive. Uinta ground squirrels, least chipmunks and red squirrels are common on the valley floor, but badgers, pine martens, long-tailed weasels, and wolverines are difficult to find. As you hike through rocky areas, watch for pikas, yellow-bellied marmots and golden mantled ground squirrels. In the waters of the park, you may spy a muskrat, beaver, or river otter swimming along.
No matter where you go in Grand Teton National Park, a mammal will not be far away. Their ability to adapt has allowed them to thrive throughout the park, and their presence brings a sense of excitement to this beautiful place.
Did You Know?
Did you know that the granite and gneiss composing the core of the Teton Range are some of the oldest rocks in North America, but the mountains are among the youngest in the world?