Introduction to Mammals of Great Sand Dunes

Kangaroo Rat on Sand
Kangaroo rats are the only mammal that can live its entire life in the dunes, but many other mammals visit the dunes at night.

NPS Photo

The Ord’s kangaroo rat is one of over 50 species of mammals that call Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve home. This fascinating species is the only mammal that lives their entire lives in the main dunefield. They collect seeds from various grasses and sunflowers and hide them in moist sand below the surface. After a couple of days collecting moisture, the seeds now provide a little water to these rodents that can live their entire lives without drinking. Kangaroo rats are so named because they can jump up to 5 feet (1.5m) in the air to avoid their many predators.

Other mammals to keep your eye out for in the park and preserve include:

-Mule deer
-Black bear
-Bighorn sheep
-Mountain lion
-Long-tailed weasel

Learn more about the mammals of Great Sand Dunes.

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

Last updated: April 20, 2021