Big Bend National Park's varied habitats support an amazing variety of wildlife, including 11 species of amphibians, 56 species of reptiles, 40 species of fish, 75 species of mammals, more than 450 species of birds, and about 3,600 species of insects. The park boasts more types of birds, bats, butterflies, ants, and scorpions than any other national park in the United States.
BirdsMore than 450 species of birds have been reported in Big Bend National Park! This may seem unbelievable for a desert park, yet many factors come together to make for especially worthwhile birding: location on a significant migration route, southern U.S. latitude and proximity to Mexico, the presence of springs or oases, and diversity of habitats. Find out more about specific birding seasons, the best locations to find birds, unique Big Bend stories, and how you can get involved.
MammalsSeventy-five species of mammals inhabit the deserts and mountains of Big Bend National Park. Living in an area with high temperatures and low rainfall forces many animals to live extremely cautious lifestyles. Many leave their burrows only under cover of night. The best times to look for wildlife are at dawn and dusk, when cooler temperatures encourage animals to venture out.
ReptilesLimited water sources and lack of precipitation make desert life unsuitable for many animals. Reptiles, however, are uniquely suited for such conditions. Since they do not sweat or perspire, reptiles do not require water for cooling. Big Bend's desert environment is a perfect place for reptiles, evidenced by the 31 species of snakes and 22 species of lizards found in the park.
AmphibiansDeserts are not usually thought of as being rich in amphibians, yet twelve species are found in Big Bend National Park. Along the banks of the Rio Grande, leopard frogs grunt and chuckle and the high trill of the spotted toad may be heard on warm summer nights near springs and moist areas.
InsectsInsects make up more than half of all living things on Earth - they outnumber humans 200 million to one: for every human, there are two million insects. In Big Bend National Park, you have the opportunity to experience about 3,600 species of insects! We invite you to discover more about Big Bend's butterflies, dragonflies, spiders, grasshoppers and more!
FishAs a desert park, only a few places in Big Bend support fish. The Rio Grande and its two tributaries, Tornillo and Terlingua Creeks, are the only locations that fish inhabit. Although catfish (blue, channel, and flathead) are commonly caught in the Rio Grande, most of the park's 40 species of fish are minnow-sized.
Last updated: September 3, 2020