Mammals

young deer in the woods

NPSPhoto/M Lounsdale

Big Fauna

The largest mammals living in the park are elk, black-tailed deer, black bear, mountain lion, and mule deer. Wolves occasionally cross over the park boundary but none are known as denizens. As climate data continue to show a warming trend, wolves may follow prey further up Mount Mazama slopes and potentially become residents.

Large animal sightings are not the norm, especially around Rim Drive and in crowded areas. Deer are the most likely to be seen. They may wander into the caldera and linger in Rim Village until winter drives them to lower elevations in search of a food source.

Bears

Save Lives. Speed limits are the law and they save lives, the lives of bears, marmots and other animals foraging along the shoulders and lingering across roads.

There are 41 known black bears in the park, with females outnumbering males. Males often travel beyond park boundaries within their home range of 320 to 365 square miles. A female's range is much smaller averaging no more than 27 square miles. Since denning generally occurs between November and May there are only five months when bears are active but even then, seeing one is not likely.

 
Pika sitting on a boulder
A pika might first be identified by a distinct call—eeep—which resonates across the rocky slope.

NPS Photo by Janette Perez-Jimenez 2018

Most Likely to See:
Mesocarnivores and Their Prey

Common around Rim Drive are the small mesocarnivores—pine marten, red fox, bobcat, striped skunk and coyotes. Up to seventy percent of a mesocarnivore's diet is meat thus they might be seen hunting pika, squirrels, and rabbits in the higher elevations of the park.

Pika

A major food source for many mesocarnivores are American Pika (Ochotona princeps), small herbavoires that dwell in rocky slopes and forage in nearby meadows all summer and fall until snow covers their den. With a bountiful harvest collected in haystacks and cached beneath the snow pika never hibernate.

The pika is a charismatic indicator species of the potential effects of climate change on mountain ecosystems. Increasing temperatures and less snow fall threaten pika habitats.



 

And Then There are Bats

Twelve species of bats have been identified in the park. They roost in trees with thick bark, shallow caves, and rock crevices. Bats play a critical role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem at Crater Lake National Park by consuming insects. Most notably, they assist with decreasing the mosquito population, which is fierce during summer.
 

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Last updated: May 17, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Crater Lake National Park
PO Box 7

Crater Lake, OR 97604

Phone:

(541) 594-3000

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