Lone Coyote standing in a grassy area
Coyotes are more often heard than seen in CVNP.


The comparative wilderness of Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in a sea of urbanity provides a refuge to many mammals. Click here to search for mammals that call our park home!

Thirty-nine mammal species have been identified in the park. Coyotes, recently returned (naturally) to the valley after a long absence, are the dominant predator in the CVNP ecosystem. The park offers coyote good edge habitat with open meadows and fields surrounded by forests, and plenty of food in the form of fruits, nuts, grains, and small mammals. Coyotes are present in all 88 counties in Ohio. No one is sure how many coyotes are living in CVNP, but recent surveys estimate between 100 to 150.

Red and gray foxes take advantage of these same food sources, though gray foxes are considered rare in the park.

Coyote Research
Working with a coalition of regional partners, researchers from Metro Parks, Serving Summit County are tracking coyotes throughout the Cuyahoga Valley as part of a multi-year project aimed at learning about the wild canines' range, diet and overall health. They are currently in their second year of a three-year research project.

Presently researchers have radio collared fifteen coyotes, some with VHF collars and others with GPS collars. The coyotes' daytime whereabouts are recorded daily using a vehicle-mounted antenna, which picks up the radio signals, and once a week staff and volunteers go out at night to determine their evening locations. Those animals outfitted with the GPS collars allow biologists to simply download the animals' locations.

The University of Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and nonprofit conservation foundation Wild4Ever are providing partial funding and/or field biologists for the project. Support is also being provided by The Ohio State University and Cleveland Metroparks. For further information contact Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

chipmunk standing on a log
A chipmunk is a small, squirrel-like rodent.


Small Mammals and Deer
Small mammals make up the majority of the mammal population in CVNP. With much of the park covered with fields or forests, mice, moles, voles, chipmunks, squirrels, and other small mammals are abundant. If you hear rustling leaves while hiking through the woods, one of these small critters is usually the culprit.

Along roadsides, white-tailed deer and woodchucks graze on grasses and forbs in open fields. At night, you may catch a glimpse of raccoons or opossums scurrying across the road, in a hurry to find food or shelter before the day begins.

a mink sitting in a hollowed log near water
A mink has a luxurious fur coat.


Many of the park's wetlands are filled with beaver and muskrat activity. Where a tree once stood, there may be nothing left but a stump and woodchips, signs of the beaver's need for food, shelter, or a dam. Mink, in search of fish, snakes, or other foods, often visit wetlands or streams are occasionally seen. River otter sightings usually occur in the very early morning when there is minimal human disturbance. In general, these mammals are also very active at dusk and throughout the night feeding on fish and at times, other aquatic animals.

Bat Population
Seven species of bats have been found in the park, three of which were identified in a 2002 bat survey. A federally endangered species never before identified in the park, the Indiana bat, was found during the survey.

Unfortunately, biologists from Metro Parks, Serving Summit County detected a bat-killing fungus, white-nose syndrome (WNS), at the Liberty Park Reservation in Twinsburg, when they discovered a dead little brown bat outside one of the park's off-trail caves in January 2012. White Nose Syndrome was confirmed in the specimen by researchers at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Georgia.

This emerging fungal disease has killed millions of bats in the northeastern and eastern United States and could soon threaten bats in CVNP. Read more about our bat population and WNS.

Last updated: January 6, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141


(440) 717-3890

Contact Us