Canines and other Carnivores

Red fox kits playing at their den
Red fox kits playing at their den

NPS

Canines and the other carnivores at Devils Tower National Monument are by nature seldom seen and elusive creatures, choosing to use camouflage or a nocturnal nature to stay out of sight of visitors and their prey.

Canines

Coyote (Canis latrans)

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Raccoons

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Felines

Mountain lion (Felis concolor)

Bobcat (Felis rufus)

 
Red Fox near his den.
Red Fox (trail camera capture)

NPS

Canines


Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Quick facts:

•The Red fox is often the orange-red color that it is well known for, but may have silver or brown variations. Common to all is the white tip to the tail and the dark legs.
•Adult males weigh 10–15 pounds; females weigh average 10 pounds and they average 43 inches long.
•The red fox is nocturnal with most activity occurring during dusk and dawn hours.
•Their prey is small to medium mammals such as mice, prairie dogs, and up to the size of a small fawn, birds and eggs. They also take advantage of carrion.
•Their home range averages at about 2 to 3 square miles.
•Red Fox are active during the winter, when their coats are at their thickest, where they are able to hear small mammals under the snow and are able to catch them by pouncing on them through the snow.
•They mate in late winter (December- February). The males and females may stay as a monogamous pair for an entire season and the male helps with the young.
•A litter of 3 to 6 pups is born after a 50 day gestation.
•These predators are predated upon by coyotes, golden eagles, bobcats, and mountain lions.
•These carnivores are listed as “Fairly Common” within Devils Tower National Monument

Coyote (Canis latrans)

It is uncommon to see a coyote here at Devils Tower National Monument, but you may hear them yipping in the hills around us. If you do see a canine and want to know if it is a coyote, look for the sandy brown fur, the tail that always hangs down, the wide face, large ears and the light colored legs.

Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)

Gray fox are rare here at Devils Tower. It has a grizzled grey back with red around the head and legs, no black “stockings” as in the red fox and a black stripe that runs the length of the tail with a black tail tip.


 
Raccoon at Bandelier National Monument
Raccoon at Bandelier National Monument

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Raccoons

Raccoon (Procyon lotor)

Quick facts:

•The raccoon is a very distinctive creature here at Devils Tower National Monument, with its masked face and striped tail, it is not hard to identify.
•It averages about 24 to 38 inches in length and can weigh between 14 and 23 lbs.
•Its most useful feature are the 5 toes on its front paws that can delicately manipulate its natural food but also undo latches and doorknobs!
• The animal is nocturnal, mostly foraging and feeding at night. It is omnivorous, eating fruits, nuts, berries, insects, frogs and other invertebrates. It does take advantage of available garbage, so please do not leave your food items out overnight!
• Raccoons live in tree cavities or burrows near the Belle Fourche river, emerging at dusk to hunt frogs and crustaceans while keeping an eye out for predators such as coyotes and foxes.
•Mating season for raccoons runs from January to June with the kits being born 65 days later.
•Raccoons are the known prey of bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes. Most, though, are killed by cars when driving at dusk. So, watch out!
•Raccoons can carry disease, so please do not approach.

 
A nighttime trail camera capture of a Mountain Lion
Mountain Lion (trail camera capture)

NPS

Felines

Mountain lion (Felis concolor)

Quick facts:

•They are also known as cougars, pumas, catamounts, and in Florida they are known as panthers.
•Mountain lions look like a large version of a short haired house cat, with tan to reddish fur on their back with a white chest and muzzle.
•The tail of a mountain lion is 3 feet long, almost 1/3 of their body length!
•Adult males weigh 145–170 pounds and the females weigh 85–120 pounds. Their body length, including tail is 6 1/2–7 1/2 feet.
•They are a crepuscular species, most active in the dusk and dawn hours.
•The favorite food of the mountain lion is our white tail and mule deer, though they will take smaller prey like porcupines and raccoons.
•Their preferred terrain is rocky breaks and forested areas that provide cover for hunting prey making Devil Tower a prime hunting habitat.
•Mountain lions are rarely seen here at Devils Tower, though that does not mean that they aren’t here. Mountain lions are masters of camouflage.
•They mate at any time of the year, but most litters of kittens are born in late spring and on through the summer.
•The female mountain lion has litters of 2 to 3 kittens after a 3 month gestation.
•Cougars make their dens in rocky ledges, dense thickets and under uprooted trees. They are highly territorial— a male cougar may use a home range of 50 to 150 square miles.
 
Young Bobcat looking alert.
Immature Bobcat

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Bobcat (Felis rufus)

Quick facts:

•It is not common to see bobcats at Devils Tower National Monument, but it does not mean they are not here. They are very elusive.
•Bobcats are also called wildcats and is a close relative of the somewhat larger Canada lynx.
•Bobcats are about twice as big as the average housecat. They have long legs, large paws, and tufted ears and are brown or brownish red with a white underbelly and short, black-tipped tail.
•The bob in bobcat refers to their really short “bobbed” tail which is usually about 4 to 8 inches long.
•Adult bobcats may reach around 15–30 pounds and are 28-37 inches long.
•Bobcats usually eat rabbits, birds, mice, squirrels, and other smaller game, but larger males have been known to bring down small white tail deer.
•Bobcats are active all winter and prefer to hunt in the dawn and dusk times, but will hunt during the night or day if prey is present. They prefer snow depths less than 6 inches deep and may change hunting behavior to less snowy areas.
•Their preferred habitat is coniferous forests or mixed wood forests with conifers and hardwoods mixed together. They sleep in hidden dens, often in hollow trees, thickets, or rocky crevices.
•Bobcats breed in February and March. Kittens are born around 2 months later. the averaage litter size is 3, but may range from 1-6. There is usually only 1 litter per year unless the first litter doesn’t survive.

Last updated: July 8, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 10
Devils Tower, WY 82714

Phone:

(307) 467-5283 x635
Devils Tower National Monument Visitor Center Phone Number

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