Canines and the other carnivores at Devils Tower National Monument are elusive creatures. Mostly nocturnal, they are rarely seen by visitors. They camouflage well and move silently. Not only do these behaviors help them avoid humans, but also to hunt and catch their prey.
It is uncommon to see a coyote here at Devils Tower National Monument, but you may hear them yipping in the hills around us. Their vocalizations are specific to their family group, and most common in earlier morning or late evening. Coyotes have sandy brown fur, a large tail which hangs down, and large ears.
Despite heavy persecution from humans, coyotes survive extremely well in almost any environment. Their adaptability (as well as influences from various human behavior) has expanded the range of coyotes; inhabiting only the American West a few hundred years ago, today they are found across the continent.
Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
The red fox is named for its orange-red fur color. Other identifying characteristics are the white tip to the tail and their dark legs.
Adult males weigh 10–15 pounds; females average to the lower end of that spectrum; they average 43 inches long
Mostly nocturnal, they have been seen during the day in or near the prairie dog town
Prey on small animals such as mice, prairie dogs, birds, and eggs; they are opportunistic omnivores and will eat carrion, berries and other plants.
Their home range averages 2 to 3 square miles
Active during the winter, they rely on their excellent hearing to locate and track prey (even under the snow!)
Mate in late winter (December- February); 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.
Predated upon by coyotes, golden eagles, bobcats, and mountain lions
Gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus)
Gray fox are rare here at Devils Tower. It has a grizzled gray 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 (Procyon lotor)
Gray to black fur coloring, with distinctive ringed tail and black "mask" across its face
Averages 24 to 38 inches in length; weight between 14 and 23 pounds
Has five toes on its front paws with an extremely sensitive sense of touch
With an intelligence level comparable to some monkeys, they can learn quickly and have an excellent memory
Nocturnal and omnivorous, they eat fruits, nuts, berries, insects, frogs, crawfish, and other invertebrates
Live primarily in trees, but known to dwell in ground burrows as well
Mating season for raccoons runs from January to June with the kits being born 65 days later
With their intelligence, dexterity, and opportunistic diet, raccoons will seek out garbage and other sources of human food. Please keep food items secured and properly dispose of all garbage.
Mountain lion (Felis concolor)
Also known as cougars, pumas, catamounts, or panthers
Look like a large version of a short haired house cat, with tawny fur and a white chest and muzzle
The tail of a mountain lion over 2 feet long, almost 1/3 of their body length
Adult males weigh 145–170 pounds and the females weigh 85–120 pounds; 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
Primarily prey on white-tailed and mule deer, though they will take smaller prey like porcupines and raccoons
Have the largest proportioned hind legs of feline species, giving them great speed and leaping abilities
Prefer rocky and forested areas for hunting, making the park a prime hunting habitat.
Rarely seen at Devils Tower, they have been spotted on trails and photographed by remote cameras
Mate at any time of the year, but most litters are born in late spring and early summer
Litters of 2 to 3 kittens after a 3 month gestation.
Males are highly territorial and can have a home range of 50 to 150 square miles
Bobcat (Felis rufus)
Close relatives of the larger Canada lynx
About twice the size of the average housecat; they have long legs, large paws, and tufted ears with brown fur, a white underbelly, and very short tail.
The "bob" in bobcat refers to their very short “bobbed” tail, usually about 4 to 8 inches long
Adult average 15–30 pounds and 28-37 inches long
Prey on rabbits, birds, mice, squirrels, and other smaller game; large males can prey on small deer
Active throughout winter and hunt during dawn and dusk; will hunt at other times if prey is present
Prefer coniferous forest or mixed wood forest habitat; sleep in dens such as hollow trees, thickets, or rocky crevices
Breed in February and March; litters of 1-6 kittens are born about 2 months later