Canines and other Carnivores

Three young red foxes hanging on a reddish dirt mound.
Like many animals, the red fox has their young in the spring. The female will find a secure place to establish a den. Her kits will stay close to this area until they are big (and clever) enough to survive on their own.


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.




  • Coyote
  • Raccoon
  • Mountain Lion
  • Red Fox
  • Bobcat
  • Gray fox

Small red fox in a forest setting
This juvenile red fox was caught on a trail camera in the park. Note the large ears which the fox relies on as its primary sense.

NPS trail camera


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. 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.

A raccoon looking down from a tree branch
Although normally asleep in trees during the day, raccoons can be active during daytime to take advantage of food opportunities.

NPS / Bandelier National Monument


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.
A nighttime trail camera capture of a mountain lion
Mountain lions are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during twilight hours. They are rarely seen by visitors, but our park trail cameras have captured several images.

NPS trail camera


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
Small bobcat sitting in tall grass near a fallen tree.
This young bobcat was photographed in the pine forest not far from the visitor center. Its curiosity and daylight activity can likely be attributed to its youth.


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

Last updated: May 9, 2020

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