Rock Squirrel
Rock Squirrel

What do mule deer, bats and Zion visitors all have in common? They are all mammals! Mammals vary greatly in appearance, behavior, and required habitats, but all mammals share certain characteristics, that help distinguish them from other living animals. All mammals are warm-blooded; meaning they can maintain a constant internal body temperature, despite varying external temperatures. They also give birth to live young, and can produce milk to nourish them. Hair, or fur, helps to keep mammals warm and provides insulation.

In Zion National Park, you may have the opportunity to see at least one or two furry creatures wandering along the river or scampering across slickrock. Zion is home to 68 species of mammal, ranging from the petite kangaroo rat to the sturdy, surefooted bighorn sheep. The most frequent mammal sightings are mule deer, foxes, bats, bighorn sheep, and rock squirrels.

Small, tan bodied ringtail perched in a juniper tree. Its long, black and white tail, draped on the trunk of the tree
Ringtail perched in Juniper Tree

Zion National Park Photo

The key to a good sighting is to know when and where to look. By day, mule deer and rock squirrels meander about on the canyon floor. By night, you may hear a coyote’s call, see the light quickly gleam in the eyes of a gray fox, or observe the nimble movements of a ringtail cat. Other charismatic animals, such as mountain lion, bobcat, porcupine, skunk, raccoon, bats, and beaver are all active under the cover of darkness.

Even though many of Zion’s mammals are nocturnal and rarely seen, once day breaks and we head out on the trails, evidence of their nightly adventures is still in sight. As you head out to Emerald Pools or Angels Landing, see if you can decipher the evidence. Many animals tend to use the same trails we do and are known to indiscreetly leave behind their scat and tracks. Why not pause, rest, and see if you can figure out who was prowling around before you.

Remember, squirrels and other rodents can carry disease. One should not attempt to pet a squirrel, even if it approaches you. All wildlife should be viewed and photographed from a safe distance.

Learn what you should know when Encountering Wildlife

Print out your copy of the Zion Mammal list PDF file.


Mammals of Zion


Last updated: September 24, 2021

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Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale , UT 84767


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