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Wild West Fauna

29 June 2016

The deserts and canyons of Utah, California, Nevada and Arizona have a wide variety of unique animals. Get to discover some of the most interesting fellows you might meet during an adventure trip in the Wild West!

 

Black Bear – The Shy Giant

 

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Black Bear. Photo by Amit Patel.

Black bears are common in many areas of Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. This intelligent and curious creatures feed mostly on berries, nuts, grass, carrion and insect larvae. They are also excellent climbers and swimmers, and can run up to 35 miles per hour. Despite these amazing skills, they are still very shy and get easily frightened of strangers, so it is not easy to get to see one from a close distance.

 

Red Fox – Nocturnal Hunters

 

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Red Fox. Photo by Chris Parker

The red foxes are typical even in suburban and urban environments of Utah. Although they are nocturnal animals, it is not hard to spot one of them during the day as well. They have an exceptional sight, smell and hearing, which make them excellent hunters of small animals: they can even hear the ones that are underground.

 

Jackrabbits – White, Black and Fluffy

 

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Jackrabbit. Photo by regexman.

Jackrabbits, part of the typical fauna of Nevada and California, can be divided into two different kinds: the black tailed rabbits and the white tailed ones. They present very long ears and big hairy feet, with a brushy tail. Common in the desserts, brush lands, prairies and meadows, they prefer to live in open areas, so they can see the possible enemies coming and are able to escape in time.

 

Garter Snake – Sssneaky, Ssstriped, Sssmall

 

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Garter Snake. Photo by Šarūnas Burdulis

The garter snake for areas of Utah and California typical garter snake is around 30 centimeters long, although they can grow more exceptionally. During the winter, they hibernate in large groups in shelters that they find in cracks in the ground. Because they are small, they are easy victims of bigger predators, which has made them extremely defensive.

 

Mole- Not So Blind Diggers

 

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Mole. Photo by andy muir.

Moles are easy to spot in rural areas of Utah. Despite their looks, moles are not blind as the popular stories say. They do have eyes, but these are very small in order to protect them from the dirt while they are tunneling. Their sight however is quite poor (they cannot distinguish colors), but they can dig up to 18 feet of surface tunnels per hour.

 

Coyotes – From the Desert to the City

 

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Coyotes. Photo by Miville Tremblay.

Coyotes live in the most arid areas of Nevada, California and Arizona. Resembling to a pointed ear shepherd dog, coyotes live usually in desert valleys and alpine ridges where they can find food and shelter. However, nowadays coyotes can be found also in urban areas and cities such as Las Vegas, Pasadena or Los Angeles.

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Tule Elk – Saved by a Pair

 

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Tule Elk. Photo by Brandon Levinger

Tule Elks can be found only in California. They almost got extinct during the 19th century, but a single pair was found in Buena Vista Lake in 1874. The pair were given refuge and protected, so the species could happily continue, and today they have reached the 4000. They are the smallest kind of elk and they are very easy to be spotted by humans. There are also special reserves such as the Tule Elk State Reserve in Kern County.

 

Golden Trout – California’s State Fish

 

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Golden Trout. Photo by Anthony Greco

The Golden Trout is California’s state fish since the 1940s, as it can only be found there. These yellow and gorgeous little fishes are so popular among hunters (including humans, as it is said to be delicious) that, sadly, their population numbers have been dropping for decades, and they could get extinct soon.

 

California Clapper Rail – Clap, clap!

 

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California Clapper Rail. Photo by sfbaywalk

As its name indicates, this bird can only be found between Morro Bay and San Francisco Bay in California. The species is endangered by hunting, and toxic emissions from cities and factories, but it is protected and harmful practices are trying to get stopped. The Clapper Rail gets its second name from the call sound it makes, which sounds like clapping.

 

Bobcats – Reserved Wild Cats

 

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Bobcat. Photo by Land Between The Lakes.

Bobcats live throughout Arizona, Nevada, and other areas of the US. Sized as a domestic cat, bobcats can live in a wide variety of habitats from deserts to mountain ranges. They often choose the areas protected from severe weather with shade and vegetation, and free from human disturbance.

 

Mountain Lion – The King of Bryce Canyon

 

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Mountain Lion. Photo by Tony Hisgett

The Mountain Lion can be found in rocky areas of Utah, Arizona and Nevada. They are great hunters and have extremely sensitive senses. A big population of Mountain Lions can be found in the surroundings of Bryce Canyon Country.

 

Antelope Squirrel – A Quiet Vigilant

 

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Antelope Squirrel. Photo by Renee Grayson.

This classic western American rodent is characterised by its white long tail, hairy feet and large cheeks to keep the food in. It is usually found near the desert bushes of Nevada, although they can live in a wide range of habitats.

Spot these and more while crossing the roads, canyons and deserts of Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona in a vibrant adventure travel through the Wild West: the Wild West Challenge!

 

Liked this story? Getting itchy feet to travel and find adventures? Then join us on our next Wild West Challenge. Get a team together and experience an amazing road trip through the Wild West! If you want to join us in spirit, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitterand Instagram to keep up with our latest antics. And to never miss any important update, why don’t you sign up for The Travel Scientists Newsletter!

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