Mammals of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

Martin Kuprianowicz | | BrainsBrains
wasatch moose
The Wasatch moose is a sub-species of the North America moose that is smaller in size and less aggressive. Image: Pinterest

For many of us, Little Cottonwood Canyon located near Salt Lake City, Utah, is a winter paradise with a high population of a certain seasonal species – the skier. The canyon is arguably overpopulated with these creatures on weekends in the winter. But when I was hiking up in that same canyon just the other day, I got to wondering: what other animals inhabit this beautiful canyon in the off-winter months, when there is no snow and there are no skiers? Which other mammals claim this canyon as their home?

I gathered information from the archives of the Natural History Museum of Utah to find out who the original inhabitants of Little Cottonwood canyon really area. The list goes as follows:

mammal
Vagrant shrew, Sorex vagrans Image: Salt Spring Island Conservancy

Shrews and moles – Up to 4 different species of shrews live in the canyon

wasatch mammals
Townsend’s big-eared bat, Corynorinus townsendii – one of many of the canyon’s nocturnal inhabitants. Image: National Park Service

Bats – 9 different species of bats live in the canyon

mammals of the wasatch
The snowshoe hare, Lepus americanus. Come summertime these hares will shed their white coat in place for a brown one. Image: Sierra Club

Hares/rabbits – There are 5 different species of hares and rabbits that live in the canyon

mammal
The cliff chipmunk, Tamias dorsalis. Legend has it they named a lodge at Snowbird after this little guy. Image: iNaturalist

Rodents – Over 36 species of rodents found in the canyon

mountain lion
The American mountain lion, Puma concolor. Image: Wikipedia

Carnivores – 17 species of carnivores live in Little Cottonwood canyon. Larger ones include bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, black bears, raccoons, otters, badgers, and weasels

wasatch goat
The mountain goat, Oreamnos americanus. Often only found way up high on the steep and gnarly parts of the mountain – a true mountain creature. Image: National Park Service

Hoofed animals – Elk, Wasatch moose, mule deer, mountain goats are all found in Little Cottonwood canyon and the Wasatch mountain range.


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