Besides the natural beauty of our national parks system, people come here for the wildlife. And nothing will stop vacationers in their tracks quicker than spotting ANY form of wildlife.
There are some 75 specials of mammals, 50 species of reptiles, 25 types of fish, and somewhere around 300 birds within the parks environs. There are bobtails and mountain lions. Of course your have varieties of deer, squirrels, gophers chipmunks, sheep, and rabbits. But believe it or not the most important is the squirrel. Yep, the squirrel. The Albert and the Kaibab squirrels to be exact. The Albert is at the South Rim and the Kaibab at the North Rim.
Of course you should use caution when you see these animals. Don’t feed them or give them pick a nick baskets. Don’t get to close. And take only pictures and leave the animals where you found them. Don’t destroy nature when trying to take pictures or get a better view of the animals. Keep your distance when you see the animals. And lastly don’t let your wildlife play with their wildlife. Most of these animals are hard to find and keep their distance from the high traffic rim areas. While I was here I got to see the following animals:
The Albert Squirrel . Tony asked us what we thought the most dangerous animals here was. I said man. Others said the mountain lion and some said bears (there are no bears here). We were all wrong. Tony informs us that during peak season more than 10 people a day are treated at the first aid station for bites. These little guys don’t seem to mind us and come right up to people who proceed to pet or attempt to pet them and get bit!
After walking back from the trail at Hermit’s Rest, I saw a crowd gathered in front of the gift shop. And what do I always say about crowds gathering? It is probably for a good reason. The reason here? This cute little chubby cheeked Albert Squirrel right on the walkway there, looking a-dor-able. Yep, I listed to everyone word Tony said about the squirrel. Of course I still wanted to reach down and scratch his cute little cheeks. He just looked like he was made for petting. I refrained myself though and only took his little picture.
The California Condor . Of course Condors are still endangered but are coming back to the area thanks to careful monitoring of these magnificent creatures and breeding programs. Today, thankfully, about some 70 of the birds can be found in the area. While at the park you can take in one of the daily ranger talks about these beauties.
While we were here we were lucky enough to see one flying and soaring over the canyon. These birds can weigh up to 23 pounds and can have up to a 9 foot wing span. So to see such a regal and magnificent bird soaring over one of the most beautiful places on the planet was a rare but awe inspiring site. Again, remember to breath. Tony had plenty to tell us about theses creatures. I would have loved to have a closer look. I was just happy to get a glance.
Ravens Of all the birds at the canyon, the ravens is the most abundant and your best chance of seeing wildlife at the park. They are often mistaken for the crow or people think they are the same thing. Chances of seeing a crow at the canyon are slim. They are also very sneaky and often swoop down and grab food from unspecting guests to the park.
While also walking around at Hermit’s Rest I spotted a raven steadfastly perched on a tree limb giving me a great shot with my camera. I was just fascinated watching him bouncing and strutting around on his branch. And with the Grand Canyon in the background. Well that was money shot for sure.
Big Horn Sheep . These gorgeous animals once numbered in the millions. But since man seems hell bent on destroying everything, these animals numbered have dwindled to next to nothing, like many of the inhabitants at the canyon. These stout animals can scramble from ledge to ledge of the walls and can climb at a rate of about 15 miles per hour.
As Pam and I were rambling around the rim, I glanced over at the El Tovar restaurant and at the side of the building and there are two sheep. At first I am thinking "hmmmm..odd place for a statue". But then I think I see the baby move. I rubbed my eyes and look again, and it was moving. I start tugging on Pam like a little kid and all I can do is point. Then I manage to whisper "lookie..baby". We start to carefully inch our way up and then others start to notice too. People to start to form a circle around mom and her baby. Everyone is also talking in whispers. Though I don’t know why as this place isn’t exactly quite.
We take picture after picture and soon leave them to enjoy the grass and the water. The next day as we are doing site inspections we walk out of the Angel Bright and on to the next resort. All of a sudden there was a travel agent traffic jam. Out on the lawn there were more sheep. There was also a big crowd gathered around on the lawn snapping away. It was just something else to see these guys hanging out not the least bit concerned with people all over the place.
While here I also marveled at butterflies, more birds, and while we were touring the train we saw people gathered around while a mule deer was munching. One of the agents had a close encounter with a tarantula. Thankfully that wasn’t me because if I had, the people at the North Rim would have known about it. Just remember you can see them. That is wildlife stopping at its worse kind and just makes me go "blah".