Rocky Mountain Wildlife
Colorado boasts some of the highest peaks around it, such as the Rocky Mountains, but the wildlife it houses is as diverse as the landscapes that surround it. Colorado is home to over 700 species of animals, including big grazers like bison and deadly carnivores such as mountain lions and bears.
The Rocky Mountains are what make a visit to Colorado iconic. It would go without saying that its official native animal is one that frequents the mountains: the Bighorn Sheep. You won’t find these animals outside of the Rockies; unfortunately, they have been named an endangered species.
There is so much to see and explore around Colorado, especially if you’re an animal enthusiast. So, on your next trip, here are the animals in Colorado you should be on the lookout for.
The nine-banded armadillo, which is the most common of all armadillos, is gradually gracing Colorado with its presence. Nine-banded armadillos are ideally suited for much warmer areas than Colorado, but these animals are remarkably adaptable. They have an elaborate coat of armor made of thick scales and claws built for digging. Armadilloes are still a rare sight in Colorado, but experts believe the numbers will keep increasing over time.
Bison are powerful mammals that can grow over 6 ft tall and weigh up to 1000 kg. They roam in groups and live for an average of 20 years. When running, a bison can easily reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour when necessary. Like Bighorn Sheep, these animals are slowly becoming endangered due to overhunting. However, in Colorado specifically, experts have noticed a rapid expansion in the number of herds.
Bighorn sheep are arguably one of North America’s toughest creatures. Males can weigh up to 300 pounds and have earned the moniker “ram” because they tend to slam into one another at over 40 miles per hour in a quest to assert dominance. The sounds from these headbutts are so loud that they can be heard over a mile away.
Fortunately, the sheep’s skulls are sturdy, so they don’t suffer from any resulting physical injuries. Bighorn sheep are also known for taking incredible leaps up and down cliff slopes, a skill made possible by their unique hooves. Where to spot them.
These animals are commonly found roaming mountains. While they are not predators, they have been known to gore hikers with their horns when they feel threatened.
Many black bears in the Colorado mountains are usually docile towards humans unless they feel their cubs are being threatened. DO NOT play dead!
While not as common as most other animals, many Mountain Lion sightings have been around Colorado’s hiking trails. Though there are very few lion attacks each year.
Coming straight out of a 70s movie, these horses can be seen roaming Colorado today. They are seen as a symbol of the American West and are protected by the state.
Rocky Mountain Elk
With over 280,000 animals, Colorado’s elk population is the largest in the world. Through hunting and wildlife viewing, elk bring visitors from all over the world. In the fall, people come from every corner to see these magnificent animals and to hear their distinctive bugle.