There are many types of wildlife living around the Park City area. The most common animals you may see include Moose, Elk, Mule Deer, Mountain Lion, Coyote, Red Fox, Badger, Beaver, Vultures, Ravens, Eagles, Osprey, Canadian Geese, Great Blue Heron, Terns and Great Basin Rattlesnakes. We encourage you to become familiar with the wildlife inhabiting your area.
Adult moose average in weight between 800 – 1400 pounds and are usually dark brown/black in color. During the winter months, they are active in the Oaks and Pines and during the spring and summer they prefer to feed on aquatic vegetation and new wood growth. Moose breed late summer/early fall and usually give birth to one calve late in the spring. Make sure to keep your distance if you see a cow moose, as they are very protective of their young and may charge if threatened.
Elk are opportunistic browsers and can travel exceedingly long distances at a very fast pace from feeding areas to watering holes and bedding areas. The seasonal changes in elevation allow elk to avoid deep snow and find food year-round. During the fall, dominant males gather and protect harems of females during the breeding season. The males emit loud vocalizations, called bugles, which warn other males to keep their distance from the harem and keep the females in a group. Females usually give birth late in the spring.
Mule Deer are also opportunistic browsers and will eat Gamble Oaks, Quaking Aspen and Cottonwoods in the winter and various grasses, fresh twigs and buds in the summer. They often migrate from high mountain areas in the summer to lower elevations in the winter to avoid deep snow. Mule Deer are very herd dependent so if you see one moving you will probably see two to seven following close behind. Mating occurs in late fall and usually one or two fawns are produced in late spring/ early summer. Each year tens of thousands of hunters pursue the mule deer, as they are an extremely popular game in Utah.
Mountain Lions mainly prey on deer, which are in abundance May through October, but they will also kill elk, smaller animals and pets. Lions stalk their prey using vegetation as a cover. After an attack, they feed off the kill over a few days staying in close proximity to watch over the carcass. Mountain Lions are very secretive and weary of humans. Should you encounter a lion, stay calm and do not run, as running may appeal to their predatory instinct to attack. Speak calmly but firmly to let the lion know you are human and back away slowly, not turning your back on the lion. Try to appear bigger in size by raising your hands in the air and if you are wearing a jacket, open it to appear larger. If the lion appears aggressive, you must act aggressive. Grab whatever is in your immediate reach making sure not to bend down to pick up anything as you will appear small, encouraging the lion to attack.
RED FOX AND COYOTE
These clever opportunistic hunters will move in and out of any give area, depending on the availability of food. Although both will feed on dead animals, coyotes are considered pesky because they sometimes kill pets, livestock and young game animals. Contrary to their name, the red fox can range in color from red to black. Both red fox and coyote females give birth early spring and the young spend the spring and summer with their parents before moving on their own by the fall.
BADGERS AND SKUNKS
The badger is a marvelous digger with strong front legs and long claws,which enables them to unearth their primary food source of squirrels, gophers and prairie dogs. Skunks are active year-round and feed on small vertebrate animals, insects, eggs and carrion. They are also a major carrier of rabies.
EAGLES, OSPREY, HAWKS, VULTURES AND OWLS
The Golden Eagle feeds mainly on small mammals and, at times, pairs may hunt cooperatively. Pairs are monogamous and often use the same nest for consecutive years. In Utah, Golden Eagles lay their eggs from late February to early March. The eggs hatch after 45 days and the young can fly after 60 to 77 days.
Osprey are a rare summer resident and usually nest 10 to 60 feet in the air. On each foot, two toes are forward and two toes are backward to help capture and grip fish.
Red Tailed Hawk
The Red Tailed Hawk usually hunts from high perches to capture rodents, rabbits, birds and reptiles. Breeding pairs are usually monogamous for life and nest as high as 100 feet above ground. Typically two or three eggs are laid and incubation last about 34 days. Both parents tend to the young and the male will bring the food to the nest and the female does the feeding.
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owls mate for life and are highly territorial. Their diet mainly consists of small mammals, but they will capture and eat almost any animal from scorpions to skunks. Eggs are laid in late winter and the young may remain with their parents until the following winter.
Vultures do not build nests and have few predators. They have an acute sense of smell, which helps them find meals. They can digest meat in any stage of decay and can withstand diseases that would kill any other creature.
WHOOPING CRANES, RAVENS, CROWS, GEESE, GULLS AND TERNS
Several of these birds can be seen during their migration routes from spring through fall. The ravens and crows are present year-round. You will find all the birds in temporary homes consisting of rocky bluffs to the waters edge where they can survey the small fish and microorganisms. The major threats to Whooping Cranes include loss of habitat and collisions with power lines.
GREAT BASIN RATTLESNAKES
With the exception of garden variety of snakes, the Great Basin Rattlesnake is the only prominent snake in our area to be aware of. Their temperament is mild and feed on small mammals, birds, lizards and frogs. They are typically light tan, yellowish, or light gray in color with dark blotches on their back. Their venom is of a lower toxicity than many other rattlesnakes.
If you encounter a Great Basin Rattlesnake they will usually give you a warning sound resembling a sudden burst of steam. However, if they are only slightly disturbed they may click their rattle. You will need to back away slowly in the direction you came.
When hiking or biking make sure your dog is leashed at all times. An unleashed dog that encounters disturbed wildlife ahead of you may turn and run back toward you with the angry animal in pursuit.