|About the Site|
|Grand Teton National Park|
There are about 300 kinds of animals, large and small, in the park. These include one of the largest elk herds in the world, many of the animals of which spend the winter in the National Elk Refuge, which is located adjacent to the southeast border of the national park.
One of the smaller of the animals in the park, the uinta ground squirrel, is seen below. These animals emit a short, sharp sqeak. They emerge from hibernation in March or April of each year.
Another squirrel is shown below.
Moose One of the most impressive of the large mammals one can see in the park is the moose. The moose is the largest member of the deer family and is the largest antlered mammal on earth. The moose may reach 6 feet in height at the shoulders and 9 feet in length, and may weight between 900 and 1400 pounds.
There are up to about 600 moose in the park. 200 of the animals live in Jackson Hole all year long, while 300 or more may migrate from higher altitudes to the valley in the winter. Year around the moose will feed on willow trees, They strip the lower branches of trees and shrubs while they eat. During the warmer seasons they enjoy feeding on water plants, such as those which grow in Swan Lake, shown below. The moose's legs are adapted to wading in marshes and lakes as well as snowdrifts in the winter.
Moose did not always exist in the park. Fire suppression, which allowed for an increase in the sub-alpine fir which is a favorite food of the large animals, increased the hospitability of the park.
Moose frequent two particular areas in the park--the area around Oxbow Bend, and Cascade Canyon. As large animals, moose can be dangerous, especially in the case of a mother.
The park features beavers as well. These animals are primarily nocturnal, although they can be spotted during daylight hours. These animals are usually between 25 and 30 inches long.
Buffalo A small number of buffalo--perhaps a few dozen to as many as 200--can be found in the park. Although the bison existed in the Jackson Hole area hundreds of years ago, there were actually none in the park when white settlers first arrived. Although the current numbers are not large, the animals are impressive and a popular characteristic of the park.
There is a single resident buffalo herd in the park. At one time the buffalo was once the most numerous land mammal in North America.
The buffalo enjoys wheatgrass, fescue, and other plants found on the dry plains.
Although they may look peaceful, the buffalo is a large animal and any visitor to the park is wise to give it wide berth.
Below, in a meadow next to the Snake River, a buffalo can be seen lounging on the ground.
The pronghorn can be found along the Snake, as below, or in other sections of the park. These animals are North America's fastest animal, able to exceed 45 mile per hour on the run. The are not actually antelopes, and are the only species of their family. Both the male and females have real horns, not antlers.
Deer can also be found in the park, as shown below.
Deer seem to be used to people, and as can be seen in the following picture taken at Colter Bay Village they may come right into areas frequented by human tourists.