Nevada is a state in the western part of the United States, known for its arid and desert-like terrain. Despite its dry climate, Nevada is home to a diverse range of wildlife, from iconic desert species like coyotes and rattlesnakes to unexpected creatures like mountain lions and bighorn sheep. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most interesting wildlife that can be found in Nevada.
1. Desert Tortoise
The desert tortoise is an iconic species of the Mojave Desert, which spans across Nevada, California, Arizona, and Utah. These slow-moving reptiles are well adapted to the arid conditions of their habitat and can live for more than 80 years. Desert tortoises are considered a threatened species and are protected by law.
2. Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn sheep are another iconic species of the American West and can be found in Nevada’s mountains and deserts. These majestic animals are known for their impressive horns, which can weigh up to 30 pounds. Bighorn sheep are excellent climbers and can scale steep cliffs and rocky terrain with ease.
3. Mountain Lion
The mountain lion, also known as the cougar or puma, is a large predatory cat that can be found throughout Nevada. These animals are solitary and elusive and are rarely seen by humans. Mountain lions are skilled hunters and can take down prey that is much larger than themselves.
4. Golden Eagle
The golden eagle is a large bird of prey that can be found in Nevada’s mountains and deserts. These birds are known for their impressive size and strength and are capable of taking down large prey such as deer and bighorn sheep. Golden eagles are also considered a symbol of power and freedom in many cultures.
The rattlesnake is a venomous snake that can be found in many parts of Nevada. These snakes are known for their distinctive rattle, which they use to warn potential predators or prey. Rattlesnakes are generally shy and avoid humans, but can be dangerous if provoked.
The coyote is a small, adaptable predator that can be found throughout Nevada’s deserts and mountains. These animals are known for their distinctive yipping and howling calls, which can often be heard at night. Coyotes are opportunistic hunters and will eat a variety of prey including rodents, rabbits, and even larger animals like deer.
7. Pronghorn Antelope
The pronghorn antelope is a unique species of mammal that can be found in Nevada’s Great Basin Desert. These animals are known for their impressive speed and can run at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. Pronghorn antelope are also the fastest land animal in North America.
Best Places to Find Wild Animals in Nevada
Now that you are familiar with what Nevada has to offer in terms of wildlife, let us see where those animals live. Only then will you be able to spot them in their natural habitats.
1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Located just 17 miles outside of Las Vegas, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is a great place to spot desert wildlife, including the iconic desert tortoise. The area is also home to a variety of other wildlife such as coyotes, jackrabbits, and a variety of bird species. Visitors can explore the area through hiking, rock climbing, and scenic drives.
2. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area
The Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts and is also home to a large population of bighorn sheep. Visitors can hike along trails in the mountains and may catch a glimpse of these majestic animals grazing on the rocky terrain. The area is also home to a variety of other wildlife such as mountain lions, coyotes, and black bears.
3. Ruby Mountains
Located in northeastern Nevada, the Ruby Mountains are known for their large population of mountain lions. These elusive cats are rarely seen, but visitors to the area may be lucky enough to spot one on a hike or camping trip in the mountains. The Ruby Mountains are also home to a variety of other wildlife such as mule deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope.
4. Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge
The Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge is located in the eastern part of the state and is a great place to spot golden eagles. These birds can often be seen soaring over the refuge, which is home to a variety of other wildlife such as pronghorn antelope, coyotes, and a variety of waterfowl. Visitors can explore the refuge through hiking and wildlife viewing tours.
5. Great Basin National Park
The Great Basin National Park is located in eastern Nevada and is home to a variety of wildlife such as mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and mule deer. Visitors to the park can explore hiking trails and may catch a glimpse of these animals in their natural habitat. The park is also home to unique plant species and offers stargazing opportunities at night.
Nevada is home to a diverse range of wildlife, from iconic desert species like the desert tortoise and rattlesnake to larger predators like the mountain lion and bighorn sheep. Whether exploring Nevada’s mountains or its vast desert landscapes, you’re sure to encounter some of the state’s fascinating wildlife.