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Unique Wildlife In and Around Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon

Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon are two of the most popular travel destinations in the United States, attracting millions of visitors yearly to experience their beauty.

Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon provide visitors with breathtaking views and an endless array of bucket list activities, and also serve as a home to various unique desert animals ranging from large mammals to small reptiles!

Las Vegas Wildlife

Las Vegas, located in the southern region of Nevada, sits within the Mojave Desert and is surrounded by gorgeous mountainscapes.

A common misconception is that deserts are lifeless. However, deserts are actually biologically rich habitats! Wildlife in Las Vegas have learned to adapt to the harsh conditions of living in a barren landscape and arid environment.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

The Desert Bighorn Sheep also known as Nevada's state animal, can be easily spotted throughout the Las Vegas Valley. The Desert Bighorn Sheep is smaller and lighter than the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. They can live up to 6 to 8 years and can weigh anywhere from 90 to 180 pounds.

These interesting creatures have highly adapted to the mountainous desert landscape. Desert Bighorn Sheep can go for extended periods without water and possess unique hooves that allow them to trek along the rugged terrain.

American Kestrel

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in Nevada and is typically around 9 inches long. While this critter is relatively tiny, it is an accomplished hunter! The American Kestrel can often be seen hovering from a low height in the breeze and scanning its surroundings for insects, invertebrates, small rodents, and other birds. American Kestrels have reddish-brown backs and tails, blue-gray crowns, and two dark stripes on the sides of their heads.

Greater Roadrunner

The Greater Roadrunner is another tiny but mighty bird that can be seen scurrying around Las Vegas. At approximately 10 ounces in weight and 2 feet in height, this creature can outrun a human and feast on rodents, reptiles, small mammals, and insects. They contain long legs, a long and straight tail and neck, and a distinctive X-shaped footprint with two toes pointing forward and two backward.

Gila Monster

One of the most unique desert reptiles that you can stumble upon in and around Las Vegas is the Gila Monster. In fact, the Gila Monster is the beloved mascot for the NHL Vegas Golden Knights!

The Gila Monster is a giant and heavy lizard that can measure up to 22 inches. The Gila Monster is a species of venomous lizard native to the Southwestern United States. While sluggish, this creature is known for its quick bite and tenacious hold. They are black and contain a contrasting pink or orange pattern along their backs.

Desert Horned Lizard

The Desert Horned Lizard, referred to as the “horny toad,” are peculiar-looking lizards related to iguanas and primarily feasts on ants. The camouflage of these animals is spectacular, often precisely matching the colors of the surrounding terrain to avoid predators. However, if a predator should catch one, it may blow itself up with the air and appear like a spiny ball.

The Devils Hole Pupfish

Did you know that the rarest fish in the world is accessible from Las Vegas? The Devils Hole Pupfish is a critically endangered fish found only in Devils Hole, a water-filled cavern within the Mojave Desert. The Devils Hole Pupfish is the smallest pupfish species, averaging 0.9 inches in length, and primarily feeding on algae. The male and female pupfish differ in color as males tend to be dark brown and blue, whereas females are brown and yellow.

Grand Canyon Wildlife

Wildlife in and around Grand Canyon Arizona

Known for its unparalleled beauty, diverse landscape, and striking colors, the Grand Canyon is widely recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Due to its incredible size and extreme range of elevation, wildlife in the Grand Canyon is abundant!

Mule Deer

One of the most common animals found throughout Grand Canyon National Park is the Mule Deer. The Mule Deer is one of the most versatile animals at the Grand Canyon. It can be located across multiple habitats between forests, along the rim, and the Colorado River. These animals get their name from their mule-like ears.

Mule Deer will consume twigs and shrubs and grow to be approximately 3.5 feet tall and about 5 to 7 feet long. The main difference between a male and female Mule Deer is that the male has antlers. Male Mule Deer, also known as bucks, contain forked antlers, which they use to fight off competitors for mates.

Rock Squirrel

The Rock Squirrel is another popular animal found throughout the Grand Canyon and is considered the most dangerous! Rock Squirrels can be 17-21 inches in length, with a tail of up to 8 inches. Visitors are encouraged to avoid disturbing Rock Squirrels as they are known to bite or attack individuals that invade their space.

Rock Squirrels are social creatures and communicate with one another through greeting behavior such as sniffing, touching, and calling. These critters feast primarily on leaves, stems, and seeds and can withstand long periods without water.

Red-tailed Hawk

One of the most common birds of prey that you can see flying above the rim is the Red-tailed Hawk. The Red-tailed Hawk soars in wide circles over the Canyon and preys exclusively on ground animals. Typical prey for this bird includes rats, rabbits, squirrels, snakes, and ground birds.

Red-tailed Hawks can measure up to 26 inches long and approximately 2.5 pounds in weight. Most Red-tailed Hawks contain a cinnamon-red tail, rich brown above and pale below, with a streaked belly.

Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard

Another fun critter you can spot throughout the park is a Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard. This reptile is not poisonous and can be seen regularly along trails inside the Grand Canyon. They enjoy basking outside during the warm months and typically take shelter in winter.

These lizards tend to be much larger and can reach up to 12 inches in length. They are covered in large, pointed scales and are mostly yellow or tan. These creatures feed on ants, beetles, centipedes, and grasshoppers and hunt by striking their prey from a distance.

Canyon Tree Frog

The most commonly spotted amphibian at Grand Canyon National Park is the Canyon Tree Frog. The Canyon Tree Frog is native to rocky plateau areas and is often found on boulders near streams or streambeds. Adult Canyon Tree Frogs are tiny, typically 1-2 inches long.

The Canyon Tree Frog is blotchy, and its color varies between tan, gray, and green hues. However, when they are exposed to sunlight, they radiate a golden coat. In addition, adult Canyon Tree Frogs feed on ants, spiders, beetles, and flies. Young Canyon Tree Frogs are herbivores and feed on algae.

The next time you are in Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon, be on the lookout for some of these unique animals! In addition, a helicopter tour is a great way to witness wildlife between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon.


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