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Title: Wild Animals of Yellowstone National Park - Yellowstone Interpretive Series Number 1
Author: Brodrick, Harold J.
Language: English
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                             _WILD ANIMALS
                       YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK_

A presentation of general information on many of the mammals most
commonly seen in Yellowstone, illustrated with drawings of many of the
species described.

                           Harold J. Brodrick

                    Yellowstone Interpretive Series
                                Number 1


                       Yellowstone National Park
                       Yellowstone Park, Wyoming

                          Reprinted March 1959

This booklet is published by the Yellowstone Library and Museum
Association, a non-profit organization whose purpose is the stimulation
of interest in the educational and inspirational aspects of
Yellowstone’s history and natural history. The Association cooperates
with and is recognized by the National Park Service of the United States
Department of the Interior, as an essential operating organization. It
is primarily sponsored and operated by the Naturalist Division in
Yellowstone National Park.

As one means of accomplishing its aims the Association has published a
series of reasonably priced booklets which are available for purchase by
mail throughout the year or at the museum information desks in the park
during the summer.

  Number                           Title and Author

    1     _Wild Animals of Yellowstone National Park_ by Harold J. Brodrick
    2     _Birds of Yellowstone National Park_ by Harold J. Brodrick
    3     _Yellowstone Fishes_ by James R. Simon
    4     _The Story of Old Faithful Geyser_ by George D. Marler
    5     _Reptiles and Amphibians of Yellowstone National Park_ by
              Frederick B. Turner
    6     _Yellowstone’s Bannock Indian Trails_ by Wayne F. Replogle
    7     _The Story of Man in Yellowstone_ by Dr. M. D. Beal
    8     _The Plants of Yellowstone National Park_ by W. B. McDougall and
              Herma A. Baggley

Orders or letters of inquiry concerning publications should be addressed
to the Yellowstone Library and Museum Association, Yellowstone Park,

                         Copyright 1952 by the
               Yellowstone Library and Museum Association
                              Revised 1954



Visitors to Yellowstone have for many years found the larger mammals of
the region of unusual interest. The demand for some printed information
in general terms and at a reasonable cost have prompted the preparation
of this handbook.

The aim of this publication is to provide those interested with a few
facts about the more commonly seen mammals of Yellowstone. People want
to be better informed on the variety of animals found here; this
handbook should be helpful. It is hoped that the statements concerning
locations where certain species are most apt to be seen will assist many
people to enjoy the pleasures of watching these animals and observing
their interesting behavior. The illustrations and descriptions of the
various species are intended to aid in the identification of animals
seen for those not familiar with wildlife. If the book fulfills these
needs it will have served its purpose.


The assistance of Dr. C. Max Bauer, Chief, Geology Branch (retired),
National Park Service and of Chief Park Naturalist David de L. Condon in
making criticisms and suggestions on the material presented here is
acknowledged. The cooperation of the Yellowstone Library and Museum
Association in publishing the book is appreciated and I wish to thank
Yellowstone National Park for the use of copies of original paintings by
E. J. Sawyer for some of the illustrations. I also wish to acknowledge
the aid rendered by all others who participated in the editing and
completion of the manuscript for publication.


The scientific names used were taken from A FIELD GUIDE TO THE MAMMALS
by Burt and Grossenheider, and where subspecific names are used, they
were checked in the Journal of Mammalogy for current usage. The
authorities for each name are omitted here as not having any particular
interest to the non-professional. Those study specimens available in the
Yellowstone Museums were used as reference material. The title “Wild
Animals of Yellowstone National Park” is used, even though this book
treats only the mammals and omits dealing with other animal life forms.
The average person thinks of mammals as the animals and usually thinks
of other life forms by more specific names.

            Harold J. Brodrick
            April 1952 and
            May 1954

                             EDITOR’S NOTE

been revised by the Naturalist Staff at Yellowstone. The revisions
consist mainly of a revision to the scientific names of the animals to
bring them into conformance with more recent scientific nomenclature,
and also to bring some of the text material into conformance with
preferred American usage. These additions, corrections and deletions
have been made in accordance with either the United States Government
Printing Office Style Manual or Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
(1950). All of the generic and specific names have been changed to agree
with those in A Field Guide to the Mammals by Burt and Grossenheider.
Where subspecies are concerned, the Journal of Mammalogy has been used
as the authority.

                                                                May 1954

                         “I’LL TELL THE WORLD!”
                           THE ANIMALS ALONE
                         ARE WORTH YOUR TRIP TO

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

      Purpose                                                        iii
      Acknowledgments                                                iii
      Notes                                                          iii
      Editor’s Note                                                   iv
  INTRODUCTION                                                         1
      Pronghorn (Antelope)                                             3
      Bison (Buffalo)                                                  5
      Wapiti (Elk)                                                     7
      Moose                                                            9
      Deer                                                            11
      Bighorn                                                         12
      Black Bear                                                      14
      Grizzly Bear                                                    17
      Cougar                                                          20
      Coyote                                                          22
      Wolf                                                            24
      Marmot                                                          26
      Mantled Ground Squirrel                                         28
      Uinta Ground Squirrel                                           30
      Chipmunk                                                        34
      Pine Squirrel                                                   35
      Beaver                                                          37
      Otter                                                           40
      Mink                                                            42
      Marten                                                          42
      Porcupine                                                       44
      Badger                                                          46
      White-footed Mouse                                              49
      Meadow Mouse                                                    50
      Wood Rat                                                        53
      Muskrat                                                         54
      Pika                                                            56
      Cottontail                                                      57
      Snowshoe Rabbit                                                 59
      Jackrabbit                                                      61
  Additional Animal List
      Flying Squirrel                                                 63
      Weasel                                                          63
      Skunk                                                           63
      Red Fox                                                         64
      Bobcat                                                          64
      Lynx                                                            64
      Wolverine                                                       64
      Pocket Gopher                                                   65
      Jumping Mouse                                                   65
      Red-backed Mouse                                                65
      Shrews                                                          65
      Bats                                                            66
  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                        66


Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872 by an act
passed by the Congress of the United States of America. It is a
mountainous area mostly in the northwestern corner of Wyoming, with
small sections extending into Montana and Idaho. The area set aside as a
National Park is 3,471.51 square miles. It provides within its
boundaries environmental conditions which make it possible for many of
the mammals representative of the Rocky Mountains to carry out their
complete life cycle without fear of persecution by man.

The men that first conceived the idea of preserving the Yellowstone area
as a great National Park were primarily concerned with the preservation
of the natural wonders such as the geysers and hot spring phenomena, the
canyon and waterfalls, and the lakes. In those days little thought was
given to the need for preserving our wild animals. However, it soon
became apparent that the wild animals, once thought to be unlimited in
numbers, would have to have protection if they were going to be
preserved for future generations. Yellowstone soon became known nearly
as much for its wildlife as for its natural wonders.

The wild animals of Yellowstone National Park are widely distributed
over the park area, some of them being restricted to limited areas due
to the difference in elevation and the availability of the certain types
of habitat which they require, while others range over a wider part of
the park, especially during certain seasons of the year.

The higher mountain meadows are ideal summer ranges for the larger
mammals. These animals would normally work down into the lower country
outside of Yellowstone to the north for the winter. Since that area is
now mostly under fence they have been forced to do the best they can up
in the winter snows of the lower sections of the park. Bears and several
of the smaller animals go into hibernation as soon as or even before the
first snow squalls of winter appear so the long winter in the high
country holds no terrors for them.

It is the policy of the National Park Service to present these animals
to the visiting public in as near their natural environment as possible,
each species being left to carry on its normal existence unassisted
wherever possible. Unfortunately the lack of sufficient winter range
within the park for unlimited numbers of animals has made it necessary
that the numbers of bison, elk and antelope be controlled and management
practices be put into effect in order to hold the number down to the
carrying capacity of the range. So far these three species of animals
have presented the only problem as far as overpopulation is concerned.

Predatory animals, especially the coyote, wolf and mountain lion were at
one time controlled by hunting. The present policy is to let the
predators carry on their own normal life as it is believed to be best
for them and all other animals concerned and only in unusual
circumstances will any control measures be carried out.


                         Antilocapra americana

The Pronghorn or American Antelope was almost as well known as the
buffalo to the early settlers of the West. In fact it has been
estimated, by some, to have been present in nearly as large numbers as
the buffalo but never to have concentrated in such large herds.

It once ranged the territory from eastern Kansas, western Iowa and
Minnesota westward to the valleys of California and northern Mexico
northward to southern Saskatchewan and Alberta. It is a typical animal
of the plains and open rolling country—few animals are more fleet or
wary than the pronghorn. Unfortunately their curiosity in regard to any
object that they do not recognize or understand helped make them a
fairly easy mark for the hunters. Many are the tales of the pronghorns
being coaxed into gun range by their curiosity in a handkerchief or
strip of bright cloth waving in the breeze.

The pronghorn is the only antelope in the world with branched or pronged
horns and has the unique characteristic among all hollow-horned
ruminants of shedding the outer covering of the horns annually. In the
Yellowstone area this horny sheath sheds from the permanent bony core
usually during November or December. The core is covered with a blackish
skin, at first, then finally by the horny material that forms gradually
downward from the tip.

Another characteristic of these animals is a conspicuous rump patch
composed of white hairs, longer than any found elsewhere on the body.
Through development of certain muscles it is possible for the animal to
erect these white hairs until they stand out stiffly forming a dazzling
white rosette. This is done in times of excitement and is usually
considered a danger signal.

The tiny antelope kids are born in late May or June, usually twins but
sometimes one or three. During the first several days after birth they
remain carefully hidden in the grass but soon gain their strength and
are able to keep up with their mother. It is interesting to note that
antelope does occasionally seem to act as baby tenders for other does.
Observers have reported upon a number of occasions seeing from four to
six or seven kids following one doe without any other doe being visible
in the immediate vicinity; or sometimes two does may be together with
eight or ten young. The same practice has been observed with the

    [Illustration: Pronghorn]

Enemies are principally coyotes, bobcats, and eagles in the case of the

General description: A little smaller than the average deer, with simple
horns slightly curved and with one lateral prong. Horns present in both
sexes though smaller or sometimes lacking in the female. Color
reddish-brown or tan with darker brown to blackish mane, white rump and
whitish or creamy underparts. Males about 54 inches in length, height at
shoulder 34 to 36 inches and weight 100 to 125 pounds. Females smaller.

Terms: Male—buck; female—doe; young—kids.

Where found: Near Gardiner, between Gardiner and Mammoth, Swan Lake
Flats, Mammoth to Tower Fall, along Yellowstone River below the Canyon
and in the Lamar River valley and Slough Creek area. The park antelope
population fluctuates over the years from a minimum of about 200 animals
to a maximum of 800.

                            BISON (BUFFALO)
                              Bison bison

The Yellowstone Park Bison or Buffalo is one of the remnant groups of
the former millions that once roamed over the country between the
Atlantic Ocean and the Rocky Mountains.

Gradually pushed backward or killed by the advancing line of the
settlements they were finally confined to the plains areas west of the
Mississippi, where, in the period shortly before and after the Civil
War, great numbers were slaughtered yearly until the seemingly countless
herds were thoughtlessly reduced to a straggling few. In fact, they were
almost exterminated before a relatively small group of persons became
conscious of the condition and through continued efforts were able to
bring about the preservation of a few small herds, herds that through
careful protection and management have now increased to possibly 25,000
head, mainly in Canada. With the exception of the beaver, the bison
played a more important role in the life of the Indian and the settler
than any other animal in the country.

The bison, while doing well under management practices, has fortunately
resisted domestication. They are of very uncertain disposition and it is
dangerous to approach them closely on foot.

Protected by a coat of thick hair, quite shaggy on the foreparts, the
bison is able to withstand the severest weather of winter. He doesn’t
seem to mind as long as it is possible to paw or root down through the
snow to reach the grass beneath.

    [Illustration: Bison]

The single bison calf is usually born between April and June, and at
first is red brown in color, short necked but without the noticeable
hump of its mother. They are hardy and playful and soon able to follow
the herd. Mother very carefully watches her calf and protects it at all

General description: A large, ox-like animal with large head and short
curved horns, a high hump at the shoulder and very heavy forequarters.
Dark brown in color, hair very shaggy on the foreparts. Bulls total
length about 11 feet, height at shoulder 70 inches and weight 1800
pounds or more. Cows about 7 feet in length, 60 inches height and 800 to
1200 pounds in weight. Both sexes have horns but those of the cows are

Terms: Male—bull; female—cow; young—calf.

Where found: East of Tower Junction along the Lamar River and northward.
A herd on Pelican Creek, one ranging in Hayden Valley, and another in
the Lower Geyser Basin. During the summer months small numbers may
occasionally be seen along the Gibbon River, Madison River, in the Lower
Geyser Basin, in Hayden Valley and along the east shore of the lake
between Fishing Bridge and Lake Butte. The larger herds go into the
higher country during the summer and are seldom seen.

An attempt is made through management operations to maintain a park
population of from 1000 to 1200 of these animals.

                              WAPITI (ELK)
                           Cervus canadensis

The American Elk or Wapiti is, with the exception of the moose, the
largest member of the deer family in North America. Once widely
distributed over much of North America it has now been eliminated from
most of its former range until now the Yellowstone region has the
largest number of wapiti to be found in the world. There are smaller
numbers in scattered places in the Rocky Mountains from northern New
Mexico to Montana, Idaho, Washington and Manitoba, with small introduced
herds in other places.

The elk is the most polygamous of the deer family. In the fall each bull
tries to collect the largest harem he can and many spectacular fights
result from the clash of rivals that may try to rob each other of a part
of the herd. It isn’t long, however, until the bulls forget their
rivalry and, leaving the cows, they get together by themselves until the
next fall.

    [Illustration: Elk]

In the past elk were in the habit of feeding up into the mountains
during the summer and migrating to lower country for the winter. The
westward-moving settlers gradually took over the winter range for
agriculture and forced the elk to remain in the mountains throughout the
year. Winter hardships have been severe and many of them have died of
starvation. This lack of winter range has always been a serious problem
in caring for both the northern and southern Yellowstone herds. They
depend more upon grass as food than the other members of the deer

The cow elk has one, rarely two young at a time, which are born in May
and June. At first they are weak and so are kept hidden for several days
until able to keep up with their mother. The young are spotted for the
first few months, but lose their markings by late summer.

General description: A very large deer with a shaggy mane and short
tail. The males with widely branching antlers which are shed annually;
females do not have antlers. In color the sexes are slightly different.
The males have head and neck a dark chestnut brown, sides and back a
yellowish to brownish gray. Females less strongly marked but both with a
large straw-colored rump patch. Males much larger than females. Total
length. Males 115 inches, height at shoulder 60 inches, weight 700 to
1000 pounds. Females 88 inches in length, 56 inches in height, and 500
to 600 pounds in weight.

Terms: Male—bull; female—cow; young—calf.

Where found: The elk migrate to the higher meadows during the summer but
some are usually to be seen in the meadows along the Madison River, the
small meadows between Mammoth and Old Faithful, between Norris and
Canyon, and from the Lake to the East Entrance. The over all summer park
population usually equals or exceeds 15,000 animals.

                        Alces americana shirasi

The Moose is the largest of our North American deer. The Shiras Moose
which is found in Yellowstone and surrounding areas is slightly smaller
than the typical American moose, which is found in the northern states
east of the Rockies and north to the Arctic. In Europe the moose found
there is commonly called elk. This has of course resulted in some
confusion between it and our animal known as the elk.

The large, ungainly and grotesque appearing moose is very unlike the
graceful deer. The ugly face with its long nose, high and heavy
shoulders and much smaller hindquarters, and the long legs all tend to
make its appearance seem a caricature. But in spite of his size,
appearance, and his mighty spread of antlers, the bull moose can, if he
chooses, drift through the woodland as quiet as a mouse; then again he
may give the sound effect of a herd of elephants on a stampede.

Marshy meadows and the margins of lakes or streams are the favorite
summer haunts of the moose. His usual summer diet consists of the
various aquatic plants and his long legs are of great assistance in
wading for the plants as well as helping him get through the deep snows
of winter. The moose is better fitted to withstand the rigors of winter
than the deer and elk and is accustomed to remaining in higher country
during the winter. During such times his food is made up of the foliage,
twigs and bark of trees and shrubs. Moose are powerful swimmers and dive
for aquatic plants if the water is too deep for wading.

The moose calf is born late in May or June, usually one the first year
and frequently twins thereafter, but rarely triplets. They remain with
their mother during the first year. She is very protective and does not
hesitate to attack any animal or human that she thinks may harm the
calves. In fact, any moose has a very uncertain temper and it is not
wise to approach one too closely.

    [Illustration: Moose]

General description: A large, dark-colored animal with heavy humped
shoulders, a large head with broad, pendulous muzzle, large ears; throat
with a hanging growth of skin and hair called the “bell.” Males with
broad, heavy, palmate antlers which are shed annually; average spread 52
to 58 inches; females do not have antlers. Total length of animal about
9 feet, height at shoulder 66 to 78 inches and weight 900 to 1400
pounds. Females about three quarters the size of males. Color
blackish-brown with pale brown along the back and pale ears; legs washed
with tawny gray.

Terms: Male—bull; female—cow; young—calf.

Where found: Most likely to be seen in Swan Lake Flat and Willow Park
between Mammoth and Norris; in the Dunraven Pass area; along Lewis River
above Lewis Canyon and between Fishing Bridge and the East Entrance.
Active all day but they are best seen early in the morning or in late
afternoon and evening. Moose are also numerous in the Falls River Basin,
Pelican Creek, Slough Creek areas and along the Yellowstone River above
the Lake. These animals are thought to number between 500 and 700 for
the entire park area and seem to maintain a rather constant level.

                               MULE DEER
                          Odocoileus hemionus

The Rocky Mountain Mule Deer, or Blacktail Deer, is a popular animal in
the park. The Whitetail deer also was sometimes found in the lower
elevations in earlier times but has not been seen in the park for some
years. The mule deer gets its name from the family characteristic of the
very large mule-like ears.

    [Illustration: Rocky Mountain Mule Deer]

Mule deer are generally distributed over most of the park during the
summer but do not tend to go above timberline as much as do the elk. In
the winter they drift down to the lower, more protected ranges, but, not
in migratory herds as the elk do.

Their food consists of grass, twigs, foliage of trees and shrubs, plants
and fruits. They especially like leaves and buds and sometimes prove
destructive to the shrubbery about the developed areas where the
landscaping must be protected.

The fawns, one, frequently two and occasionally three in number, are
born in late May to July. They are beautiful little spotted creatures
that are kept hidden for a time until able to follow their mother. Quite
frequently people, upon finding a fawn hidden in the bushes, take it
away thinking that something has happened to its mother. This should not
be done for it almost invariably does much more harm than good. Once in
a while something does happen to the mother but in most cases she is not
far away and will return to the fawn when the proper time comes.

General description: A rather large deer with large ears; antler tines
pronged; tip of tail black. Female without antlers. Males shed their
antlers sometime between December and April annually. Summer color tawny
to yellowish brown with large patch of white on rump, throat white. In
the winter they are dark gray instead of brownish. Males, total length
68 inches, height at shoulder 42 inches and weight 150 to 200 pounds for
the average buck. Females smaller.

Terms: Male—buck; female—doe; young—fawn.

Where found: In the summertime they are well scattered over the park and
may possibly be seen along the trails at the edges of open meadows along
the roadside, or near developed areas, day or night. The population
varies from year to year and of recent years from a maximum of 1200 to a
minimum of about 600.

                            Ovis canadensis

An interesting inhabitant of the roughest, rockiest mountain country as
well as the high arctic alpine meadows is the Bighorn or Rocky Mountain
Sheep. The sure-footedness with which they will dash, in full flight, up
or down seemingly impossible slopes is truly amazing. Negotiating with
ease places that the most skillful mountaineer, with all his climbing
equipment, can scale only by slow and laborious means. Even the
picturesque ram with his great recurved horns can leap from point to
point with grace and agility.

It might well be mentioned here that the fable of the ram habitually
jumping and landing on his horns is not true. They are used, however, as
fighting equipment and the shock they can withstand is terrific as the
rams square off about thirty yards apart, then dash at each other until
they collide head-on with all the speed and power they can muster. This
continues until one or the other finally retires groggily from the
scene. The ewe also has horns but they are short and only slightly

    [Illustration: Bighorn]

Bighorns eat practically any of the plant life that grows within their
domain, which is preferably near and above timber line in the
summertime. There they remain during the summer. In the winter they
select either open, windswept slopes that will be kept free from snow or
else drift down to the lower, more protected places in the valleys.

The bighorn ewe has one or two lambs which are born in the spring. Their
lambs soon learn to play like our domestic sheep, and before they are
very old are given their mountain-climbing lessons by watchful mothers.
When still quite small they can follow the band with almost as much
skill as the older ones.

Their ancient enemies are the wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats
and, in the case of the young, the eagles. In Yellowstone, wolves, lions
and bobcats are now rare in occurrence. These create a hazardous life
for the mountain sheep. Then with the addition of man and his impact
upon them they have had trouble even holding their own and in recent
years are threatening to become another of our vanishing species,
especially because of the keen competition with elk for forage.

General description: A large, blocky wild sheep, covered with a thick
coat of hair, not wool, brownish to grayish brown in color with a
creamy-white rump. Males with massive horns which curl back, out,
downward then forward and up. Females with more slender, short and
slightly curved horns. Total length five to six feet, 38 to 42 inches in
height at shoulder and 200 to 300 pounds in weight. Females smaller.

Terms: Male—ram; female—ewe; young—lamb.

Where found: Summer in higher mountain ridges especially around Mt.
Washburn, Quadrant Mountain and on Sepulchre Mountain. In winter they
usually migrate down lower especially to the Mt. Everts section between
Mammoth and Gardiner. They are often seen in the vicinity of the
junction of the Lamar and Yellowstone Rivers and occasionally near Oxbow
Creek. Of recent years the Yellowstone population seems to be declining.
The population has changed from an estimated maximum of about 400 to an
estimated minimum of 170.

                               BLACK BEAR
                            Ursus americanus

The question most frequently asked by the park visitor is, “Where can I
see a bear?” For this natural born clown of the woods is probably our
best known park animal. The black bear is smart and quickly adapts
himself to a life of comparative ease. Why rustle for a living when a
few antics and a little begging about the camps or along the roadside
will produce a nice array of scraps or sweets, thinks he.

That is when the trouble starts for both bear and visitor. For Mr. Bear,
regardless of how friendly he may seem, is a dangerous, wild animal,
capable of inflicting severe injury by one blow of his powerful paw or a
bite from his well-armed jaws. A visitor who feeds or even approaches a
bear too closely not only is risking injury to himself but is
contributing to a condition that may cause the injury of an innocent
visitor in the future. He also is violating regulations which have been
established in an attempt to provide protection for the visitor and the

Once fed, the bear continues to expect food. He prowls around the camps
and a smell of food is an invitation to break into cabin, tent or car,
which he can and does do with comparative ease. The offenses he commits
pile up—injuries to persons, damage to property—until the offender must
be either taken for a long ride or shot. One less bear for a visitor to
see, yet the visitor has done much to cause this by his failure to
observe the rules against feeding these animals. Every year a long list
of personal injuries, varying from slight to serious occur. Property
damage incidents accumulate in ever-increasing numbers. For your safety,
for the safety of other visitors and the sake of the bear do not feed,
molest, tease or treat him as a pet. Help to keep them as a natural part
of our wildlife.

The cinnamon and brown bears of this country are simply color phases of
the black bear, the blonds and brunettes of the family. The various
graduations of color are frequently intermixed in the same family; hence
it is a common occurrence to see a black bear female with brown cubs, a
brown and a black cub, or even all three colors.

The bears hibernate during the winter months, usually from late October
or November to March or April depending upon the weather conditions. In
the fall they put on a thick layer of fat which furnishes the needed
nourishment during the winter. During this hibernation they are not in a
deep sleep as has sometimes been thought; they remain conscious and
although sleepy are frequently restless and move around occasionally.
Hibernation dens are usually in caves, or under windfalls, buildings or
other protected places.

    [Illustration: American Black Bear]

It is during hibernation that the young are born, usually in January. At
first the cubs are very small, only about eight inches long, weighing
from eight to twelve ounces and are naked, blind and helpless. The black
bear usually has two cubs though occasionally one, three or four. The
cubs grow rapidly and are able to follow their mother around when she
comes out of hibernation. If mother is a highway or camp beggar the cubs
soon learn it too and then the trouble starts. The female bear is a good
mother and it is extremely dangerous to come between her and the cubs.
She makes the cubs mind, spanking them vigorously if they fail to do so.
The cubs hibernate with their mother their first winter and are then
usually weaned by the next summer. The female black bear has a new
litter of cubs only every two or three years.

These animals are omnivorous, eating anything that comes their way,
grass, fruit, berries, roots, mammals, birds, carrion, grubs and ants,
fish, frogs etc.

General description: A medium-sized bear, with considerable variation in
color, from glossy black to cinnamon brown or yellowish, often with a
brown muzzle. Claws of forefeet curved and slightly longer than those of
hind feet. Its generally smaller size, straight facial profile and lack
of shoulder hump distinguishes the black from the grizzly bear. Adult
blacks can climb trees readily. Sexes are alike in appearance, with
total length of about 60 inches, tail 5 inches, height at shoulder from
25 to 35 or more inches and weight from 200 to 400 pounds, occasionally

Terms: Male—boar; female—sow; young—cubs.

Where found: Throughout the park, though most frequently seen in the
vicinity of camps and cabin areas. It is possible to see them any time
night or day but it is dangerous to approach them too closely at any
time; a mother with cubs is doubly dangerous. Extreme care should be
used in parking to watch bears so that you do not create a highway
traffic hazard which endangers the lives of others. Do not permit the
bear to approach closely. Never place yourself or others in a position
of danger with respect to these animals.


                              GRIZZLY BEAR
                         Ursus horribilis ssp.

There are probably more Grizzlies in Yellowstone Park now than in any
other area of the United States. Elsewhere they have been reduced by
extensive hunting. Members of this genus are the largest and most
formidable of the carnivorous animals of North America. The variety
found in the park is probably surpassed in size only by the Giant Brown
Bear of Alaska and the White Bear of the Arctic seas.

    [Illustration: Grizzly Bear]

Fortunately the Yellowstone grizzly is inclined to mind his own business
and is not addicted to the panhandling or clowning traits of the black
bear. He does sometimes come into the camps and cabin areas in search of
food but generally is seen only rarely by visitors. In the woods, if
given a reasonable chance, he will move away from your vicinity.
However, a grizzly surprised at close range will frequently charge the
person, surprising him. In this event a tree is the safest place to
attain as the adult grizzly is unable to climb trees.

The grizzly is a large animal but in spite of this is able to travel
with tremendous speed and can outrun a horse for a short distance. He is
powerful enough to kill elk and other large animals and he does
doubtless occasionally attack large mammals if the opportunity seems
favorable. He often takes sick or feeble animals or young ones. However,
the grizzly is usually content to make a diet of grass, roots, berries,
fruits, mushrooms, ants, mice, rats, gophers and other small animals and
any carrion he happens to find. In areas outside of the park occasional
individuals have been known to kill cattle, sheep and hogs.

The grizzly hibernates like the black bear, although frequently at
higher elevations, where the period is longer due to weather conditions.

Grizzly cubs are born in January and are blind, naked and helpless, and
weigh possibly as much as a pound at birth. One or two, and occasionally
three or four, are born in each litter. Litters usually occur every
second or third year. A grizzly cub can climb trees readily until he is
about a year old, after that his claws become too long and blunt and he
loses his inclination for climbing.

General description: A large heavily built bear with a dished face that
gives a concave profile, a broad head and a hump at the shoulders. Tail
short, claws long and slightly curved with whitish or yellowish streaks.
Color subject to seasonal and individual variation, yellowish brown to
blackish with a sprinkling of whitish or silvery-tipped hairs. In winter
the coat appears grayer with the silver hairs more pronounced, hence the
name Silvertip. Underparts are colored the same except for lacking the
grizzling. Sexes colored alike but the females are somewhat smaller in
size than males. Males are six to eight feet in length, tail two inches,
with height at shoulder from three to nearly four feet. The weight
varies from 350 to 900 pounds with some individuals running to nearly
1200 pounds.

Terms: Male—boar; female—sow; young—cubs.

Where found: Throughout the park but most common near the Canyon,
Fishing Bridge and Old Faithful. Usually stirring around most frequently
in the evening or during the night.

                             Felis concolor

Mountain Lion, Panther, Puma or Painter are other names applied to this,
the largest of our North American unspotted cats.

In spite of blood-tingling tales to the contrary, under normal
conditions the cougar is a harmless animal as far as man is concerned.
For unless wounded or cornered it is extremely shy and is one of the
most difficult of wild animals to see under normal circumstances.
Physically it is quite capable of killing an unarmed person but
generally its inclinations are to very carefully avoid humans instead.
However, if wounded, in defending its young, or treed in the chase this
cat should be respected.

The cougar is frequently a wide-ranging hunter and its hunting territory
may be the area in a radius of thirty to fifty miles from the home den.
For that reason it is widely distributed and does not become very
numerous in any comparatively small area.

The range of the cougar is comparable with that of the various species
of deer since they and the other larger mammals of that type are the
cougars’ preferred food. They have been found to be quite destructive to
domestic stock also and have been extensively hunted for that reason.
Normally the cougar does not kill more than it needs at a time and is
known to cache the uneaten portion of a carcass for future use. However,
occasional animals have acquired reputations as killers.

A cougar’s den is usually in a cave but may be in the shelter of
windfalls if a suitable cave is lacking. Here the young, from one to
three or four in number, averaging two, are born. They are generally
born in late winter or early spring, but may be born in any month of the
year. Like our domestic cat, the cougar is a playful animal; adults as
well as young have been found to be rather easily tamed. The young are
spotted for approximately six months after birth.

    [Illustration: Cougar]

General description: A very large cat with a proportionally small head
and a long cylindrical tail. Body long, lithe and powerful. Fur soft and
rather short, of a tawny or dull yellowish-brown color. The males are
somewhat larger than females. Length 7 or 8 feet and weight about 150

Terms: Male—tom or lion; female—lioness; young—cubs or kittens.

Where found: Rare in the park and has seldom been seen. Ranges the
timbered mountain areas and may be about during the daytime but most
usually in the evening or night. Its scream is supposed to be
blood-curdling but that of the bobcat has probably been mistaken for the
cougar on frequent occasions. Cougars have been reported so rarely and
their sign seen so little that they are considered one of the rarest of
animals in the park.

                             Canis latrans

The “little wolf” was a common sight on the western prairies in earlier
times, his nightly serenade ringing out from the summits of the buttes
through which the lonely trails wound. In spite of the persecution by
man the coyote is just as common, even now, in many parts of his range,
and even in the more settled farming areas his intelligence and wily
ways have enabled him to continue a precarious existence.

Coyotes are not only accused of making serious depredations on game
animals but on domestic animals as well. It is true that they have
caused damage in stock-growing areas among sheep, poultry and young
animals, for in such areas other food is scarce. The coyotes of
Yellowstone were originally blamed for serious wildlife losses until the
results of careful research proved differently. This research has shown
us that the chief food of the coyote consists of marmots, picket-pins,
mice, rabbits and other small animals as well as carrion. Seldom are
larger wild animals killed other than the young, the old, sick or
crippled that are comparatively easy prey. It was customarily assumed
that when coyotes were seen on a carcass that they were the cause of the
death, when actually many of the animals died from other causes before
the coyotes found them.

In fact, the elimination of the coyotes, it is thought by some, would
mean the increase of rodents to such an extent that we would be faced
with a serious problem of over-population of them, as well as a probable
increase in disease among the larger animals. The deer, elk and others
of the larger animals, in good physical condition, are capable of
killing the coyote and it is a frequent sight to see several of them
chasing a coyote instead of being chased. An over-population of coyotes
can become a menace to any animal, large or small, and in some instances
control of coyote numbers has been found necessary.

    [Illustration: Coyote]

The coyote home is in some little cave or cavity among rocks or a burrow
in the ground. The five to seven young are born in April and are well
cared for by both parents. By August they are nearly full grown and are
hunting in family groups. Come winter the young disperse to new range
areas and have been known to travel many miles from their place of

General description: A rather small, slender animal resembling a
shepherd dog in general appearance, with a fairly long and heavy coat,
coarsely grizzled buffy, grayish and black, almost yellowish in some
subspecies; underparts lighter. Tail large and bushy. Males larger than
females. Total length 3½ to 4½ feet; height at shoulder 16 to 18 inches
and weight 35 to 45 pounds.

Here in Yellowstone large coyotes are frequently mistaken for the gray
wolf which is very rare. However, the wolf is a much larger, heavier and
more powerful animal, weighing from 80 to 100 or more pounds and is 5½
or more feet in length.

Terms: Male—dog; female—bitch; young—pups.

Where found: Throughout the park at practically all elevations. Most
frequently seen in the open meadows in daytime or evening. Howls most
often during the night. Often seen in the winter on the lower range
lands, especially around or near the carcasses of animals which have
died and become carrion.

                               GRAY WOLF
                              Canis lupus

To many weary emigrants crouched beside their campfires along the rutted
wagon trails which lead onward into the west and to many lonely
homesteaders sitting in their cabins on a wintry night the eerie sound
of the long deep howl of the Gray Wolf, drifting along on the night
wind, gave a feeling of foreboding and a threat of the sinister.
Actually the wolf’s howl is very much like that of a large dog and the
wild setting is required to give the feeling that it imparts to the

This animal has been known under the various names of Gray Wolf; Timber
Wolf; Lobo; Loafer and Buffalo Wolf.

    [Illustration: Gray Wolf]

Once widely distributed over most of the United States the several
species of wolves have been exterminated over most of their range and
are now restricted to a few of the more remote areas. The wolf is almost
entirely carnivorous in food habits with a preference for the larger
wild animals and domestic stock when available and so has been
persistently hunted by man. Due to their larger size, appetites and
different characteristics from those of the coyote the wolves were not
able to adapt themselves to the inroads of civilization and so have been
pushed continually farther back into the unsettled areas and may soon
vanish entirely from the scene.

Wolves became rather numerous at different times in the earlier days of
this park’s history. They were persistently hunted during the period of
the Army administration and for a time after the National Park Service
took over the administration, until the time that the policy of letting
the predators carry on their own natural existence unmolested was
established. During this first period the numbers of the wolves were so
depleted that today they are very rare in the park area.

Park visitors frequently mistake one of the larger coyotes for a wolf
and report it as such. But to a person familiar with both animals there
is a decided difference. The average wolf is nearly twice as heavy as a
coyote, larger and more powerful, with larger legs and feet and a
broader head and muzzle. They are seldom seen from the highways except
possibly in the winter and there have been no more than one or two
authentic sight records of the animals or their tracks reported annually
in recent years.

Wolves ordinarily utilize either a natural cave, a hollow log, a hole
dug in the ground by themselves or one dug by other animals, for a
nursery den. According to several authorities, the nest for the young is
not lined with any material. The young, numbering from 3 to 13 but
usually 6 to 8, are born in March or April. They are blind and nearly
naked. Most evidence found in available literature indicates that the
adults pair permanently and the male assists in securing food for the

General description: Much like a large dog, larger, heavier and more
powerful than the coyote. There is no color difference between males and
females and the individual varies little if any in color during the
different seasons of the year. However, there is a great color variation
between different individuals, the color ranging from gray, either light
or dark, sprinkled with black or darkish on upper parts and yellowish
white underparts to dark and almost black individuals. Males are
largest, averaging from 75 to 100 pounds or more in weight and over five
feet in length. Females from 60 to 80 pounds and slightly under five

Term: Male—dog; female—bitch; young—pups.

Where found: Might be encountered in various sections of the park but
most recent records are from the northeast part from Canyon north and
east to Lamar River and Slough Creek drainages. Probably follow the elk
herds in the winter.

                         GOLDEN-MANTLED MARMOT
                     Marmota flaviventris nosophora

The Golden-mantled Marmot is one of the familiar animals of Yellowstone.
Known to many people as a woodchuck or groundhog, the Yellowstone
representatives never worry about whether they will see their shadow on
the proverbial groundhog day. They remain snug in their beds for they
know that they don’t want to come out for another six weeks or more

In fact, they spend over half of their life sleeping, for they hibernate
from about the first of September until early April. The summer months
are then spent in accumulating a layer of fat to carry them through the
next long sleep.

    [Illustration: Marmot]

Marmots are found throughout the park at all altitudes wherever suitable
rocky slopes can be found. They are commonly seen from the highway on
rock piles or near culverts. Such areas provide the most suitable
protection since they are slow and fat and easily caught if found too
far away from a safe retreat. Easily tamed, they soon adjust themselves
to the presence of numerous visitors and even congregate in the vicinity
of lodges and cabin areas where shelter under buildings is handy and
scraps of food are plentiful.

The marmot well deserves its early name of “Whistler” for his piercing
warning whistle is commonly heard whenever anything startles him. And
immediately upon hearing it every other marmot in the vicinity pops his
head up for a quick look, then starts for home. Their favorite retreat
is on a rock or knoll or log, near the home entrance, where a good view
of the surrounding area can be had. Bears, badgers, coyotes, lynxes and
some of the larger hawks are their principal enemies.

Their food consists of vegetation of various kinds, clover, grass,
seeds, and foliage of native plants as well as cultivated crops when
such are within their feeding range. In some instances marmots have
proved quite destructive to gardens and other crops.

The marmot’s home is either in a burrow dug in open ground or under
boulders or in cavities under rockslides. In this den, the young,
numbering from four to six, are born in May. The adults usually
hibernate earlier in the season than the young as it takes the latter a
little longer to get the necessary accumulation of fat to sustain them
over the winter.

General description: A large rodent with a heavy-set body and short
tail. Head broad and short, ears low and rounded, fur long and coarse.
The color is ochraceous above and reddish below with golden-buff mantle
on the anterior back. The males are about 24 inches in length, maximum
weight about 10 pounds. Females a little smaller.

Where found: Throughout the park at all elevations except in
heavy-timbered areas. They are out at any time during daylight hours.

                     Citellus lateralis cinerascens

This Ground Squirrel is frequently mistaken for a chipmunk although
quite a bit larger in size. This mistaken identity is chiefly due to the
stripes on the side of the back. It must be remembered, however, that
the real chipmunk has stripes on the face also which this ground
squirrel does not have. They do look and behave much like big chipmunks,
especially resembling the chipmunk of the eastern states.

The Mantled Ground Squirrel seldom climbs much above the ground and
lives in burrows or crevices in the rocks or under logs. They prefer
grassy, open, forested areas rather than open meadows.

    [Illustration: Mantled Ground Squirrel]

These little animals are quite easily tamed and soon learn to hang
around camps and parking areas where they wait to be fed. They are
equipped with cheek pouches which they fill until they appear to have an
extra bad case of the mumps.

They hibernate in the late summer or early autumn and emerge again the
following April. A supply of food is stored during the summer season;
however, the heavy layer of fat acquired is the nourishment for the
winter sleep.

Only one litter of from four to seven young is born each season, usually
during May.

Their food consists of seeds, grain, buds, green vegetation, insects and
their larvae, and occasionally young birds, eggs and mice. Chief enemies
are hawks and the various small carnivores.

General description: A small to medium sized ground-dwelling squirrel,
larger and more robust than chipmunks but not as heavily built as the
Uinta Ground Squirrel. Tail about half as long as the head and body,
flat and bushy. Color of upper parts dark chestnut red mantle bordering
which are light-gray stripes with black on either side of the light
stripe; under parts yellow to yellowish-white. Upper parts grayer in
winter. No stripes on side of head. Length about 11 inches. Sexes alike.

Where found: Generally distributed over the park and is best seen around
camps and woodland margins. Active in daytime only.

                         UINTA GROUND SQUIRREL
                            Citellus armatus

This Ground Squirrel, commonly called Picket-pin, is abundant throughout
most of the open, grassy valleys of the park. It comes into lawns and
frequently lives under nearby buildings.

The picket-pin is extremely curious and the sight of any strange object
or movement immediately has him standing rigidly on tip-toe to examine
whatever attracted his attention. This position he assumes does so
resemble the appearance of a pin to which some horse was previously
tethered that the reason for the origin of his name can readily be seen.

These little animals spend over half of their lives sleeping in their
snug underground nests. They spend the summer accumulating a heavy layer
of fat and then go into hibernation late in August to emerge the
following April.

The young, from five to fourteen in number, are born in May or June.
Only one litter a year is born; however, this species is so numerous and
prolific that its many enemies can hardly keep it in check.

Most common enemies are badgers, coyotes, bears, foxes, weasels, hawks
and most small carnivores. These all depend upon the picket-pin for at
least part if not considerable of their diet during the summer and they
frequently are dug out after they are in hibernation. This control is
beneficial since the picket-pin is a host to the wood tick carrying
spotted fever.

The food of the ground squirrel is chiefly seeds, nuts, grain, green
vegetation, roots, insects and larvae with occasionally young birds,
mammals and eggs. It stores grain and seeds in underground storerooms
for emergency use the following spring as it does not eat during the
winter hibernation.

General description: A terrestrial, burrowing squirrel with short tail
and small ears, body robust with short limbs. Tail about one-quarter the
total length, flat and moderately bushy. Color mixed gray and black with
a wash of dark brown on the back; underparts gray washed buffy. Sexes
alike. Total length about 11 inches.

Where found: Open, grassy areas throughout the valleys of the park.
Active in daytime only.

    [Illustration: Uinta Ground Squirrel]



    CAMPING is permitted throughout Yellowstone National Park on
    specially designated camp sites easily recognized by signs. Leave
    clean grounds for the next camper.

                              Eutamias sp.

One of the most active and interesting of the smaller animals of the
park. This genus is represented in the park by three species.

    [Illustration: Chipmunk]

Chipmunks are chiefly terrestrial in habit although they can and do
frequently climb into low trees and bushes. The different species of
Western Chipmunks vary greatly in their preferred habitat from sagebrush
flats to heavily wooded areas. Each type of environment has its distinct
type of chipmunk.

The color patterns of the chipmunks vary, each type having its own
distinctive pattern; however, the group as a whole is distinguished from
other squirrels by the stripes on both body and face. The smaller ground
squirrels may have some stripes on the body but do not have striped

Chipmunks are universal favorites with visitors. Lively, interesting,
and full of curiosity, they are quite easily tamed and soon learn to
frequent the picnic areas and campgrounds. Here they take their toll of
food bits from each group of people, either eating it on the spot or
carrying it away to store for future use.

Their food consists mainly of seeds, berries, nuts, buds, some insects
and any food scraps they may chance to find around camps. Their winter
stores are located close to their nest, in underground cavities.

The chipmunks are not active outside during the stormy periods of winter
but since they do not become fat in the fall and use some of their food
stores during the winter it is not thought that they go into a complete
period of hibernation like some of the other animals. Exactly what they
do and how they live in Yellowstone during the winter, however, remains
yet to be determined.

Their nest is made underground as they burrow into the earth at the foot
of a stump, log or rock. In this nest the litter of four to six young
are born in the spring. It is not likely that they have more than one
litter a year here in the north.

The following forms of Chipmunks are found in Yellowstone Park:

          Buff-bellied Chipmunk—Eutamias amoenus luteiventris

This is the abundant little striped chipmunk seen throughout most of the
park along the roads and trails and around camp sites. Upper parts with
five dark and four light longitudinal stripes from shoulder to base of
tail. Median stripe from crown to root of tail. Whitish stripes bordered
by dark, above and below eye. Underparts buffy; color rich; 8½ inches
over-all length.

                    Uinta Chipmunk—Eutamias umbrinus

Generally scattered over the park but not as common as the above. Larger
in size, 10 inches over-all length; under parts whitish and stripes not
as conspicuous as in the Buff-bellied.

             Wasatch Chipmunk—Eutamias minimus consobrinus

These little chipmunks were reported by Bailey to be found near
Yellowstone Lake and near the eastern and southern boundaries of the
park in high, open valleys. They are hard to distinguish from the
buff-bellied chipmunk, as their white belly is somewhat concealed. They
are slightly smaller in size. A gray form of this species has been
reported from Swan Lake Flat but it is probably rare.

                             PINE SQUIRREL
            Wind River Mountains Red Squirrel, or Chickaree
                    Tamiasciurus hudsonicus ventorum

These little animals are abundant throughout the forested sections of
the park. Lively and noisy, they immediately give voice to a tirade of
scolding and chattering at the approach of an outsider to their domain.

    [Illustration: Pine Squirrel]

Friendly by nature they become quite tame wherever the park visitors are
found, especially such areas as provide an opportunity to pick up chance
bits of food. Alert and inquisitive they pry into anything that attracts
their attention.

This squirrel has been frequently accused of destroying the nests of its
bird neighbors and eating the eggs and young. This is true to some
extent, especially among certain individuals. However, some of this
damage is compensated by their unintentional benefit in assisting in
reforestation. Cones and seeds that are buried for winter use are
frequently overlooked and some of these later germinate and grow.

Pine squirrels do not hibernate during the winter and are active at all
times except during periods of storms. They build warm nests either in
hollow trees, woodpecker holes, or balls of leaves and fibers firmly
anchored among the branches of a tree. They industriously collect large
stores of cones for the winter food supply. These are either stored in
hollows or more often buried in storage pits in the ground. After the
ground is covered with its winter blanket of snow the squirrels make
numerous tunnels under the snow which gives them access to the storage
places and act as a protected place where they can scamper about.

The young are usually born in May or June, and number four or five to
the litter with seldom more than one litter a year. Young squirrels are
blind, naked and helpless for several weeks after birth.

A pine squirrel’s diet consists of nuts, seeds, berries, inner aspen
bark, mushrooms, and some animal food such as birds’ eggs and

Its enemies are hawks, owls, pine martens and weasels, and occasionally
the larger carnivores.

General description: A small arboreal squirrel with flat, bushy tail;
fairly long ears and fairly long pelage. Dark olivaceous with white
underparts in summer, while in winter it is rusty-red above, sides
olive-gray and underparts gray. Sexes alike. Total length about 13½
inches, tail over ⅓ of the length.

Where found: Abundant in all forested areas. Active during the daytime

                    Castor canadensis missouriensis

The quest for the fur of this little wilderness engineer did more to
bring about the exploration of the west than any other one factor. The
first daring explorers were continually pushing ever forward into the
unknown regions searching for the wealth of furs and establishing the
fur trade with the Indians. Thus, the first white man known to have
entered the region later known as Yellowstone Park was John Colter, the
representative of a fur trader.

These activities greatly depleted the beaver populations but under
protection in recent years they have staged a satisfactory recovery in
many parts of their former range.

The dams constructed by this animal are well known. Made of sticks, logs
and mud, they are a remarkable accomplishment. The dam is for the
purpose of impounding a pond of water in which to construct the beaver
lodge or house. This also is made of sticks and mud with a room in the
middle, above water level, reached by several underwater passages. The
pond must be of sufficient depth to provide plenty of water below the
level of the winter ice.

    [Illustration: Beaver]

Sometimes when suitable ponds or still water are available the beaver
digs a sloping tunnel into the bank of a stream, with a room at the end
and above the high water level.

The beaver is a gnawing animal equipped with strong, sharp, chisel-like
teeth which it uses to cut down and trim the trees for construction
material for the house and dam as well as for food. Expert at cutting
down the trees but not as expert, as stories say, in dropping the tree
in a desired spot. This is not premeditated. The tree falls where it may
and has been known to fall on the little sawyer when he failed to move
away fast enough. The tree, after being cut, is trimmed into suitable
sections and skidded to the pond and floated to the desired location.
The trees and shrubs preferred and mainly cut are willow and aspen.

The beaver’s winter diet consists of bark from the tree branches that it
stores up by sticking them into the mud at the bottom of the pond. In
the summer the bark diet is supplemented by the addition of roots and
green vegetation.

The four to six young are born in the house or the bank den in May or
June where they remain until able to make the underwater swim to the
outside where they soon assist their parents in the work of the colony.

The beaver is equipped with a large flat paddle-like tail. However,
contrary to stories, he does not use it as a trowel or as a means of
transporting mud. It is an excellent rudder and also a prop or brace for
the owner while he stands up to cut down a tree. The resounding slap of
the tail upon the surface of the pond is an excellent warning signal
that immediately puts the colony on guard.

General description: Largest of the North American rodents, stocky, with
webbed hind feet and broad, flat, scaly tail, ears short, fur thick,
rich dark brown. Total length 43 inches; weight from 30 pounds to a
maximum of 68 pounds. Tail 4 or 5 inches wide and 12 to 16 inches long.

Where found: Along almost every stream in Yellowstone. They might be
seen in the beaver ponds in Willow Park, or along Pelican Creek; or at
the beaver ponds and Floating Island Lake between Mammoth and Tower
Fall. Longest dam in the park approximately 1000 feet in length is at
Beaver Lake opposite Obsidian Cliff. The best time to see beaver is in
the evening. Beaver change their locations frequently and it is
difficult to predict, from season to season, where they can best be

                            Lutra canadensis

This large member of the weasel family can outswim some fish. His lithe
shape and short powerful legs with broad webbed feet make him an expert
and his graceful maneuvers in the water are very interesting to see.

The principal item of the Otter’s diet is fish which are supplemented by
frogs or crayfish and such young ducks, muskrats or other small mammals
or birds as they may have occasion to catch. Their habitat is therefore
near suitable streams, lakes or ponds. They have been known, on some
occasions, however, to undertake fairly long overland journeys between

The otter is a rather friendly fellow, fairly easily tamed and observed.
They usually travel in pairs or family groups. Otters are playful and
are in the habit of making slides down steep clay-banks or snowdrifts
where they seem to have great sport coasting down on the chest and
belly, ending up in the water with a loud splash. This they do over and
over like a group of small children.

The den is located near the water, either as a burrow in a bank or under
protecting tree roots or rocks. Here the one to three or four young are
born in late April, there being only one family a year.

Otters are strong and capable fighters, a match for a dog on land and
more than a match for one in the water. They have no particular enemies
except man. The rich brown fur has brought a high price on the fur
market and trapping operations have resulted in the animal becoming rare
outside of such protected areas as Yellowstone. The rather short dense
pelt is considered to be one of the most durable of furs and it,
together with the layer of fat underlying the skin, make the otter
impervious to the icy water in which he spends much of his time.

General description: A long, lithe-bodied animal with webbed feet and a
long, tapering, muscular tail. Size large, head broad and flat, legs
short. Color of upperparts a uniform, dark, rich, glossy-brown;
underparts lighter with a grayish tinge. Total length 40-45 inches, tail
12½ to 15 inches; and weight 18 to 25 pounds.

Terms: Sexes—Male and Female; young—pups or kittens.

    [Illustration: Otter]

Where found: They are active all of the year and are found on many
streams and lakes throughout the park. Best seen near the outlet of
Lewis Lake and near the boat docks at Lake and West Thumb. Active at all

                              WESTERN MINK
                       Mustela vison energumenos

The mink is a large weasel of slightly heavier build and semi-aquatic in
habit. Found widely distributed in forests or on plains but always along
watercourses where it establishes its den. This may be a burrow in the
bank, under logs or rocks and similar places.

They are strong and graceful swimmers and are fully capable of catching
trout and other fish which form a part of their diet, as well as frogs
and crayfish. They also hunt on shore for muskrats, mice, rabbits,
snakes, birds and similar forms of small animal life. The mink is
sometimes of bloodthirsty temperament, killing for the pleasure, but is
not ordinarily considered quite as much inclined this way as the smaller

The odor of the musk carried by the mink as well as the other weasels is
strong and very offensive. This is released in moments of excitement.

The mink has but one litter of young a year, numbering five or six in
the average litter, which are born in April or May.

General description: A slender weasel-like animal nearly as large as a
house cat. Ears small, neck long, tail moderately bushy. The fur is soft
and dense, protected by long guard hairs, rich, glossy dark sooty brown
in color with a white area under the chin. Total length 24 inches, tail
8 inches; weight up to 2 pounds, the females somewhat smaller.

Where found: Along some of the streams and ponds of the park but not
very common and seldom seen.

                       ROCKY MOUNTAIN PINE MARTEN
                        Martes caurina origenes

This little animal is close kin to the famous Russian Sable and has a
valuable pelt or rich, dense fur. Expert climbers, they hunt through the
woods and capture a good portion of their menu from the tree tops.
Largely carnivorous the marten lives on small mammals and birds. Its
main foods in Yellowstone are squirrels, chipmunks, mice, rabbits,
grouse, and also some nuts, berries, fruits, insects or honey.

    [Illustration: Mink]

Fearless and pugnacious they frequently quarrel among themselves and do
not hesitate to snarl or spit at man. One time a ranger was standing in
front of a patrol cabin when a marten came bounding toward him spitting
and snarling at every jump. To see what he would do the ranger made for
the cabin door and the marten came right after him even to the cabin
door. It was decided that they would be pretty tough to live with if
they suddenly became as big as bears with an increase in disposition
accordingly. A marten family quarrel sounds like a good cross section of
an alley-cat serenade. Being extremely active they are able to elude
most would-be enemies except possibly the Great Horned Owl.

The marten nest is usually in a hollow tree or rarely in a burrow, where
the young, averaging 3 or 4 to a litter, are born late in April. It is
said that the young are blind for about the four weeks after birth.

General description: A small animal, of weasel-like form, a little
smaller and more slender than a house cat; head rather small with ears
broad and rounded, tail bushy and cylindrical, about half as long as the
head and body. Fur soft, rich yellowish brown; legs, feet and tail dark
brown; buffy patches on throat and chest. Total length 25 to 28 inches,
weight 1½ to 4 pounds. Males largest.

Where found: Fairly common throughout wooded sections of the park but
are shy and seldom seen, especially near habitations except isolated
cabins where they sometimes become rather tame.

                          Erethizon epixanthum

The Yellow-haired Porcupine of Yellowstone occurs all over the park.
Being an unsociable sort of fellow he is usually found alone, except
during the mating season or when the young are yet with their mother. He
is a common animal but seldom seen.

He is a heavy set, slow, clumsy animal with short legs and a waddling
walk. Very stupid and short-sighted with a habit of complaining audibly
to himself as he goes along. Since the porcupine is well protected by a
back full of loosely fastened quills, he is very unpopular with the
other animals, especially those that might have an idea of making a meal
of him.

    [Illustration: Pine Marten]

The quills are his only battle equipment but are sufficient protection
against most animals. Each individual quill is equipped with sharp barbs
at the tip which easily penetrate flesh, gradually working their way
deeper and are very hard to extract. Porky, however, does not have the
power to throw his quills, in spite of stories to the contrary. When
attacked he bristles up and looks like an animated pincushion and a slap
from his quill-loaded tail is sufficient to fill the face and mouth of
his would be attacker with a painful collection of quills which he will
long remember.

The porcupine’s nose is very sensitive, a good blow on it being
sufficient to kill him, so he has learned to tuck it down between his
feet for protection, and to turn so that his back and tail are presented
to the enemy. There are no quills on his underside and an occasional
enemy has learned to reach under with a paw and quickly flip him over on
his back in order to expose the unprotected portion for final attack.

The principal food of the porcupine, in winter, is the bark and small
twigs of various trees. In the summer, the bark, buds and foliage of
many trees, shrubs and plants are used. Porky is very fond of salt and
will gnaw on anything that contains it; shovel or other tool handles
with deposits of perspiration on them, or antlers after being shed, are
a delicacy. Occasionally he kills a tree by removing too much bark but
seldom does enough damage to be of economic importance.

One litter with usually one, or rarely if ever two young, is born each
year in late April or May. A baby porcupine at birth weighs about a
pound and is as large or larger than a bear cub. The den is located
among rocks, in cavities under logs or fallen tree tops. However, during
most of the year, even in the winter, the favorite place is well up in
the tops of the trees.

General description: A large, clumsy rodent with fairly soft hair with
which is mixed longer, coarser hair and many stiff, sharp, barbed spines
or quills over the upper parts and tail. Tail short, thick and muscular.
In color black with longer hairs tipped with greenish-yellow. Total
length 32 inches, weight 15 to a maximum of 35 to 40 pounds.

Where found: In all timbered areas of the park and is sometimes seen
near the roadsides or trails either during the day or night.

                             Taxidea taxus

Many of the smaller animals, especially those of the rodent group, are
known for the dens and runways that they dig, some of them becoming
rather expert at this activity. Their burrowing activities, however, are
undertaken primarily as a means of providing a suitable home for the
animal. The Badger, however, is equipped by nature as an excavating
machine. He, too, makes a burrow for use as a home but this is only a
small part of his digging activities.

    [Illustration: Porcupine]

    [Illustration: Badger]

Badgers are equipped with large strong claws, especially on the
forefeet, and backed by powerful muscles they can literally dig
themselves out of sight in a surprisingly short time, throwing out a
stream of dirt behind them like a mechanical elevator. It is this
ability that he depends upon as a means of securing his food. Badgers
are rather clumsy, heavy bodied and short legged animals, lacking the
speed and dexterity needed to capture their prey in the open, but how
they do like to dig for their food! Living primarily on the smaller
rodents, especially ground squirrels, the badger snoops from burrow to
burrow until his nose tells him that the occupant is at home, then dirt
starts to fly. If the ground squirrel has provided his home with some
extra entrances and he is quick to use one of them he may escape,
otherwise the badger has secured a dinner.

Entirely beneficial from the standpoint of the kind of food he eats, the
badger’s activities in obtaining it soon result in numerous holes
throughout the area where his foraging operations are carried on. In
areas where domestic stock are ranging these excavations made by the
badgers are hazards to the stock and rancher alike, often resulting in a
broken leg to the horse that steps into a hole and sometimes serious
injury to the rider when he is thrown from the horse as it falls. In
such areas this animal is usually hunted or trapped by man. In
Yellowstone he is left to live an undisturbed life. The badger is a
fearless and vicious little fighter, which combined with his digging
ability makes him a match for anything but man and his gun.

Badgers inhabit the plains and prairies or open forests, wherever their
principal food items of ground squirrel, gopher or prairie-dog can be
obtained. They generally hibernate from October to March, except in the
southern portions of their range. The young, probably averaging about
three to a litter, are born in May or early June.

General description: A low, heavy bodied animal with short legs, short
bushy tail and long shaggy fur. Color a silvery gray grizzled with
black. Head rather small, broad and flat with black and white striped
markings. Total length 28 inches and weight averaging about 14 pounds.

Where found: Northern part of the Park from Mammoth to Tower Junction
and the Lamar Valley, in open sections. Occasionally seen in meadows of
the interior parts of the park where the picket-pins are to be found.
Badgers are not numerous, but could be called commonly seen residents,
especially of the northern side of the park.

                      SAGEBRUSH WHITE-FOOTED MOUSE
                   Peromyscus maniculatus artemisiae

The White-footed Mouse, Deer Mouse, or Vesper Mouse is an interesting
little animal, a member of a very large and widely distributed genus
whose members are generally the most common small animal of any given
region. They are clean little creatures with large bright eyes, large
ears, and tails about as long as their bodies, with gray or brown
upperparts and white feet and lower parts.

These mice are found throughout the forests, among rocks, in meadows and
open grassy places, living in burrows, among rocks, or in hollow trees
and logs and they frequently come into camps and houses. They are expert
climbers and will readily take refuge in trees as well as into burrows
if the occasion warrants.

White-footed mice depend upon seeds and grains, small nuts and dry
vegetable matter for their food rather than green vegetation like the
meadow mice, and are rarely carnivorous.

They may have three or four litters of 3 to 7 young each year and so are
able to keep pace with the activities of their enemies which include all
of the smaller carnivorous animals and the owls.

General description: Upper parts, pale cinnamon to brownish fawn, more
dusky along mid-back; underparts and feet white. Total length 6 to 7½
inches with the tail being one-third to one-half of the total length.

    [Illustration: White-footed Mouse]

Where found: It is possible to find them almost anywhere in the park but
since they are nocturnal they are rarely seen in the daytime.

                          MEADOW MOUSE OR VOLE
                              Microtus sp.

The Meadow Mouse is one of the more common and widely distributed of our
small mammals. There are many species and subspecies and some form is to
be found practically anywhere in North America.

These little mice prefer the open meadow country where there is plenty
of grass the entire year. They may be found in the moist to semi-arid
sections and anywhere from sea level to above timberline elevations.

Their presence can be readily detected by the characteristic runways
through the grass. The mouse makes the runway both by cutting some of
the grass and pushing the balance to the side, and the floor of the
runway is kept free from all obstructions. A colony of mice will have a
regular labyrinth of these paths with frequent openings into underground
burrows and nests. The young are usually born in the underground nests.
However, many of the species also build surface nests of thick balls of
grass which are used during the winter time. In these nests, when snow
blankets the landscape they are warm and secure, and able to run about
their passage-ways, beneath the snow in their daily quest for food, for
they do not hibernate.

    [Illustration: Meadow Mouse]

The food of the meadow mouse is chiefly vegetation: grass, foliage,
seeds, twigs, roots and bark and at times they may become very
destructive to field crops and orchards.

This little animal is very prolific and usually has several litters each
year, with each litter consisting of from four to eight young. Were it
not for their many enemies they would soon overrun the grass lands and
do untold damage. As it is, their enemies, which are practically every
predatory animal and bird, can barely keep them in check. Meadow mice
serve as a valuable source of food for the smaller predatory animals
such as coyotes, foxes and for the various hawks and owls.

There are four species of these mice that have been found in Yellowstone

Sawatch Meadow Mouse: Microtus pennsylvanicus modestus. A medium-sized
      mouse with upperparts dull ochraceous, sprinkled with black.
      Underparts soiled whitish to ashy or cinnamon. In winter many
      black hairs along upperparts and underparts with wash of creamy
      white. Total length 7 inches, tail 1.8 inches. Has been found at
      Mammoth Hot Springs, Upper and Lower Geyser Basins and Shoshone

Dwarf Meadow Mouse: Microtus montanus nanus. A small-sized, rather
      short-tailed mouse with upperparts everywhere mixed gray, sepia
      and blackish, feet grayish; tail bicolor, dusky gray and whitish;
      underparts whitish. Total length 6 inches; tail 1.6 inches. Found
      in the grass of meadows and upland slopes over most of the park
      and appear to be the most abundant and generally distributed of
      the meadow mice in the park.

Cantankerous Meadow Mouse: Microtus longicaudus mordax. Resembles
      Sawatch meadow mouse in size but the tail is longer, ears larger,
      and color grayer. Upperparts grayish bister; sides grayer,
      underparts whitish. Lighter colored in the winter. Total length
      7.4 inches; tail 2.8 inches. These mice have been found at Mammoth
      and Tower Fall and are probably common in most of the meadows of
      the park, equally at home on dry ground or in mountain streams.

Big-footed Meadow Mouse: Microtus richardsoni macropus. Largest of the
      meadow mice. Total length 8.8 inches; tail 2.8 inches. Upperparts
      dark sepia mixed with black, sides paler, feet gray; tail bicolor
      sooty whitish; underparts washed with silvery-white. In winter
      grayer above, more white below. Usually found close to water where
      they swim much in the manner of muskrats. This mouse had been
      taken at Heart Lake and its runways seen in marshy meadows of most
      of the western part of the park.

                                WOOD RAT
                Gray Bushytail Wood Rat—Neotoma cinerea
         Colorado Bushytail Wood Rat—Neotoma cinerea orolestes

Pack Rat or Trade Rat is the name commonly applied to this individual,
represented in the park by both of the above forms. Pest of the stations
and patrol cabins because of his fondness of getting into buildings and
collecting items of every description, especially those of shiny
appearance. These are packed to his nest, which is located either in
rock piles, cliffs or whenever possible in or around buildings. He cuts
open food containers, bedding and other contents and makes a general

He frequently leaves some object in place of the stolen article, hence
the name trade rat. However, this trade is probably due to his dropping
something that he was already carrying, when he spied the new object
that was more attractive, rather than any desire to make a fair trade.
They gather anything that is of a convenient size to carry.

The wood rat is a very clean animal, of no relation to the common barn
rat except in superficial resemblance. A vegetarian in diet he lives on
green vegetation such as grass and foliage, fruit, bark, roots, fungi,
seeds and nuts. He is active all year but seldom accumulates much of a
store of winter food.

Mainly nocturnal in habit, they are, however, occasionally seen in the
daytime. Their principal enemies here are hawks, owls, weasels, coyotes
and martens.

The young, from three to six in a litter, are born in June or July and
are duller in color than the parents.

General description: Large in size, mouse-like in appearance. The fur is
fairly long, soft and grayish buff in color, darker in the Colorado
form, on the upperparts, white underparts and feet, and a large, bushy,
flattened almost squirrel-like tail. Total length 15 to 16 inches. Sexes
equal in size.

    [Illustration: Wood Rat or Rock Rat]

Where found: Throughout the park. The gray wood rat mainly in the
transition zone in open country along the Yellowstone, Lamar and Gardner
Rivers and around Mammoth. Colorado wood rat in higher portions of the

                         ROCKY MOUNTAIN MUSKRAT
                     Ondatra zibethica osoyoosensis

Quiet streams or the shallow grassy margins of ponds and lakes are the
home of this valuable little fur-bearing animal. More valuable than many
people realize since few know that he is the Hudson Seal and other trade
names of our popular fur coats. Ironically, muskrat fur is used as an
excellent imitation of his greatest enemy, the mink, in the mink-dyed
muskrat coats.

A hardy little animal that lives much like the beaver, in bank dens with
underwater entrances or in dome-shaped houses made of rushes, grass,
turf and mud instead of the coarser sticks and branches used by the
beaver. In these houses or bank dens they spend the winter in comfort.
Remaining active all of the year and seldom storing any food, muskrats
are out in the coldest weather.

Their food consists of bulbs and tubers, roots, tender portions of
numerous marsh and water plants, sedges, grass and clover, and possibly
some small aquatic animal life, salamanders, etc. In the winter it is
sometimes necessary to make extensive excursions under the ice in search
of food.

    [Illustration: Muskrat]

The young are born in the house or bank nests in May or June, usually
six or eight in a litter. In lower, milder sections more than one litter
is raised during the year. Fortunately muskrats are prolific breeders.

The name muskrat originated from the fact that there are two glands near
the base of the tail that contain the strong though not unpleasant musk,
which may be left at intervals about his haunts possibly as signs or
marks of possession. While several may use the winter house the muskrat
is ordinarily rather fussy and gets into frequent fights over
territorial rights.

General description: A rather large, robust, somewhat rat-like appearing
animal, with short legs and broad feet, the hind ones partially webbed;
tail long, scaly and sparsely haired, flattened laterally. Ears scarcely
showing above fur which is dense with longer guard hairs. Upperparts are
dark brown, underparts lighter in appearance. Total length 23½ inches,
tail 10 inches; weight about two pounds.

Where found: Throughout the park along moving streams, like the
Yellowstone River between Lake and Canyon, and most of the ponds and
lakes. Frequently working in the morning and latter part of the
afternoon as well as at night.

                       Ochotona princeps ventorum

This little Pika, Cony or Rock Rabbit of Yellowstone is in reality a
diminutive, tailless rabbit. Common in the higher elevations wherever
loose rock piles and slides offer suitable locations for his home.

Timid and secretive in nature and possessing a protective coloration
that makes them hard to locate in their rocky homes, the pikas are not
often noticed by the majority of park visitors. The call of a pika, a
squeaky bleat, has an elusive quality that confuses the hearer as to the
direction in which it originated.

The best indications of the habitation of the pika are the small stacks
of hay among the rocks. He is an industrious little farmer and is
usually busy during the summer cutting and curing grass and plant
foliage for winter use. This material is first put in the sun to cure,
then piled in sheltered places among the rocks where it will be
accessible during the winter when the snow has made a protective blanket
over the landscape. In protected cavities and runways beneath the rocks,
with an ample supply of hay, the pika has nothing to worry about during
the winter months and find no need to hibernate. Just what family
activities they have during this period is not known.

If an observer remains quiet near their rocky homes he may soon be
rewarded by a sight of them running silently about over the rocks, and
it may occasionally be possible to approach close enough for a picture.

The young, from three to five in number, are born from late May or early
June to early September. Due to their secretive nature and the location
of their homes not a great deal is known yet about the home life of the

General description: A short, chunky, apparently tailless rabbit-like
animal, ears rounded and of good size; legs short and hind legs very
little longer than forelegs. Color of upperparts grayish to buffy,
underparts whitish varying to cinnamon-buff. Sexes alike in color and
size; about 7½ inches long, height to shoulder 3½ inches and weight 4 to
7 ounces.

    [Illustration: Cony or Pika]

Where found: Distributed throughout much of the park at elevations above
7,000 feet wherever rock slides and talus slopes are available. Most
likely seen around the Golden Gate, Sheepeater Cliffs, cliffs south and
west of the Upper Geyser Basin, rockslides along the Dunraven Pass road
and other such places. Look for the hay piles as indications. Active
during the daytime.

                         BLACK HILLS COTTONTAIL
                      Sylvilagus nuttalli grangeri

This shy and timid little rabbit leads a precarious existence in the
sagebrush-covered valleys of the lower portions of the park. Its
numerous enemies, especially the coyotes, foxes, bobcats, hawks and owls
keep the cottontail constantly on the alert and seldom far from dense
thickets or sheltering rocks. Its short legs are not a match for the
speedy coyote and so artful dodging and hiding tactics must be resorted

The mother cottontail makes a nest, lined with her own fur, in a
sheltered place where the young, born blind, naked and helpless, are
placed. They grow rapidly and are soon able to run about and play, then
it isn’t long until they are out on their own. There are usually several
litters born each year; this helps keep up their numbers in spite of the
inroads made by the various enemies.

    [Illustration: Cottontail]

General description: A small rabbit with short ears and legs. Upperparts
of creamy-buff color lightly grizzled with gray. Tail short and fluffy,
gray on top and white on underside. Total length 15 to 16 inches.

Where found: Most likely to be seen near Mammoth and in sagebrush flats
along the Gardner River. Mainly found in the transition zone and lower.
Most frequently out in the early morning, evening or during the night.

                        Lepus americanus bairdi

The Varying Hare or Snowshoe Rabbit is found throughout the higher parts
of the mountains, fairly common but not abundant in numbers. Provided by
nature with special adaptations, this rabbit is not bothered greatly by
the winter storms and snow. Very large furry hind feet act as snowshoes
enabling these rabbits to scamper readily over the snow without sinking
in and thus are the basis for its common name.

Nature also provides these hares with a camouflage to help protect them
from their enemies. Their summer coat of fur is dull brown in color
which blends well with the forest floor, while in the winter they get a
new coat of pure white, except for black ear tips, making them hardly
distinguishable from the snow drifts over which they run. This varying
color with the seasons is the source for the other name by which it is

These rabbits, like other members of the family, depend upon the foliage
of plants and shrubbery as their principal food; however, when this is
buried beneath the winter’s snow their diet is frequently mainly
composed of the bark of bushes and small trees.

The snowshoe rabbit makes a nest in a sheltered place, where the young,
usually three or four in number, are born. These young, unlike the
cottontail, have their eyes open and are covered with a coat of very
fine close hair. They leave the nest in about ten days. In some places
there may be more than one litter in a year.

General description: Larger than a cottontail with long ears and hind
legs. Color of upperparts (summer) buffy grayish brown to rusty brown,
underparts and bottoms of feet white; (winter) white, with
black-bordered tips of the ears and underparts pale salmon. Total length
about 18½ inches.

    [Illustration: Varying Hare (Snowshoe Rabbit)]

Where found: Likely to be seen almost anywhere in the wooded sections of
the park and near the camp and cabin areas. Especially during the early
morning and evening. They are generally rather tame.

                          WHITETAIL JACKRABBIT
                       Lepus townsendi campanius

This big Prairie Hare is readily distinguishable from the other
jackrabbits by its all white tail. It may also be found at higher
elevations than the other species of jacks. Normally frequenting the
open country it has been seen in alpine meadows above timberline at
10,000 feet elevations. This species is the largest of the jackrabbits.

All of the jackrabbits are known for their speed as they go bounding
over the prairie, covering twelve to fifteen feet at a jump. The
whitetail is the fastest and best jumper of the lot. When in high-gear
speed he is a match for all but the fleetest of greyhounds.

The whitetail jackrabbit makes little if any nest for the young, but
like other rabbits, does have several forms scattered about his home
range. The form is simply a place just large enough to accommodate his
body, padded down and hollowed in a clump of grass, weeds or bushes.
Each individual has several of these forms and when not out feeding or
playing may usually be found crouched down in one or the other of them.
The young are fully furred and have their eyes open when born. They are
active but stay hidden close by one spot for the first two or three
weeks. There are usually about four to the litter and there probably is
more than one litter each year, at least in the warmer sections of their

The representatives of this species that live in the northern, colder
parts of the country change into a winter coat of white fur each fall
and like the snowshoe rabbit are protectively colored when out in the
snow. Their large feet also aid them in traveling over the snowdrifts.

General description: A large, heavy bodied rabbit with large ears, long
legs, and a good sized fluffy tail that is all white throughout the
year. The color above is fairly uniform buffy gray, underparts white.
Its winter coat is much the same as the summer, though paler in tone,
except in the northern parts of the range, which includes Yellowstone,
where it becomes pure white with black tipped ears and irregular buffy
patches about the face. Total length 24 inches.

    [Illustration: White-tailed Jack Rabbit]

Where found: Open sections in the northern parts of the park. Has been
seen on the highest slopes of Mount Washburn. Most frequently seen in
the early morning and evening. Not numerous.

                           ADDITIONAL ANIMALS

The following animals are also found in the park area:

Bangs Flying Squirrel: Glaucomys sabrinus bangsi. A medium-sized
      squirrel, total length about 12.5 inches. Upperparts dark grayish
      cinnamon; underparts pinkish cinnamon.

      These squirrels are strictly nocturnal and for this reason it is
      difficult to tell how common they really are. Found only in the
      forested areas they nest in woodpecker holes or in hollows in the
      trees or possibly build a nest among branches or utilize old pine
      squirrel nests when hollows are not available.

      Probably common throughout most of the forests of the park.

Mountain Weasel: Mustela frenata arizonensis. A medium-sized weasel
      about 14 to 15.4 inches long. Upperparts raw umber-brown, darker
      on the head; underparts yellow to orange with a white chin. In
      winter the animal is all white with a black tip on the tail.

      Frequenting the more open ground in the park they live primarily
      on rodents. In the winter they hunt beneath the snow. I have seen
      them stick their heads up through the snow, look around and
      quickly dive beneath again.

Dwarf Weasel: Mustela streatori leptus. A very small weasel with a total
      length of not over 9.8 inches. Upperparts dark brown; underparts
      white. In winter it is white with black tip on the tail.

      Seldom seen but is probably found in most of the open sections of
      the park as it is common on all sides.

      Weasels are strictly terrestrial and are very highly carnivorous
      and blood thirsty. Very active and courageous attacking without
      hesitation animals considerably larger than themselves. They have
      very slender, long bodies and short legs.

Northern Plains Skunk: Mephitis mephitis hudsonica. A large skunk with a
      large bushy tail. Black in color with a broad white stripe along
      each side of the back extending from nape of neck to base of tail.

      Reported as common in the lower northern valleys along the
      Gardner, Yellowstone and Lamar Rivers and occasional in other
      inland valleys by Bailey in 1923.

Longtail Red Fox: Vulpes fulva macrourus. This species has a longer tail
      than the average red fox. In color it is a reddish yellow to
      golden yellow with grizzled whitish; underparts white; feet and
      lower part of legs black.

      The red fox although not common is occasionally seen in the north
      and northeastern sections of the park. It was at first regarded as
      rare but seems to be increasing somewhat in recent years.

Mountain Bobcat: Lynx rufus uinta.

Canada Lynx: Lynx canadensis. These two animals are very similar in
      habits though the lynx is more a dweller in the colder forest
      regions while the bobcat may be found in more open areas closer to
      habitation. Both have tufted ears and a short tail and neither of
      the above species has the distinct spots that are characteristic
      of some of the species of bobcats. The lynx is the largest of the
      bobcats and is slightly larger than the mountain bobcat. The
      bobcat has a tail seven or eight inches long with two black bands
      on the upper surface in front of a black tip while the lynx has a
      tail only about four inches long and with black only on the tip.

      These animals are rare in the park area and have only been
      recorded in the northern section. My only observation of one was
      about eight miles north of the park along the Yellowstone River.

Wolverine: Gulo luscus. Heavily built animals with short legs, short
      ears, a short bushy tail, and long coarse hair. Appearing much
      like a small, short-legged bear. Total length is from 37 to 41
      inches and weight from 22 to 35 pounds. It is dark brown or
      blackish in color with two broad, pale, lateral bands of brownish
      white to yellowish white from shoulder to rump.

      The wolverine is a powerful and savage fighter, strictly
      carnivorous and well earns its name of “glutton.” It had a bad
      reputation among trappers for it followed their trap lines, robbed
      and even broke up their traps and dug up their food caches.
      Wolverines are no longer common in this part of the country and
      while there may have been a number of them in the park area some
      years ago they are probably only very rare visitors now.

Brown Pocket Gopher: Thomomys talpoides fuscus. The piles of dirt which
      suddenly appear in the grass of lawns or meadows are made by the
      pocket gopher. He excavates a network of tunnels below the sod
      line, pushing the dirt through an opening on to the surface, then
      filling the opening up again. Their food consists of vegetable
      matter such as roots, bulbs, tubers and surface foliage and green

      The pocket gopher is rather small in size, about eight inches
      long, including a tail of a little over two inches, and is light
      brown in color. The tail is only sparsely haired and the front
      feet are large and built for digging. The Uinta ground squirrel or
      picket-pin is frequently referred to by some people as a gopher,
      but it should not be confused with the true gopher and is seldom
      seen above the ground.

      Found in meadows and open areas throughout the park.

Rocky Mountain Jumping Mouse: Zapus princeps. Sometimes called Kangaroo
      Mouse this little animal is a medium-sized mouse with greatly
      elongated hind legs and a slender tail nearly six inches long. Its
      upperparts are yellowish brown lightly sprinkled with blackish,
      the underparts white.

      This mouse lives on vegetation and seeds. It is found throughout
      the park in meadows and open country but nowhere abundantly. It
      hibernates during the winter.

Gale Redback Mouse: Clethrionomys gapperi galei. These mice live on
      green vegetation, seeds, roots and stems and probably occupy most
      of the forested sections of the park. They live in burrows and are
      not very often seen. Several have been trapped in residences in
      Mammoth. They are active all winter under the snow.

      They are small to medium sized mice with the upperparts reddish
      chestnut distinctly differing from the buffy gray sides;
      underparts whitish to yellowish gray.

Dusky Shrew: Sorex obscurus.

Mountain Water Shrew: Sorex palustris navigator. Most species of shrews
      are smaller than any mice, with pointed noses, minute eyes, and
      small ears which are hidden in the fur. They are insect eaters and
      like any kind of fresh meat. They are active all winter.

      The dusky shrew is a sepia brown in color and is found throughout
      most of the park area. Mountain water shrews make their homes in
      banks of icy streams and are mouse-size with upper parts slaty
      mixed with hoary. They have larger feet than the dusky shrew and
      have bristly fringes along the toes with partial webs which equip
      them for swimming readily.

      The Rocky Mountain Shrew (Sorex vagrans monticola) has been
      collected once in the park and it is also probable that the Masked
      Shrew (Sorex cinereus) is also here as it has been found in the
      surrounding area.

According to Bailey, Yeager and others the following bats have been
found in the park during the summer, all migrating south for the winter:

  Big Brown Bat: Eptesicus fuscus
    Numerous over the central plateau section.
  Hoary Bat: Lasiurus cinereus
    A few range over most of the park.
  Long-eared Bat: Myotis evotis
    Numerous in the lower portions of the park.
  Silver-haired Bat: Lasionycteris noctivagans
    Fairly numerous in timbered areas.
  Yellowstone Bat: Myotis lucifugus carissima
    Numerous over most of the park and especially at Lake and around the
              Devils Kitchen at Mammoth.


  Animal Life in Yellowstone National Park—Vernon Bailey
  Yellowstone Information Manual—Fauna—Compiled by Dorr Yeager
  Lives of Game Animals—E. T. Seton
  Field Book of North American Mammals—H. E. Anthony
  Meeting the Mammals—Victor H. Cahalane
  A Field Guide to the Mammals—W. H. Burt and R. P. Grossenheider
  How to Know the Mammals—E. S. Booth


  Alces americana shirasi, 9
  Antelope, 2, 3
  Antilocapra americana, 3

  Badger, 28, 30, 46, 48, 49
      Brown, 66
      Hoary, 66
      Long-eared, 66
      Silver-haired, 66
      Yellowstone, 66
  Bear, 1, 14, 15, 16, 17, 28, 30, 44
      Black, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19
      Brown, 15
      Cinnamon, 15
      Grizzly, 17, 18, 19
  Beaver, 5, 37, 38, 39, 40, 54
  Bighorn, 3, 12, 13
  Bison (Buffalo), 2, 5, 6
  Bison bison, 5
  Bobcat, 5, 22, 57, 64
  Buffalo (see Bison)

  Canis latrans, 22
      lupus, 24
  Castor canadensis missouriensis, 37
  Cervus canadensis, 7
  Chickaree, 35
  Chipmunk, 28, 29, 34, 35, 42
      Buff-bellied, 35
      Uinta, 35
      Wasatch, 35
      Western, 34
  Citellus armatus, 30
      lateralis cinerascens, 28
  Clethrionomys gapperi galei, 65
  Cony, 56, 57
  Cottontail, 57, 58, 59
      Black Hills, 57
  Cougar, 20, 21
  Coyote, 2, 5, 14, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 53, 57

  Deer, 7, 8, 9, 20, 24
      Blacktail, 11
      Rocky Mountain Mule, 11
      Whitetail, 11

  Elk, 2, 7, 8, 9, 11, 19, 24
  Eptesicus fuscus, 66
  Erethizon epixanthum, 44
  Eutamias amoenus luteiventris, 35
      minimus consobrinus, 35
      umbrinus, 35

  Felis concolor, 20
  Flying Squirrel, Bangs, 63
  Fox, 30, 57
      Red, 64

  Glaucomys sabrinus bangsi, 63
  “Glutton,” 64
  Gopher, Pocket, 65
  Groundhog, 26
  Ground Squirrel, 34, 48, 49
      Montana Mantled, 28, 29
      Uinta, 29, 30, 31, 65
  Gulo luscus, 64

  Hare, Prairie, 61
      Varying, 59, 60

  Jackrabbit, Whitetail, 61, 62

  Lasionycteris noctivagans, 66
  Lasiurus cinereus, 66
  Lepus americanus bairdi, 59
      townsendi campanius, 61
  Lion, Mountain, 2, 14, 20
  Loafer, 24
  Lobo, 24
  Lutra canadensis, 40
  Lynx, 28
      Canada, 64
      canadensis, 64
      rufus uinta, 64

  Marmot, 22, 26, 27
      Golden-Mantled, 26
  Marmota flaviventris nosophora, 26
  Marten, 53
      Pine, 37, 45
      Rocky Mountain, 42
  Martes caurina origenes, 42
  Mephitis mephitis hudsonica, 63
  Mice, 22, 42, 49
  Microtus longicaudus mordax, 52
      montanus nanus, 52
      pennsylvanicus modestus, 52
      richardsoni macropus, 53
  Mink, 42, 43, 54
  Moose, 7, 9, 10
  Mountain Lion, 2, 14, 20
  Mouse, 9
      Cantankerous, 52
      Dwarf Meadow, 52
      Jumping, 65
      Kangaroo, 65
      Meadow, 50, 51, 52, 53
      Redback, 65
      Sawatch, 52
      Vesper, 49
      White-footed, 49, 50
  Muskrat, 40, 42, 54, 55
  Mustela frenata arizonensis, 63
      streatori leptus, 63
      vison energumenos, 42
  Myotis evotis, 66
      lucifugus carissima, 66

  Neotoma cinerea, 53
      cinerea orolestes, 53

  Ochotona princeps ventorum, 56
  Odocoileus hemionus, 11
  Ondatra zibethica osoyoosensis, 54
  Otter, 40, 41
  Ovis canadensis, 12

  Painter, 20
  Panther, 20
  Peromyscus maniculatus artemisiae, 49
  Picket-pin, 22, 30, 49, 65
  Pika, 56, 57
  Porcupine, 44, 46, 47
      Yellow-haired, 44
  Pronghorn, 3, 4
  Puma, 20

  Rabbit, 22, 42
      Cottontail, 57, 58, 59
      Rock, 56
      Snowshoe, 59, 60, 61
  Rat, Pack, 53
      Rock, 54
      Trade, 53
      Wood, 53, 54
          Colorado Bushytail, 53
          Gray Bushytail, 53

  Sheep, Rocky Mountain, 12
  Shrew, Dusky, 65, 66
      Masked, 66
      Rocky Mountain, 66
      Water, 65, 66
  Skunk, Northern Plains, 63
  Snowshoe Rabbit, 59, 61
  Sorex cinereus, 66
      obscurus, 65
      palustris navigator, 65
      vagrans monticola, 66
  Squirrel, 34, 42, 63
      Bangs Flying, 63
      Flying, 63
      Ground, 34, 48, 49
          Montana Mantled, 28, 29
          Uinta, 29, 30, 31, 65
      Pine, 35, 36, 37
          Wind River Mountains, 35
  Sylvilagus nuttalli grangeri, 57

  Tamiasciurus hudsonicus ventorum, 35
  Taxidea taxus, 46
  Thomomys talpoides fuscus, 65

  Ursus americanus, 14
      horribilis, 17

  Vole, 50
  Vulpes fulva macrourus, 64

  Wapiti (Elk), 7
  Weasel, 30, 42, 53
      Dwarf, 63
      Mountain, 63
  “Whistler,” 28
  Wolf, 2, 14, 25, 26
      Buffalo, 24
      Gray, 24, 25
      “Little,” 22
      Timber, 24
  Wolverine, 64
  Woodchuck, 26
  Wood Rat, 53, 54

  Zapus princeps, 65

                              AS A CITIZEN


2. Keep it unspoiled for your next visit and for those who follow you.

3. See and learn all you can while you are here, you may only come once.

4. Visit the Museums. They have been put here to help you to profit more
      from your trip.

                              USE YOUR MAP

                          PREVENT FOREST FIRES

              HELP Protect the Geysers, Pools and Terraces
                    The Rock and Mineral Formations
                    The Flowers and the Animal Life

                         KEEP YELLOWSTONE CLEAN

                           DO YOU NEED HELP?
                       The Man in the Park Green
                     National Park Service Uniform

                       He is anxious to help you
                To See—To Benefit from and To Enjoy Your
                             National Parks

    [Illustration: Geyser]

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

—In the HTML version index, represented underscored page numbers by
  italic font.

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