Ferrets and Pine Martens in Utah

The black-footed ferret (the French word for "thief") was once considered the rarest land mammal in North America.
A Black-Footed Ferret in Coyote Basin, Utah

A Black-Footed Ferret in Coyote Basin, Utah

Some of the first Europeans to come to Utah were the fur trappers and among the most prized fur-bearing animals were the ferrets, mink and martens that still live in the area. Part of the weasel family that also includes otters, fishers wolverines and skunks, these hunters help in keeping down the rodent population.

Utah has badgers, mink, skunks, pine marten, long and short-tailed weasels and river otter, according to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. The black-footed ferret (the French word for "thief") was once considered the rarest land mammal in North America. The only one native to this continent, it lived primarily in the great plains where it feasted on now nearly eradicated prairie dog. But there were a number of historic sightings of in Utah, although only one, in the 1950s, that was confirmed.

Part of a reintroduction program around the country, the sleek cream-colored creature with black feet, a black tipped tail and a Zorro mask, is coming back, but still federally protected.

One of the most prized pelts for early trappers was that of the marten, also known as the pine or American marten. Resembling the sleek Russian sable, these excellent climbers with chocolate brown coats live high in trees or deep underground. The size of a housecat, their vertical eyebrows serve the function of a cat's whiskers, specialized hairs with sensory cells that can help them navigate through tunnels and other small spaces. Their preferred habitat is in high elevation old growth forests.



Pikas and Jackrabbits in Utah

The fertile grasslands, woodsy forests and lots of streams in Utah allow the jackrabbit, pika and cottontail to flourish.

Pronghorn antelope in Utah

Pronghorn Antelope in Utah

The popular big game animal known as the "pronghorn" frequents southern Utah.


Chipmunks, Beaver, and Porcupines in Utah

Forty percent of all Utah mammals are rodents. You can distinguish rodents by the way they eat.

Blonde-colored Black Bear

Black Bears in Utah

Unlike the grizzly, the black bear is still fairly common in the large forested areas of Utah. Rarely black, instead they can be blonde or chocolate brown.

Bat flying in the sky

Bats in Utah

Look to the sky at dusk and those small birds you see may actually be bats. You can distinguish bats from birds by their flight patterns.


Coyotes in Utah

No one who has heard the eerie cry of a coyote during its hunt in Zion can ever forget it. The high-pitched yip, yip and howl are just plain spooky.


Wild Cats in Utah, but Elusive

Utah has three species of native cats, the mountain lion, or cougar; the lynx; and the bobcat, a cousin to the lynx.

Sunrise over Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park.

National Parks Bordering Utah

There many national parks nearby in addition to Utah's five. Mesa Verde and the Grand Canyon are very close and worth the extra drive.

A lizard in Zion National Park. Photo by Elisabeth Kwak

Reptiles in Southern Utah

Lizards and snakes flourish in Zion Canyon. Chances are, as you walk the many trails, you'll see one of the 16 species of lizards or 13 snake species.