It’s almost summertime, and that means the return of many beautiful wild animals to the Aspen Snowmass area. The wildlife in Colorado includes so many species, such as: elk, deer, birds of prey, marmots, moose, and bear.
Here is a list of some native Aspen Snowmass animals you may see during your visit to our piece of paradise. Wildlife can be a hazard on some rare occasions, so we included some tips to keep you and our wildlife safe.
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies Naturalist Tours provide guided hikes and walks in wildlife habitat. Consider booking a tour with them to learn more and increase the likeliness of seeing these animals in person.
They are the most popular wildlife in Colorado. Elk live in large herds, which sometimes number in the hundreds, and eat plants and grasses. Did you know that males only have antlers? On average, Elk weigh between 500 to 700lb. There are more than 280,000 elk in Colorado. They are typically found in mountain valley meadows. While taking photos, remember to keep a safe distance.
The Colorado Encyclopedia says that The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are one of four native species of North America. The average weight is between 100 to 300lb. Males use curled horns for defense and foraging, while females have smaller, thin horns. Bighorn Sheep are great climbers because of their rubber-like hooves. During the summer, you can find them in higher elevation when it becomes colder; they move towards a lower elevation.
Beavers are a Colorado native. They play a crucial role in the environment, as they are animal architects of dams, canals, and lodges. Their dams improve water quality, groundwater recharge, and slow the flow of water through a stream. According to the Adirondack Ecological Center, one beaver can remove about 140 chips of wood from a tree in one day. Beavers live in a colony and work together to build their dams and lodges. They eat trees and flowers; they don’t eat fish which is a common misconception! Beavers can live up to 20 years and weigh between 45 to 60lb.
This big beautiful bird of prey boasts a wing span of approximately 7 feet and they stand about 3 feet tall. Usually, females are larger than males. On average, females weigh 13lb, while males weigh 9lb. Eagles eat small and medium-size animals like hares, ground squirrels, and rabbits. The symbolic message of seeing the Golden Eagle is to expand your limits and to look at things from a different perspective. Eagles represent truth, strength, courage, and power.
These giant, social ground squirrels are active during the summer because they hibernate underground during winter. On average, they stand about 17 to 28 inches high and weigh between 4.4 to 24lb. Marmots live in burrows. Generally, they eat greens: grasses, roots, and flowers.
These large hawks have slender bodies with long, narrow wings and long legs. When you see them from below, their wings are shaped like the letter “M.” Osprey’s upper bodies are brown, while their under bellies are white. The head is white with a broad brown stripe through the eye. They subsist on a diet of fish namely, and hunt by circling high in the sky over relatively shallow water.
The Cutthroat is the Centennial state fish, as it is the only trout that is native to Colorado. Cutthroat trout can live up to 12 years and survive on insects, small fish, and fish eggs. The Aspen Snowmass’ area rivers, the Roaring Fork River, Frying Pan and Crystal River are veritable haven for Cutthroat trout fly fishing. Experience these beauties up close and personal and book a guided fly fishing tour this summer.
Generally, in Colorado, mule deer are present during from their calving month, June, to mid-to-late November. Usually, females produce twins. Just males grow antlers, which shed and re-grow annually and increase in size as the animal mature. During the summer, they habitate at higher elevation. As the season becomes colder and winter approaches, they descend to lower elevation.
Bears live 20-25 years in the wild. On average, they are 3 feet tall on all fours. Their average weight is up to 275 pounds, but some males can weigh over 600 lbs. Bears eat berries, grasses, fruit, nuts, as well as whatever animal-based protein they come across. They quickly climb trees and are fast runners on the ground. Bears can be found mostly in oak areas and aspen groves in the valleys and in the mountains, but typically below treeline. They hibernate from November to May.
- Never feed bears.
- You should put your garbage in bear-proof containers.
- Always lock dumpster lids.
- Turn off and clean BBQ grills after use.
- Keep pet food inside.
- Clean up all fallen food after your picnic.
Weighing 800 to 1,200lbs, Moose are very large. Bull moose can have up to 5-foot-wide antler span, which they shed in early winter and re-grown each year. The size of antlers increases each year, and they often live up to 20 years. Moose can be found in mountainous and pine, as well as aspen grove habitats.
- Don’t come close to moose, admire them from a significant distance.
- Don’t let your dog get close to a moose.
Mountain Lions are the Colorado species that require very cautious behavior if you run into them in the wild. These large felines are the largest in North America, and also known as a puma, cougar or panther. Their large, wide paws and camouflage-like coloring allow them to sneak up on their prey. Males can be eight feet long and weigh around 150 pounds.
- Don’t leave any food outside.
- Supervise children and pets when they are outside.
- If you see one, make a lot of noise and make yourself look as big as possible.
Weighing 30 to 40 lbs, these canine-like creatures look like small wolves. Coyotes are grayish to reddish-brown and live about 20 years. They eat plants and meat. They are hunters looking for birds, eggs, rabbits, and even livestock and domestic pets.
- Keep your dogs on a leash; don’t let them interact with coyotes.
- Use extra caution at dusk or dawn.
Start Planning Your Summer Adventures in Aspen Snowmass Today!
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