Grand Canyon Plants
Grand Canyon National Park Guide to Flora & Fauna
There are more than 70 species of mammals, over 40 species of reptiles and amphibians, 20 + species of fish, and over a vast array of bird species living in the Grand Canyon
High above the forests that line the edge of the Grand Canyon, the South Rim of Grand Canyon is where the cliffs drop 5000 feet/1524 m down to the Colorado River. Known for its excellent weather it does experience sudden cloud bursts of rain that refresh the landscape in summer and sporadic snowfall during the winter months.
The primary species of tree in Grand Canyon is the Ponderosa Pine that is usually found at elevations exceeding 7000 ft. The Pinyon Pine and Utah Juniper are the most prevalent tree species Below 7000 feet/2134 m. Filling in around the trees like the drought-resistant shrubs like cliffrose, fernbush, and serviceberry provide shade and food for the wildlife and insects of the canyon. On top of the rim in full exposure to the sun you can find desert plants like banana yucca and claretcup cactus that are beautiful to see in flower but uncomfortable to rest upon.
Far Below the rim at the bottom of the canyon near the river the average temperature change can rise 30 degrees during the summertime rising as high as 120 degrees at the Colorado River. Due to the high temperatures found within the canyons interior, a majority of it is considered to be desert with the exception of the areas close to the river. The flora and fauna of the inner canyon are species that thrive in the desert climes of the south: cacti and drought-resistant shrubs.
If you keep your eye out, you might site on of the many varieties of animals in Grand Canyon National Park. The most common species are the Mule deer, with the Desert bighorn being the least visible as they inhabit the remote slopes of the inner canyon. Predators are also found in the canyon with Bobcats and coyotes ranging throughout the park along with a small population of mountain lions. The diet of the carnivorous species consist of the typically smaller mammals that inhabit Grand Canyon like ringtails (closely related to raccoons), beavers, gophers, chipmunks, several varieties of squirrels, rabbits and bats. The reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the Grand Canyon are a wide variety of lizards, snakes (including the unique Grand Canyon "pink" rattlesnake), turtles, frogs, toads and salamanders. Hundreds of species of birds make their home in the park, along with countless insects and arachnids (spiders and scorpions).
The native Colorado River fish include the Colorado squawfish, humpback chub, and bonytail chub. Several species of endangered birds make Grand Canyon home, including the peregrine falcon, bald eagle, and willow flycatcher. A number of endangered plants can also be found in the park, including. More and more, protected lands like Grand Canyon National Park provide a refuge for plants and animals that are under increasing pressure elsewhere.
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