Welcome to Wyoming Wildlife Advocates’ Wildlife Guide – a resource to help you identify the amazing animals in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and learn more about what makes them unique. We hope you’ll also develop an understanding of the challenges that face some of the area’s most unique species, and how we are working to protect them.

From the biggest grizzly bear to the smallest sage grouse, WWA believes that all species should be treated with respect and managed based on the best available science. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is an exceedingly special place, in no small part because of the diversity of creatures that inhabit it.

We hope this guide will help you appreciate our wildest neighbors even more deeply, and give you opportunities to join the fight to keep them protected for generations to come.

Wildlife Guide

Pick up your complimentary copy of the Wildlife Guide while you’re in Jackson Hole.
Available at a variety of locations, including the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

Grizzly Bear

Ursus arctos horribilis

One of the largest and most iconic species of the GYE, the grizzly bear is facing unprecedented peril. Climate change is gravely impacting the bears’ food sources and territory, and now, they will likely face trophy hunting.

Elk

Cervus canadensis

The Greater Yellowstone elk herd is the largest in the nation, and these graceful herbivores are a visitor favorite. However, a terrible and deadly disease is about to strike this huge and densely-populated herd, and the results could be catastrophic.

Gray Wolf

Canis lupus

Not only are wolves highly intelligent, fascinating and charismatic animals, they’re critically important to a healthy and balanced ecosystem. Despite this, across the majority of Wyoming, they can be shot and killed at any time for any reason – or no reason at all.

Mule Deer Illustration

Mule Deer

Odocoileus hemionus

Often seen in brushy areas, forests and open grasslands, mule deer eat mostly grasses and shrubs. Their large ears, resembling mule’s ears, are helpful in detecting approaching predators, of which they have a few: wolves, coyotes, cougars and bears.

Bison

Bison

Bison bison

Bison have inhabited the Grand Teton and Yellowstone region since prehistoric times. They live in the area year-round, favoring grasslands in the summer, where they eat mostly grass and sedges.

Moose

Alces alces

One of the most unique and charismatic animals in the region, moose are the largest members of the deer family. During summer months, they’re most often seen in marshy or riparian areas browsing on aquatic plants and willows.

Pronghorn Illustration

Pronghorn

Antilocapra americana

Capable of sprinting up to 60 miles per hour, pronghorn are the fastest land animal in North America. Globally, they’re only second to the cheetah! Their horns are exceptional as well; like the bison, pronghorn have true horns (not antlers).

Pika Illustration

Pika

Ochotona

Approximately the size of a small guinea pig, pikas are sandy brown with rounded ears. Unlike many other small mammals in the area, pikas – members of the rabbit family – don’t hibernate.

Red Fox Illustration

Red Fox

Vulpes vulpes

The smallest of the canines in the area, foxes typically weigh around 10 pounds. Unlike their larger cousins, wolves and coyotes, foxes are omnivorous: they will prey on smaller animals, but will also eat some plants.

Coyote Illustration

Coyote

Canis latrans

Also known as “song dogs,” coyotes can often be heard howling to one another in the evening or early morning. Highly intelligent and adaptable carnivores, coyotes are the most commonly seen canine in the area.

Black Bear Illustration

Black Bear

Ursus americanus

Male black bears can weigh up to 315 pounds, while females can reach about 200. Like grizzlies, these animals can live up to 30 years in the wild. Their short, curved claws make them especially adept at climbing trees.

Bald Eagle Illustration

Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

The national symbol of the United States, bald eagles are an impressive sight. As fish provide a significant part of their diet, bald eagles are frequently seen near the rivers and lakes of the area.

Golden Eagle Illustration

Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Golden Eagles, one of the largest birds of prey in North America, prefer cliffs or steep hills overlooking swaths of open land. They hunt by soaring over open spaces to spy prey before swooping down to snatch rabbits, ground squirrels or other small mammals.

Red-Tailed Hawk Illustration

Red-Tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Though these hawks are plentiful, they’re no less fascinating to watch. Large, swift raptors, red-tailed hawks can often be seen hunting near fields or sagebrush flats. Their tail feathers are rust-colored, giving them their name.

Osprey Illustration

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

Smaller than a bald eagle, ospreys have a white belly and head, with a dark streak across the eye. Since their main source of food is fish, these birds can often be seen along rivers; they will hover above the water and rapidly dive to the surface to snatch a trout.

Sage Grouse Illustration

Sage Grouse

Centrocercus urophasianus

Sage grouse have a specialized stomach that allows them to digest the tough leaves of sagebrush. Males have fluffy white chests and impressive tails, while females have mostly grey and brown coloration.

Trumpeter Swan Illustration

Trumpeter Swan

Cygnus buccinator

With a wingspan of up to 8 feet, the trumpeter swan is the largest wild waterfowl on the continent, weighing as much as 35 pounds. Almost entirely white as as adults, swans can be seen on lakes, ponds or slow-moving bodies of water.

Beaver

Castor

Hardworking loggers and dam builders, beavers are a keystone species – their diversion of water and creation of habitat is critical for many other aquatic and riparian animals.

River Otter Illustration

River Otter

Lontra canadensis

Aquatic members of the weasel family, these playful mammals are often seen in groups alongside rivers. They eat crayfish and fish, as well as amphibians and occasionally even muskrats or beavers.

Marmot Illustration

Small Mammals

Including Marmot (shown), Weasel, Badger, Uinta Ground Squirrel and Chipmunk.

Birds

Including Raven (shown), Magpie, Mountain Bluebird, Meadowlark and Clark’s Nutcracker.