Fire crews will begin burning in the Mariposa Grove starting this week as conditions allow. Ignitions are planned to begin today, May 30 in...
NPS Public Domain)
Grizzlies, also known as “brown bears,” weigh up to 700 pounds. They have a distinctive hump between their shoulders that black bears do not have. They have shorter ears and a longer snout than black bears. Grizzlies disseminate huckleberry seeds via their scat and till soil for glacier lilies.
Where to see them: Grizzlies live throughout the park, eating berries, parsnip thickets and glacier lilies. On the east side, some spend spring in valleys and then go up to the high country for summer. Others spend the entire summer in meadows and aspen groves, heading higher to hibernate.
As Glacier’s official symbol, mountain goats are covered with two layers of wool that enable them to withstand temperatures that dip to -50F. They have large hooves and rough pads to scale steep, rugged slopes.
Both males and females have black horns and long faces with fur hanging off their chins. Females, called “nannies,” live with children and females. Males live apart in groups of 2-3. They can jump nearly 12 feet.
Where to see them: Look for them on rocky slopes and high meadows. They lick salt near trails. See them at Logan Pass, Sperry/Gunsight, Hidden Lake, Iceberg Lake and Grinnell Lake areas.
NPS Tim Rains)
You can spot a male moose easily by its huge antlers that stretch up to six feet. Females don’t have antlers. Moose have long snouts, bulbous noses and extra skin under their throats. They are enormous, weighing up to 1,800 pounds.
On land they can reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour. Their hooves are made for snow travel, enabling them to navigate deep powder. They also are good swimmers, paddling several miles at a time.
Where to see them: Moose love watery areas and areas with high grasses, willows and shrubs. Fishercap Lake area is a good place to spot them.
NPS Tim Rains)
These omnivores can weigh up to 400 pounds and stretch from two to four feet tall. They can be black, blond or brown, which can lead visitors to misidentify them as grizzlies. In spring, they eat shrubs and new shoots in the forest. Throughout summer and fall, they retreat to higher elevations, chasing berries and trout. Black bears hibernate during winter and mate throughout summer.
Where to see them: Black bears live throughout the park. Look for them in forested areas where they like to dwell. Maintain at least 100 yards between you and a bear and always carry bear spray.
Traveling in groups, bighorn sheep are built for spending long winters at high elevation. Born with rough split hooves, they climb up steep, rocky terrain to escape predators. Males, also known as “rams,” have larger horns that can weigh up to 30 pounds. Females, referred to as “ewes,” have horns that never form more than half a curl. Bighorn sheep eat grasses and shrubs. In fall, rams compete for ewes by butting each other for up to 24 hours at a time.
Where to see them: See them on the Logan Pass (even in the parking lot). Look up on the grassy slopes of mountain sides and high alpine meadows to see bighorn sheep.
Keith Williams via Wikimedia Commons)
This rare cat with long-ear tufts is a threatened species in the Lower 48 but can be spotted in Glacier. It’s larger than a house cat, weighing around 20 pounds. Its large, wide furry feet help it travel easily through snow. Its back legs are larger than its front legs. Its fur is usually gray in winter and light brown in summer.
Lynx dine on snowshoe hares, birds and rodents. They are primarily solitary animals and den in fallen trees and rock ledges.
Where to see them: Lynx prefer dense forests but hunt at higher elevations with more open spaces, so keep your eyes peeled for these elusive cats.
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