animalspeciesOur Ranch is Home to Many Different Species of Animals

The U.S. Southwest is home to an extraordinary range of wildlife, and Grand Canyon Ranch Resort is a microcosm of it all

Over 137 different species of mammals, birds, reptiles and arachnids have been catalogued on the ranch, and they run an amazing gamut; from mule and white-tailed deer, desert bighorn sheep and buffalo, to mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, jack rabbits, scorpions, tarantulas, and the deadly rattlesnake.

A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the mountain lion or cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources on the ranch include ungulates such as deer, elk and wild pigs. It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and persists at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. It is a beautiful reclusive cat, usually avoids people and has in some areas nearly been exterminated due to man’s invasion on its territory.

The majestic golden eagle was once close to extinction; but fortunately it’s now making a comeback due to the efforts of conservationists. A number of these stately birds, with their seven foot wingspans, now roost in the cliffs and walls of the Grand Canyon; you may even spot one or two soaring majestically over the ranch. The largest bird of prey in the U.S., with distinctive golden neck feathers, they kill and bring back to their nests rabbits and ground squirrels for their eaglets to feed on. Winter is an especially good time to spot golden eagles, as it is their favorite season to congregate in the lower mountains and along the Colorado River, where they nest high on cliffs that provide an unobstructed view.

Other fascinating characters that share the ranch with humans are screech-owls, white-winged doves, the great horned owl (the largest in North America), the roadrunner (a large bird up to two feet long including its foot-long tail that has been known to attack rattlesnakes), gila monsters, and the red-tailed hawk—the most fearless hawk on the planet.

Crazy Horse, the legendary Sioux warrior, wore a red-tailed hawk feather on his head whenever he rode into battle against the “bluecoats,” the U.S. Cavalry. A brilliant tactician, Crazy Horse won every battle he fought against them, most notably the Little Big Horn where five divisions of Custer’s unlucky Seventh Cavalry—232 men including Custer—were wiped out.

Finally, there’s the coyote, whose mournful howls are a familiar sound in the west. Navajo medicine men (shamans) today still interpret coyote howlings to foretell the weather.

The ranch monitors water resources and protects this fragile desert habitat. Visitors to the ranch will not leave behind any trash, deliberately damage vegetation or disturb wildlife.