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Fauna in the canyon: Grand Canyon wildlife
The Grand Canyon is a vast refuge for hundreds of species of animals some distinctly found only in the north and south rim. Grand canyon wildlife is protected by a presidential proclamation enacted in 1893 by then President Benjamin Harrison that set a portion of the Grand Canyon as a forest reserve. Today, the grand canyon wildlife includes 75 species of mammals, 50 species of reptiles (includes amphibians), 25 species of fish, and more than 300 species of birds. Visitors who are fond of entomology (the study of insects) can celebrate on the countless species of insects as well as arachnids (i.e. spiders, scorpions) crawling within the canyon.
Grand canyon wildlife: mammals
The bigger mammals commonly seen on the rim of the national park are the mule deer while the desert bighorn finds a home on the slopes of the canyon, but occasionally comes in the path of established trails. Squirrels are the most celebrated among the Grand Canyon wildlife. The Albert and Kaibab squirrel actually belong to one ancestor, the tassel-eared squirrel, but are separated by the vastness of the canyon. They eventually evolved into two distinct species. The former is exclusively found in the south rim while the latter in the north rim.
Mountains lions also exist in the park although in a smaller population while bobcats and coyotes can be seen from the rims down to the river. Smaller mammals seen lurking about in the park are beavers, gophers, ringtails, chipmunks, rabbits, bats and several species of squirrels.
Grand canyon wildlife: reptiles and amphibians
Several species of lizards, turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, and snakes like the pink rattlesnake that is exclusively found in the Grand Canyon comprise the reptiles and amphibians. Snakes hardly show themselves on the established trails, however, mainly because they avoid human confrontation as much as possible.
The forest reserves of the canyon allow a diversity of wildlife to flourish. Grand canyon wildlife includes endangered species that are now being monitored such as the bald eagle, peregrine falcon, and willow flycatcher. In 1963, the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam caused a decline in the native Colorado River fish due to the immense changes in water in terms of volume, temperature, and load of sediment in the Colorado River.
Park visitors are warned though that timid as they are, like the mule deer, animals wage attacks when they feel threatened. The park strictly enforces the "do not feed the animals" policy.