Animals in Colorado

Family Antilocapridae Antelope
Family Bovidae Bison, Sheep, Goats
Family Canidae the dogs. Wolves, Foxes, Coyotes and Jackals
Family Castoridae Beavers amd relatives
Family Cervidae Deer
Family Cricetidae hamsters, voles, lemmings, and New World rats and mice
Family Equidae Horses, Donkeys
Family Erethizontidae Porcupines
Family Felidae Cats
Family Leporidae Rabbits and Hares
Family Mephitidae Skunks
Family Mustelidae Weasel, Otter, Badgers.
Family Procyonidae Racoons
Family Sciurinae Squirrels, Marmots, etc.
Family Ursidae Bears
Family Vespertilionidae Vesper or Evening bats.


Family Vespertilionidae, Evening or Vesper bats.

This bat, found on 23 May 2010 at the Fountain Creek Nature Center, is very small -- 1.5 inch long or maybe a little over as it was huddled sleeping under the roof of the shelter. It seems to match the photos of the Western Pipistrelle bat found on the internet. The size also matches, as this is supposed to be one of the smallest bats found in Colorado.

This one is known as a Canyon Bat, and is an insect eater.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera (bats)
Family: Vespertilionidae (Evening bats or Vesper bats)
Genus: Parastrellus
Species: P. hesperus



Family Antilocapridae, Antelope.

Pronghorn Antelope. The antelope still roam the plains. Fences don't stop them; they just jump over the fence. They have eye-sight about equivalent to a human with 7 power binoculars. They are the second fastest land mammal; only the Cheetah is faster.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Ruminantia
Infraorder: Pecora
Family: Antilocapridae
Genus: Antilocapra
Species: A. americana

These first two pictures were taken in El Paso county, Colorado on 6 November 2007. I used an Olympus OM88 35mm camera with a 400mm lens.

The third and fourth pictures were taken on 19 April 2008 with a Canon Powershot S2 digital camera.
The fifth picture was taken on 28 September 2010, east of Colorado Springs.



19 April 2008 19 April 2008

Family Cervidae, Deer.

For several years, I have been trying to get a photo of some of the Colorado Elk. This morning, (18 August 2011) at just after sunrise, between Divide and Florissant Colorado, this herd was crossing the highway just ahead of me. Some had crossed, then this group decided to wait until I had passed.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Suborder: Ruminantia
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Cervinae
Genus: Cervus
Species: C. canadensis

White Tailed deer. Also known as the Virginia deer, or simply Whitetail. This picture was taken on 20 March 2008, at the Fountain, CO Nature center. The second picture was taken at the same place, but on 3 May 2009.

More Whitetail pictures.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Odocoileinae
Genus: Odocoileus
Species: Odocoileus virginianus


Mule deer. The first picture was taken May 20, 2008 near Elevenmile Lake, Colorado. They appear to be yearlings, and they are probably not finished shedding their winter coats, since they look somewhat ragged.

The next two pictures, taken 6 July 2008 in Teller Co., CO shows why they are called Mule Deer. They are also looking thin, with ribs showing, since we had very little rain in 2008, and they were having trouble finding good grass.

The last picture was taken July 22, 2008 near Elevenmile Lake. They have a nice set of antlers, covered in velvet.

Click here for more mule deer pictures.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Odocoileinae
Genus: Odocoileus
Species: O. hemionus




A Moose. Originally, there were only a few Moose in Colorado, but they are more plentiful now in the Western side of the state, so we count this as a Colorado animal. A few of them have been known to come as far as Colorado Springs. This one was at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on 27 June 2008. In Europe, this same animal is called an Elk.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Capreolinae
Genus: Alces
Species: A. alces


Family Bovidae. Bison

Bison. They no longer roam the prairies, but they can still roam around a rancher's pastures. These all appeared to be about the same size and age, not quite full size. Probably yearlings. The picture was taken 17 May 2007, near Hartsel, Colorado.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Bovinae
Genus: Bison
Species: B. bison

Bighorn Sheep. Actually these are part of the sub-species called Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep. This is a pair of young ones. They were near the road between Divide and Cripple Creek, Colorado. This picture were taken on 23 August 2004.

The second and third pictures were taken on 19 April 2011, along the same road. There had been a light snow the night before. One of them appears to be wearing a radio tracking collar put there by the Department of Wildlife.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Caprinae
Genus: Ovis
Species: O. canadensis




More Bighorn Sheep. These were part of a group of 9 or 10 that were grazing along Teller County road 1, between Cripple Creek and Florissant on 12 March 2013. They still had their winter coats, so they look a little ragged.



A Mountain Goat, also known as a Rocky Mountain Goat. This one is at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs, CO.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Genus: Oreamnos
Species: O. americanus


Family Equidae. Horses, Donkeys

Some Cripple Creek Donkeys. They are sometimes seen wandering around the streets of Cripple Creek, Colorado. The residents of Cripple Creek tell the tourists that they are the descendants of the donkeys that used to work in the gold mines, pulling carts of gold ore.

Actually, that original herd died out when the gold mining stopped in those mines, but that herd was later replaced by this new herd of donkeys.

They have their own barn and pasture, but they are sometimes turned loose for the tourists to have a reason to take pictures. These pictures were taken in August 2004.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Subgenus: Asinus
Species: E. africanus


Family Procyonidae. Racoons

A Raccoon, picture taken early morning 21 April 2008 in Colorado Springs, CO. It was trying to hide under the roof of my neighbor's shed. My dogs had chased it there.

I set my humane trap on the picnic table in the back yard, baited with some dog food, in case it came back. Nothing was captured. I do not want a raccoon in my back yard, since my dogs are Peke-a-poos, and each weighs maybe half of what the raccoon weighs. Raccoons will attack dogs even bigger than themselves if they feel cornered.

Early in the morning of 24 April, little Joey was barking in the back yard, and the raccoon was up in a tree next to that same shed.

Then, I suspected that the raccoon was living in that shed during the day. So that day, I put the trap where the raccoon could get to it easily, and baited it with some of our cat's fish flavored food (Fancy Feast).
By 9 p.m., the raccoon was in the trap. I put the trap on top of my boat in the front driveway so it would be safe until morning, when I would call the Humane Society. But the next morning, it had escaped. The trap is a Havahart humane trap, with two locks which can not be opened from the inside. There was some extra hair on top of my boat, and the trap had been tipped on it's side, which would have released one of the locks. But the other lock could have been opened only from the outside. So I am convinced that the raccoon's mate had helped open the trap, and now I have a problem with two raccoons.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Procyonidae
Genus: Procyon
Species: P. lotor


24 April 2008, early morning Raccoon tracks in the mud, 8 October 2008 at
                the Fountain Creek Nature Center.

Family Ursidae, Bears

Grizzly Bears. There are no Grizzly bears left in Colorado now, but they were here 200 years ago, so I am including them. They would still be here if humans had not driven them off. This pair was at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, CO on 27 June 2008.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species: U. arctos
Subspecies: U. a. horribilis

American Black Bear. I have not been able to get a photo of one of these yet, so this is a placeholder until I do. The first sign is at Elevenmile Lake in Park county, Colorado, and the second one is at the Bear Creek Nature Center in Colorado Springs. But they hide when I come around with my camera.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Ursidae
Genus: Ursus
Species: U. americanus



Family Sciurinae, Squirrels. A large family of rodents.

A Fox squirrel (Sciurus niger). This is the common squirrel which has a large population in Colorado Springs. They can be carriers of the Plague, and this disease can also be spread by the fleas that the squirrel carries.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Subfamily: Sciurinae
Genus: Sciurus
Subgenus: Sciurus
Species: S. niger

This picture was taken on October 15, 2007. It was trying very hard to climb up to the bird feeder. It's claws are sharp enough so they can dig into the paint on the part of the pole that is painted green, but it can not get hold on the galvanized vent pipe above.

These rodents are such a nuisance that I have been using a humane trap to catch them, and then take them out to the prairie east of Colorado Springs and let them go. The hawks and coyotes appreciate my efforts on their behalf.

I would rather shoot them when I catch them, but then I would have neighbors calling the police, and the SWAT team would be paying me a visit. So, I drive the 10 mile round trip to the prairie east of town when I catch one.


Black Squirrel. This is actually an Eastern Gray Squirrel. According to Wikipedia, this species is usually gray, but can be all white or all black, depending on the geographical area. The first picture was taken in November, 2007.

The second picture was taken on 21 December 2010 in Colorado Springs, in my bird feeder where he does not belong.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Sciurus
Subgenus: Sciurus
Species: S. carolinensis


Abert's Squirrel. Sometimes called a tassel-eared squirrel. The normal habitat is the ponderosa pine forests in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. Their normal diet is mostly ponderosa pine seeds, bark, buds, and flowers. Also, they eat the fungi that grows on mature ponderosa pine trees. The scientific name is Sciurus Aberti.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Sciurus
Subgenus: Otosciurus
Species: aberti

This picture was taken April 30, 2002 in the forest in Teller County, CO.

Another Abert's Squirrel, found on 22 May 2012 close to the same location as the one I found in 2002. It was able to get back into the forest by the time I could get my car stopped and get off the road.
Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, pictures taken 11 August 2008 in Elbert Co., Colorado. This animal is also called a Striped Gopher, but it is not a gopher, it is a ground squirrel.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Spermophilus
Species: tridecemlineatus


This is a Yellow-bellied Marmot, found on 30 August 2008 at about the 13,000 foot level of Pikes Peak. It was on the side of the road, and was not afraid of either my car or me. It was eating something it was finding on the side of the road, or maybe licking salt from the rocks.

The third picture was taken near the same site, but on 7 July 2009.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Subfamily: Xerinae
Tribe: Marmotini
Genus: Marmota
Species: flaviventris



Prairie Dogs. The first picture was taken 21 March 2008, near Brush Hollow reservoir, South of Colorado Springs, CO. These animals have fleas that often carry the Bubonic Plague. Also, the ranchers in Colorado object to them because cattle sometimes break their legs by stepping into the holes. If that is a black tip on the tail, then this is the Cynomys ludovicianus species. I used a Canon Powershot S2 digital camera.

The second picture is of a Black-tailed Prairie dog, Cynomys ludovicianus, 27 June 2008 at the Cheyenne Mt. Zoo, Colorado Springs, CO.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Sciuromorpha
Family: Sciuridae
Tribe: Marmotini
Genus: Cynomys
Species : Cynomys gunnisoni, Cynomys leucurus, Cynomys ludovicianus, Cynomys mexicanus and Cynomys parvidens


White-tailed prairie dogs. These were found on 19 April 2011 close to Teller County road 1, between Cripple Creek and Florissant, Colorado. They have white tails that are shorter than other prairie dogs.

This species typically lives at higher elevations, between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, than other prairie dogs.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Cynomys
Species: C. leucurus


This is probably the Wyoming Ground Squirrel, Urocitellus elegans. According to the Colorado Department of Wildlife web site at wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Pages/GroundSquirrels.aspx , this would be the species of ground squirrel found in the mountain parks and basins. These were seen near the parking lot at Skaguay Reservoir, in Teller county Colorado on 14 June 2011.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Urocitellus
Species: U. elegans


More of the Wyoming Ground Squirrel, found near the gold mine between Cripple Creek and Victor, Teller county, Colorado on 11 June 2013.
A Chipmunk. The most distinguishing feature that describes a Chipmunk is the set of black, white and brown stripes across each eye. They can't be seen in this photo taken by Alyssa Erickson in October 2007, but the stripes on it's back match what is usually seen on a Chipmunk. We don't know which species this is.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife page at wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Chipmunks.htm says that there are five species of chipmunk in Colorado.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Sciuromorpha
Family: Sciuridae
Tribe: Marmotini
Genus: Tamias
Species: One of these: Colorado chipmunk, Hopi chipmunk, Uinta chipmunk, cliff chipmunk or the least chipmunk

This one is the Least Chipmunk, Tamias minimus. It is the smallest of the five species of Chipmunks that are found in Colorado, and also the most widespread. This photo was taken on 10 September 2009 along the road to the Pikes Peak summit. It has the distinguishing marks of three dark stripes over, through and under the eye.

The second picture was taken on 24 October 2009, after the chipmunk climbed the stucco wall of my neighbor's house, escaping from a large black cat.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Sciuromorpha
Family: Sciuridae
Tribe: Marmotini
Genus: Tamias
Species: minimus


This small chipmunk was found south of Victor, Teller county Colorado on 1 July 2011. Since it is so small, it must also be the Least Chipmunk, Tamias minimus.
Alyssa Erickson took the first picture, of what both she and I had been calling a Chipmunk. More careful research shows that it is actually a Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel. It is very similar to a Chipmunk, but the Chipmunk has stripes on it's head, and larger and more pointed ears. Otherwise, they live in the same habitat, are about the same size, and are often confused.

The second picture is the same species, found near the souvenier shop at the Crystal Reservoir, just off the Pikes Peak highway on 10 September 2009.

The third picture of an obviously well-fed Ground Squirrel was taken at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on 27 June 2008. It seems larger, and may be a different species than in Alyssa's picture.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Sciuridae
Genus: Spermophilus
Species: S. lateralis



This Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel was found at Eleven Mile Lake on 17 June 2011.

Family Castoridae

A Beaver, picture taken by Alyssa Erickson on 14 June 2008 near Monument, Colorado. We don't know which of the three species this one belongs to.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Castoridae
Genus: Castor
Species (3):
C. canadensis
C. fiber
C. californicus

The second picture is of a typical beaver dam, in Teller Co., Colorado.


Family Cricetidae --- hamsters, voles, lemmings, and New World rats and mice.

Muskrat. The first picture is of a Muskrat that was at the Fountain Creek Nature Center, Fountain, Colorado on 30 May 2009. The second picture is at the same place, and is probably a young one, 30 June 2009.

The third picture is a closer shot, also at the Fountain Creek Nature Center, on 1 November 2009.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Superfamily: Muroidea
Family: Cricetidae
Subfamily: Arvicolinae
Tribe: Ondatrini
Genus: Ondatra
Species: O. zibethicus




Family Canidae, the dogs. Wolves, Foxes, Coyotes and Jackals.

Coyotes. This pair was spotted east of Calhan, Colorado on 30 October 2008, in El Paso county. They were more than 1/4 of a mile out in the field, and when I stopped my car, they began to move away from me. I drove up a side road to get a little closer, and they began moving in another direction to get away from me. One was a little bigger than the other.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
Species: C. latrans


A young Red Fox. There was some dog food in the dish that was left in my drivway. When I came out with my camera, he decided that he would keep on eating the dog food. I was standing about 8 feet away from him, using my flash camera. This was on 15 May 2008, shortly after dark.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
There are about 27 species, but the most common is Genus Vulpes, Species Vulpes, the red fox.


Family Felidae

Cougar. Also known as a Mountain Lion, Puma, Catamount, or Panther. These were in the Cheyenne Moutain zoo on 27 June 2008.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Puma
Species: P. concolor

Family Erethizontidae

Porcupine. This picture was taken at the Cheyenne Mountain zoo, in Colorado Springs, CO in April 2008.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Suborder: Hystricomorpha
Infraorder: Hystricognathi
Parvorder: Caviomorpha
Family: Erethizontidae (New World Porcupines)

and there are 27 different species.

Family Mephitidae

A family of skunks, leaving our blue spruce tree and heading across the street. Mama skunk checked for cars first, saw none, so she headed across, with her 8 baby skunks following her. This picture taken from the video, summer of 2003.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Family: Mephitidae
Genera: Mephitis
Species: Striped Skunk.


Family Mustelidae, Weasel, Otter, Badger family.

A Weasel, picture taken by Alyssa Erickson on a trip to St. Elmo, CO in early October 2007.

She says that the birds sounded an alarm, then all the Chipmunks they had been playing with disappeared, and then the weasel made his appearance. Weasels eat just about anything they can catch.

There are several varieties of weasel in Colorado, and this web site describes them: wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/Profiles/Mammals/Weasel.htm.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Mustelinae
Genus: Mustela

These are Northern River Otters, AKA North American River Otters. They are in the same family (Mustelidae) as Weasels. These were found in the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, CO on 27 June 2008.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Lutrinae
Genus: Lontra
Species: L. canadensis

An American Badger. These pictures were taken on 28 September 2010 in El Paso county, between Calhan Colorado, and Colorado Springs. It heard me approaching the hole that it had dug, and left quickly. They are seldom seen during the day, and do not like photographers.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mustelidae
Subfamily: Taxidiinae
Genus: Taxidea
Species: taxus



Family Leporidae, Rabbits and Hares. About 50 species total.

A Cottontail rabbit. This one was at the shooting range at the Ben Lomond gun club in Elbert county, Colorado. It wanted to stay in back of the target. More than once, I gently convinced it that it should go somewhere else, but once I left to go back to the shooting line, it would return. It survived.

Several years ago, I was at the shooting range, unloading my guns and other equipment. A cottontail rabbit came up to me, within about 10 feet, and just looked at me. Then, I noticed a weasel that had been following it.
I chased the weasel away, then the rabbit left in another direction.
The rabbit was probably 10 times the weight of the weasel, but this did not seem to bother the weasel.

The second picture is a baby cottontail at the Fountain CO Nature center, 12 June 2008 and the third picture is of an adult cottontail at the same place, same day.

Click here for a video of a cottontail.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Sylvilagus
and there are 16 different species.


A Jack rabbit. Actually, the Jack rabbit is a Hare, not a rabbit. The difference is that a rabbit, such as the Cottontail, has young that are born blind and hairless, and need care for some time. A Hare such as the Jack Rabbit has young that are born fully furred and with eyes open, and are soon ready to take care of themselves.

This picture was taken 21 April 2006, in Elbert Co., CO. The second picture is of a young jack rabbit at the Fountain, CO nature center 12 June 2008.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Lepus