Utah Field Guide: Colorado River Wildlife

As the only major water source in the midst of a dry expanse, the Colorado river attracts a variety of wildlife. From deer, fox, beaver, bobcats, even the Desert Big Horn sheep we found in Dark Canyon. Evidence of sheep living in the Colorado drainage date back to the Ancestral Puebloan culture. The prominence of bighorn sheep in rock art perhaps attests to this animal’s symbolic importance in prehistoric cultural and diet.

Historical records of the first white men in the state also confirm the presence of bighorns. Father Escalante noted in his journal as he crossed the Colorado River in Utah that “through here wild sheep live in such abundance that their tracks are like those of great herds of domestic sheep”

Another creature commonly seen at night catching insects on the shores of the Colorado river is one of five species of toads that are native to Utah. This is the Woodhouse Toad. Specimens can reach lengths of up to five inches. We spotted this guy while eating around the fire one night. The sounds they make.

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