13 Animals in the Death Valley National Park we Saw While Hiking!

wildlife death valley

Welcome, nature lovers! Death Valley National Park is home to a diverse range of wildlife that adorns the magnificent desert landscape. From soaring birds to speedy lizards and elusive predators, there’s no shortage of fascinating creatures to spot during your hike. 

In this post, we’ll take you on a virtual tour of 13 animals in the Death Valley National Park that we were lucky enough to witness while trekking through its rugged terrain. So grab your binoculars, lace up your boots and join us for an adventure into the wild!

Hiking in the Death Valley National Park

Hiking in the Death Valley National Park is a great way to see some of the park’s most iconic wildlife. The trails are easy to follow and provide a scenic view of the surrounding landscape. From the large and majestic bighorn sheep to the diminutive desert kangaroo rat, there’s something for everyone to see.

hiking death valley

Hiking trails include the Panamint Mountains Trail, the Badwater Road, the Telescope Hill Trail, the Devils Golf Course Trail, the Emigrant Trail, and the South Kaibab Trail. 

While hiking always remember to carry proper gear and be aware of your surroundings, the trails in Death Valley National Park are well-maintained and provide a great opportunity to see some of the park’s most iconic wildlife.

Also Read: 9 Spectacular Hiking Trails In Death Valley National Park!

Carry a lot of water as the weather can be very hot and dry in the park. Wear sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect your skin from the intense sun, and bring plenty of snacks and water to keep you going.

Mountain Lions

In the Death Valley National Park, we saw many different kinds of animals. One of the most exciting was the mountain lion!

Mountain lions are an apex predator in North America, meaning they’re at the top of the food chain. They’re also one of the biggest cats in the world, and can weigh up to 200 pounds!

Mountain Lions

In the Death Valley National Park

We were lucky enough to see a mountain lion while we were hiking. It was a beautiful animal, and we watched it for a long time before it disappeared into the bushes.

Mountain lions are endangered, so it was amazing to see one in person. If you’re ever lucky enough to see one, be sure to give it plenty of space and admire it from afar.


We saw several roadrunners while hiking in the Death Valley National Park, and they were always a welcome sight.

Roadrunners are small birds, with a long tail and a body that is mostly brown. Their legs are strong and their wings are short, allowing them to run quickly over the desert sand. They can reach speeds up to 20 mph while running on the ground!

roadrunners while hiking in the Death Valley National Park

Roadrunners have keen eyesight and can spot prey from a long distance away. They also have sharp claws which they use to grab food like lizards, insects, snakes, and small rodents. In addition, they eat berries, seeds and cactus fruits.

In addition to providing entertainment with their comic movements, roadrunners also help control pests in the desert. By eating rodents they help reduce crop damage in agricultural areas, while preying on snakes helps keep other animals safe from venomous species like rattlesnakes.


The Death Valley National Park is home to a variety of different animals, including bobcats! These elusive creatures are rarely seen by humans, but we were lucky enough to spot one while we were hiking.

Bobcats Saguaro National Park

Bobcats are medium-sized cats that can be found throughout North America. They have short fur that is usually brown or grey in color, with black spots on their sides and legs. 

Their tail is black-tipped, and they have a white patch of fur on their chest. Bobcats are excellent hunters and can take down prey much larger than themselves.

In the wild, bobcats typically live around 10 years, but in captivity, they can live up to 20 years old. These fascinating creatures are just one of the many amazing animals that call the Death Valley National Park home.


There are an estimated 600-900 wild burros living in the Death Valley National Park. These animals were brought to the area by miners and ranchers in the 1800s and early 1900s, and they have been living in the park ever since.

Burros Death Valley National Park

The burros are a big part of the Death Valley ecosystem, and they play an important role in the food chain. 

They eat plants that other animals don’t want to eat, which helps to keep those plants from taking over the landscape. And, when they die, their bodies provide food for scavengers like vultures and coyotes.

If you’re lucky enough to see a burro while you’re hiking in the park, please remember that these are wild animals and they should not be approached or fed. Also, please refrain from leaving any trash behind – it’s not good for the burros or for the environment.

Loggerhead shrikes

Loggerhead shrikes are nicknamed “Butcher Birds” for their interesting hunting habits. These birds are the only member of the falcon family that hunts by flying low to the ground and grabbing prey with their talons.

Loggerhead shrikes death valley

Loggerhead shrikes are known for their unique hunting technique and sharp beaks. They use their beak to impale prey on thorns or barbed wire, making them easier to consume. They also have an interesting vocalization that is described as a “shrieking whistle”.

The birds are native to North America, where they live in open grasslands and shrubland habitats. They feed mainly on insects, small reptiles, amphibians, and other small mammals such as mice and voles. 

Loggerhead shrikes are solitary birds, although they will form flocks of up to twenty individuals when migrating or wintering in certain parts of the continent.


Coyotes are found throughout the Death Valley National Park, but are most commonly seen in the mornings and evenings. They are shy but curious animals, and will often approach hikers in search of food. 


While they may look cute, it is important to remember that coyotes are wild animals and should not be approached. If you see a coyote while hiking, make yourself as big and loud as possible to scare it off.

Coyotes in the area primarily feed on small mammals such as mice, rabbits, and lizards. They also eat fruits, vegetables, carrion, and insects. Coyotes are a keystone species in Death Valley National Park as they help to keep the population of smaller animals in check. They also help disperse seeds from the plants they eat.

Gray Fox

 The gray fox is the only member of the canid family that lives in the Death Valley National Park. They are small (usually weighing between 2 and 4 pounds) and have a bushy tail and a long snout. 

They are mostly gray in color but may also be reddish-brown, black, or even silver. Gray foxes prefer to stay close to the ground and they can climb trees and fences with their strong claws. 

They feed on small animals such as rodents, birds, insects, and reptiles. They are nocturnal hunters and like to hide in rocky terrain during the day.


The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) is a medium-sized icterid bird, about 8.5 in (22 cm) long. It nests on the ground in open country in western and central North America grassland. 

meadow larks death valley

The Western Meadowlark is a species of bird that is found in the Death Valley National Park. The Western Meadowlark is a common bird in the Eastern United States and it ranges from Canada to Mexico. 

This bird is a migratory species and can be seen in both the winter and summer months. The Western Meadowlark has a very notable song, which is a mix of clear whistles and trills that can carry for long distances. During courtship, the male will sing from an exposed perch to attract a mate. 

The Western Meadowlark feeds primarily on insects, but will also consume small amounts of seeds and berries. It prefers open fields with short grasses, pastures, meadows, and agricultural land.

Mule Deer

The Death Valley National Park is home to a variety of animals, including the mule deer. The mule deer is a popular animal in the park and can be seen in a variety of locations. The deer are often seen in groups, but can also be found alone or in pairs. 

mule deer death valley

The mule deer is a herbivore and feeds on a variety of plants. The deer are also known to eat insects and other small animals.

The mule deer can be seen throughout the year, but is most active in the early morning and late evening when they feed. During the summer months, mule deer will move to higher elevations and during the winter, they will move back down to lower elevations. 

The mule deer is an important part of the park’s ecosystem and provides food for predators such as mountain lions, coyotes, and bobcats.

Desert Bighorn Sheep

The Death Valley National Park is home to a variety of different animals, including the desert bighorn sheep. These sheep are well adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert, and can be seen roaming around the mountains and valleys of the park.

Bighorn death valley

The desert bighorn sheep are a fascinating species, and visitors to the park can learn more about them by taking a ranger-led hike or attending one of the ranger-led programs.

Sidewinder Rattlesnake

One of the most dangerous animals in the Death Valley National Park is the sidewinder rattlesnake. This venomous snake is responsible for many deaths each year, and is a serious threat to hikers and campers alike. The best way to avoid being bitten by a sidewinder is to be aware of their habitat and to avoid walking in areas where they are known to live. 

Sidewinder Rattlesnake death valley

If you do encounter a sidewinder, it is important to remain calm and avoid making any sudden movements, as this may trigger an attack. If you are bitten by a sidewinder, seek medical help immediately and do not attempt to remove the venom yourself.

Also Read: Camping In Death Valley National Park: Your Complete Guide (Sites And Rules Included)


There are several different species of jackrabbits in the Death Valley National Park, including the black-tailed, white-tailed, and antelope jackrabbits. 

 jackrabbits in the Death Valley National Park

These rabbits are all generally shy and elusive but can be seen running around in the open areas of the park. They are a welcome sight after a long day of hiking in the hot sun!

Jackrabbits are a keystone species in the Death Valley ecosystem, as they are a food source for many predators and scavengers. They also help keep vegetation under control by eating grasses and other plants.

Jackrabbits are important to the health of the desert, so it is important to be mindful of their presence while exploring the park.

Kangaroo rats

There are several species of kangaroo rat in the Death Valley National Park, and they are all interesting animals. The most common species is the black-tailed kangaroo rat, which is a small rodent that gets its name from its long tail and powerful hind legs. 

 kangaroo rat in the Death Valley National Park

These rats are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night and sleep during the day. They live in burrows underground and come out to forage for food.

Kangaroo rats are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. Their diet consists mostly of seeds, but they will also eat leaves, stems, and fruit when it is available. 

They have large cheek pouches that they use to store food to take back to their burrows. Kangaroo rats get all the water they need from the food they eat and do not need to drink water like other animals do.

The other species of kangaroo rat in Death Valley National Park is the desert kangaroo rat. This species is larger than the black-tailed kangaroo rat and has a white stripe down its back. Desert kangaroo rats are also nocturnal and live in burrows, but their diet consists mostly of green plants rather than seeds. They get moisture from the plants they eat and do not need to drink water either.

What to do if you see a wild animal while hiking

If you see a wild animal while hiking in the Death Valley National Park, do not approach it. Instead, observe the animal from a safe distance and enjoy the experience. If you have a camera with you, take some pictures. If the animal appears to be injured or in distress, contact a park ranger for assistance.

How to stay safe while hiking in the park

There are a few things to keep in mind when hiking in the park to ensure your safety. 

First, be aware of your surroundings and know where you are at all times. It is easy to get turned around in the vastness of the park, so always keep track of your location. 

Second, carry plenty of water with you and drink often to stay hydrated. The heat in the park can be intense, and dehydration can set in quickly. 

Third, be cautious of wildlife. While most animals in the park are harmless, there are some that can pose a threat. Pay attention to signs and never approach or feed any animal. 

Finally, hike with a buddy whenever possible and let someone know your itinerary before heading out. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while hiking in Death Valley National Park.


What a rewarding experience it was to explore the wildlife of Death Valley National Park. We were lucky enough to spot fifteen different animals during our hike, and we will definitely be returning again soon! 

While not all national parks have such an abundance of wildlife, this park is surely one that stands out from the crowd. If you’re looking for a unique outdoor adventure, then consider visiting this amazing place and getting up close with some of nature’s most remarkable creatures!

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