Skip to Content

20 Animals That Call The Great Sand Dunes National Park Home

Animals that call the great sand dunes national park home.

Let’s dive in and find out what animals call the Great Sand Dunes National Park home. The national park spans across 107,342 acres and is located in southern Colorado. It is home to various animals that each play an important role this this eco-system.

1. Kangaroo Rat

desert kangaroo rat
Image by djmdep via Depositphotos

These small rodents are well-adapted to the arid environment of the sand dunes, with specialized kidneys that allow them to survive without drinking water for long periods.

2. Bighorn Sheep

Desert Bighorn sheep. Image via depositphotos.

These majestic creatures are often spotted scaling the rocky slopes surrounding the dunes, showcasing their impressive climbing abilities.

3. Desert Cottontail

A Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus audubonii) sitting in the sand in Arches National Park, Utah. Image via depositphotos.

These adorable rabbits are common inhabitants of the dunes, using their keen senses to navigate the harsh desert terrain.

4. Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Black-tailed Prairie Dog
By Acroterion – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73556788

While not exclusive to the dunes, these social rodents can be found in the grasslands surrounding the park, where they create extensive underground burrow systems.

5. Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl. Image by Caroline Ebinger via Unsplash

A nocturnal predator, the Great Horned Owl can be found roosting in the trees and cliffs around the dunes, preying on small mammals and birds.

6. Prairie Falcon

A prairie falcon is perched on a metal fence post in north Idaho. Image via depositphotos.

This bird of prey can often be spotted soaring above the dunes, hunting for rodents and small birds.

7. Kit Fox

kit Fox
Kit Fox in Utah. Image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Kit_Fox_Utah._Photo_Credit_USFWS_Clint_Wirick_%2852461966359%29.jpg

These small foxes are well-adapted to desert life, with large ears to dissipate heat and keen hunting skills.

8. Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

western diamondback rattlesnake
Western diamondback rattlesnake. Image via Depositphotos

A venomous snake species found in the dunes, known for its distinctive diamond-shaped markings and rattling tail.

9. Desert Spiny Lizard

Desert Spiny lizard. Image by Vickie J Anderson, http://www.wildlifeimagesupclose.com, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These lizards are commonly found basking in the sun on rocks and logs, using their spiny scales for defense against predators.

10. Desert Banded Gecko

Desert banded gecko. Image by Joshua Tree National Park, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Nocturnal and secretive, these geckos emerge at night to hunt insects and seek shelter among the rocks and vegetation.

11. Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion
Mount lion. Image via National Park Service from USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While elusive and rarely seen by visitors, mountain lions inhabit the remote areas of the park, preying on deer and other wildlife.

12. Pronghorn

Pronghorn Antelope
Pronghorn Antelope. Image by jose ramos via Unsplash

These swift antelope are occasionally seen grazing in the grasslands surrounding the dunes, showcasing their remarkable speed and agility.

13. Black Bear

Black bear
Black Bear Cub Scratching its head with its paw. Image by Sung Jin Cho on Unsplash

Though less common in the dunes themselves, black bears inhabit the forested areas of the park, feeding on berries, insects, and occasionally scavenging for food.

14. Coyote

Coyote
Coyote Image by karlumbriaco.hotmail.com via Depositphotos

These adaptable predators are often seen prowling the edges of the dunes, hunting for small mammals and scavenging for food.

15. Golden Eagle

golden eagle
A golden eagle. Image via depositphotos.

Majestic and powerful, golden eagles can be seen soaring above the dunes, hunting for small mammals and birds.

16. Gunnison’s Prairie Dog

Prairie Dogs. Image via depositphotos.

Similar to the black-tailed prairie dog, Gunnison’s prairie dogs inhabit the grasslands surrounding the dunes, forming extensive burrow colonies.

17. Bobcat

Bobcat
Bobcat in a forest. Image Miller_Eszter via Pixabay

Solitary and elusive, bobcats inhabit the rocky slopes and forests surrounding the dunes, feeding on small mammals and birds.

18. Mule Deer

Mule deer. Image via depositphotos.

Commonly spotted grazing in the grasslands and forested areas, mule deer are an iconic species of the park.

19. Red-tailed Hawk

hawk
Flying bird of prey above the field meadow, Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, landing in the forest. Wildlife scene from nature. Image via Deposit Photos

With its distinctive red tail feathers, this hawk is a common sight soaring above the dunes, hunting for rodents and other small prey.

20. Great Basin Collared Lizard

Great Basin Collared Lizard. Image via depositphotos.

These lizards are well-camouflaged among the sand and rocks of the dunes, using their powerful legs to sprint across the desert floor.

Conclusion

First morning light – Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. Image via depositphotos.

Each of these animals plays a unique role in the ecosystem of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, contributing to its biodiversity and natural beauty. I hope you enjoyed reading bout the animals that call the Great Sand Dunes Park home. To read more like this, check out the articles below:

Join our Forum for free today!

Animal Forum
Click Here
Top 10 States With The Most Grizzly Bear Top 10 States With The Most Black Bear Tiger Cubs Debut With Proud Mom Top 10 States With The Most Bald Eagles Top 10 States With The Most Bison