Wildlife at Yellowstone

If you haven’t read my Yellowstone Itinerary, be sure to go check that out! I didn’t go into a lot of detail regarding all the wildlife we saw, so I wanted to share more on that in this post.

What types of wildlife did we see during our time in Yellowstone?

  • Bison
  • Elk
  • Grizzly Bears
  • Big Horn Sheep
  • Chipmunks
  • White pelicans

While that may not seem like many animals, we were only in the park for two days. The likelihood of seeing some form of wildlife in Yellowstone is pretty high! Even driving through without making stops, you would be able to see buffalo or elk in the meadows from the roadway. We were so lucky to be in the right place at the right time to spot the two Grizzly Bears that we saw. Check out the photos below – we were across the river from the bears and you are required to stay 100 ft away so there wasn’t much I could do without a better camera lens to zoom in with.

Travel tip: Be sure to take along binoculars and a camera with good quality zoom capabilities. Since our trip, I’ve purchased a 75-300mm lens that will allow me to better capture these sightings!

Grizzly Bears next to the river

Want to know more about these larger mammals?

Bison:

  • There were 4,829 counted in the park as of August 2019
  • Males (bulls) weigh up to 2000lbs and females (cows) weigh up to 1000lb
  • Live around 15-20 years
  • Can be aggressive, are agile, and can run up to 30 mph
  • Yellowstone is the only place in the lower 48 states to have a continuously free-ranging bison population since prehistoric times

Grizzly Bears:

  • As of 2019, 728 estimated in greater Yellowstone – approx 150 with home ranges wholly or partially in the park
  • Males weigh 200–700 pounds, females weigh 200–400 pounds
  • May live 15-30 years
  • Agile and can run up to 40 mph
  • It’s said that grizzly bears are overly attracted to menstrual odors – learn more about that here

Elk:

  • 10,000–20,000 elk in six to seven different herds during summer months
  • Males (bulls) weigh around 700 pounds and females (cows) weigh approximately 500 pounds; calves are around 50 lbs at birth
  • Use antlers to settle disputes
  • Feed on grasses, sedges, other herbs and shrubs, bark of aspen trees, conifer needles, burned bark, aquatic plants

Have you been to Yellowstone before? Comment to let me know what wildlife you saw on your trip!

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