Charging elk, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, one of these must be the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon, right? Not quite – According to local hospitals, the rock squirrel is the most dangerous animal of all the Grand Canyon residents.
Rock Squirrels use their charm and wit to lure tourists in, but as you know looks can be deceiving. These creatures are highly active in the daytime, morning and late afternoon to be exact. When temperatures are warm and human traffic is high in the Grand Canyon. They remain a constant presence around the park’s gift shop, snack shops and welcome centers. They also live in colonies with other rock squirrels and will work as a team.
Wildlife continues to become used to humans as they lose their natural fear of them. A vast majority of this problem is due to humans dropping food along trails and feeding wildlife. Feeding wildlife is discouraged in all National Parks, it’s even illegal. As a result, they have lost the desire to fend for themselves. In addition to this, the spread of the selfie culture and popularity of capturing moments through photographs and video is posing a new threat to both wildlife and humans. Camera-happy tourists have provoked animals and can ultimately alter their behaviors.
National Parks Service (NPS) advises visitors to stay at least 100 feet away from large inhabitants in the Grand Canyon like elk, deer and bison. For other smaller wildlife like rock squirrels, birds and reptiles stay at least 50 feet away.
So, on your next trip to the Grand Canyon, it’s in your best interest to try and avoid coming in close contact with rock squirrels or other local wildlife while you tour the region. For your safety and theirs. Sorry to disappoint – this means no squirrel selfies. Just remember, distance makes the heart grow fonder!
Learn about the famous mythical creature that’s said to also call Grand Canyon home.