Great Basin Spadefoot Toad
One of the most interesting species found in Capitol Reef is the Great Basin Spadefoot Toad. These incredible amphibians have been spotted near Halls Creek, in tanks throughout the Waterpocket Fold, and in the picturesque Fruita area. Known for their distinctive vertical pupils, these toads have a unique behavior - they seek out permanent and semi-permanent water sources when it rains. When the weather turns dry, they retreat into the safety of the ground. Join us in exploring the incredible world of Great Basin spadefoot toads and marvel at their remarkable adaptations!
The Canyon Treefrog is another fascinating species found in Capitol Reef. These elusive amphibians can be found in serene pools with rocky bottoms, creating a peaceful sanctuary within the Waterpocket Fold and at the southern boundary of Halls Creek Park. With their remarkable camouflage and distinctive toe pads, these tiny frogs come in stunning patterns, from bold blotches to subtle spots. Don't miss the chance to observe these fascinating creatures in the picturesque landscapes of southwest Utah.
Desert Bighorn Sheep
The desert bighorn sheep, native to Utah, can be found in the rocky areas of desert mountain ranges in the southwestern US. It was once abundant in southern Utah's canyon country and is often depicted in ancient rock markings. Unfortunately, the sheep disappeared from the Capitol Reef area, most likely due to overhunting and disease. To restore the population, 40 desert bighorn sheep were reintroduced from Canyonlands National Park in the mid-1990s. Today, these majestic creatures are commonly spotted in areas south and east of Fruita, including Grand Wash and Capitol Gorge. There is also a separate herd at the southern end of the park. The sheep utilize the cliffs and rugged terrain to evade predators. During the summer, they feed on grasses; in winter, they rely on woody plants for sustenance. These remarkable animals are mainly active during the day, with their peak activity occurring in the early morning and late evening.
The American beaver is a common sight in streams, ponds, and small lakes across North America, including Capitol Reef. They are best known for their skill in tree-cutting to build dams, creating large ponds. These industrious creatures also construct lodges made of sticks and mud near the ponds, serving as shelters and food storage areas for themselves and their young. However, along the Fremont River in Capitol Reef, beavers have a unique habit of building dens in the river bank instead of dams and lodges. This may be due to the high flow rate of the river and the potential risk of flash floods that could undo their construction work. Beavers primarily feed on bark, roots, and aquatic and riparian vegetation. While sightings of beavers in Capitol Reef are rare, you can still spot evidence of their presence along the river banks through tracks and chewed or fallen trees.