Reptiles of the Grand Canyon

There are approximately 47 species of reptiles, including lizards and snakes, in the national park.

Much of Grand Canyon is desert and riparian country, which means reptiles live here. Yes, those creepy, sneaky, crawly animals that many visitors might prefer to not see during their vacation and explorations.

There are approximately 47 species of reptiles in the national park. 10 are common along the Colorado River corridor and include lizards and snakes.

Below is a very brief sampling of some of the reptiles visitors may see while on their Grand Canyon vacation.

Desert Spiny Lizard

Desert Spiny Lizard


There are approximately 47 reptile species that call the Grand Canyon home, including a variety of species of lizards. Iguanas inhabit this region, as do Gila monsters, chuckwallas, geckos and many others. The mountain short-horned lizard is another that makes its home here.

Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Desert Tortoise

The Desert tortoise is native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the southwestern U. S. This tortoise may reach 10 to 14 inches in length. Male tortoises have a longer gular horn than females. Their shells have a high "dome" and are greenish-tan to dark brown in color. The animal's front limbs have heavy, claw-like scales and are flattened for digging. Back legs are shorter and more "stumpy."

Arizona Ridgenosed Rattlesnake

Arizona Ridgenosed Rattlesnake


Six rattlesnake species have been recorded in the park. Two are species rarely encountered, the South-western speckled rattlesnake and the Northern black-tailed rattlesnake. The other four rattlesnakes are subspecies of the Western Diamondback rattlesnake complex: the Grand Canyon pink rattlesnake, Great Basin rattlesnake, Mojave "green" rattlesnake, and Hopi rattlesnake. Of these, the Grand Canyon pink rattlesnake is the most common.


Rocky Mountain elk illustration by Elizabeth Traynor

6 Wild Animals for Your Grand Canyon Watch List

You’ll see more than incredible views. Fascinating animals make their homes in the park. Keep an eye out on the trails and soaring in the skies.

Horned Owl with Chicks

Falcons, owls and hawks in the Grand Canyon

Falcons, owls and hawks are frequent fliers in the Grand Canyon National Park region and Arizona.

Two mule deer bucks.

Viewing Mule Deer in the Grand Canyon

Commonly identified by their large ears and black tipped tails, Mule Deer are the most visible large mammal in Grand Canyon National Park.

Mountain Lions

Mountain Lions in the Grand Canyon

Mountain lions are common within Grand Canyon National Park, but visitors rarely see them since they tend to blend in and do not actively approach people.

Peregrine Falcon

View Peregrine Falcons in the Grand Canyon

One of nature’s most efficient aerial killers, Peregrine Falcons are typically seen high atop cliffs within Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Photo by Whit Richardson

Grand Canyon Visitor Centers

There are several visitor centers throughout the Grand Canyon where you can find helpful information about the park.

Bighorn Sheep in the Grand Canyon

Bighorn Sheep in the Grand Canyon

Desert bighorn sheep are nimble-footed and inhabit terrain that is rocky and steep. You may see them along the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagles in the Grand Canyon

Spot Bald Eagles near the Colorado River as they hunt for trout.

Be in four states at one time at the Four Corners Monument.

Four Corners - Where 4 States Meet Near Grand Canyon

Attractions at the Four Corners area - where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico meet - including many national parks and monuments.