Animals in the Parks:

Click here to submit your own fauna biodiversity sightings!

Click one of the following to learn more!

Mammals: A type of animal that feeds milk to its young and that usually has hair or fur covering most of its skin.

Birds: An animal that lays eggs, has wings, and a body covered with feathers.

Arthropods: An invertebrate that has jointed limbs and a body made up of segments (crabs, insects, and spiders).

Reptile: An animal (such as a snake, lizard, turtle, or alligator) that is cold- blooded, lays eggs, and has a body covered with scales or hard parts.

Amphibian: An animal (such as a frog or toad) that can live both on land and in water.

Invertebrate: Animal lacking a spinal column.

Vertebrate: Animal that has a spinal column.

Diurnal: Animal that is active during the day.

Nocturnal: Animal that is active at night.
Habitat: The place where a plant or animal grows and lives in nature.

*Definitions From: Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Definitions:

Need help identifying

an animal in the park?

Try out our dichotomous key HERE​ to figure it out! Not finding what you are looking for? Email us a photo and we will try to add the specimen to our dichotomous key. 

What is Biodiversity and Why is it Important?

Biodiversity is the occurrence of many different types of plants and animals in an environment. 

Environments that have greater biodiversity are more stable and healthy. Since they have many different types of species, checks and balances are kept and diseases aren't as likely to wipe out a whole ecosystem. Having biodiversity means having a healthy environment that will be around for years to come and adapt to environmental changes. 

Tips on Dealing with Wildlife While in Parks:

  1. Leave wildlife alone. Bring binoculars to scout wildlife from a distance to decrease stress on the animals and also to keep yourself safe from injury or disease.

  2. Do not feed any wildlife! Not only can wildlife like squirrels carry diseases, you can also harm wildlife by feeding them things that are not good for them and causing them to become dependent on humans for food. For instance, feeding ducks bread can result in a malformation of their wings called “angel wings.” Feeding wildlife will also encourage the wildlife to become less afraid of humans and end up increasing the likelihood of spreading disease or causing injury to both humans and the animal.

  3. Keep your dogs on a leash at all times (unless in a specified dog park area). Dogs off leash can approach wildlife like squirrels that carry diseases that can infect your canine companion.

  4. If you find an injured animal, call a wildlife rehabilitation specialist. DO NOT try to rehabilitate the animal yourself as you could cause more harm than good. Also, many times baby birds that are alone are not in need of help and their parents will return. Picking them up and trying to help ends up taking them away from their parents and their natural home. Find more information on wildlife rehabilitators here: http://wildlife.rescueshelter.com/nevada.

  5. Leave snakes and other reptiles alone. The best way to get bit by a snake or other reptile is to try picking it up or cornering it. They want to leave you alone so you should do the same for them. This should go without saying, but don’t try to take selfies with snakes, that is just asking for trouble.

  6. If you are at a park like Davis Creek where there are bear-proof trash cans, make sure that you always throw any food items or containers in these trash cans to prevent bears from frequenting the area. More information on dealing with bears can be found here.

Information Derived From: Nevada Department of Wildlife.

Tips for Observing Wildlife:

  • Things to bring:

    • Binoculars

    • Notebook and pen

    • Camera

    • Field guide (John Muir Laws Field Guide for sale at the Parks Foundation office)

  • Walk like prey not like a predator. Slow, quiet, mirandering movement is less likely to scare away wildlife.

  • Utilize all your senses. Practice wide angled vision by trying to view as much of your surroundings as possible for movement instead of focusing in on the details. Listen far and wide. Write down all that you hear and you will be able to pick up on fainter noises with practice.

  • Pick a sit spot. Pick a spot where you can sit quietly with your notebook and observe what is around you. If you wait patiently and quietly, you may notice lots of wildlife coming out of the woodwork. Sketch and make note of your observations. You can come back to the same sit spot during different seasons to see the differences in wildlife!

  • Look for signs of wildlife, not just the animals. Tracks in the mud, scat on the ground, hair in the bushes, and scratches on the trees are just a few signs that wildlife are around. Don’t forget to look up for nests and hives as well!

  • If looking for insects, check under rocks (especially in the river) on in the bark of trees, and under leaf litter. Always pick up rocks away from you and be careful with moving around leaf litter with your hands.

  • *Note: These tips are intended for observational use only. Do not disturb, touch, or approach wild animals or their homes for your safety as well as theirs.

Additional Information:

John Muir Laws Sketching Wildlife and Equipment.

NDOW: Wildlife Viewing Tips.

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© 2014 by Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation