Colorado’s tallest mountain, Mount Elbert, is home to a diverse range of wildlife. From rattlesnakes to bighorn sheep, the mountain is a haven for many species of animals.
In this article, we will discover nine animals that roam atop Colorado’s tallest mountain, including some of the weird animals found in Colorado.
9 Animals That Roam Atop Colorado’s Tallest Mountain
Western Rattlesnakes are one of the animals that can be found atop Colorado’s tallest mountain, Mount Elbert. According to, Diamondback rattlesnakes are not found anywhere in Colorado, and what people are likely seeing are large Prairie Rattlesnakes.
The Western Massasauga is another type of rattlesnake that lives only in southeast Colorado, usually in sandy terrain. Colorado is home to three venomous snakes: the Western Massasauga rattlesnake, the midget faded rattlesnake, and the prairie rattlesnake.
The Western Massasauga is one of the smallest rattlesnakes in the country and primarily inhabits grassland habitats but can also be found in open sagebrush. The Western Massasauga exists in the southeastern region of Colorado at elevations below roughly 5,500 feet (1,675m).
It is important to observe snakes from a safe distance, as handling them can harm both the snake and humans.
Black bears are another animal that can be found on Mount Elbert, according to. Black bears are the only type of bear found in Colorado, and they usually range between 6,000 and 9,800 feet in elevation.
While some trailheads fall just below this range, it is still possible to encounter a black bear on Mount Elbert. It is important to be bear aware when hiking in bear country, which includes carrying bear spray, making noise, and properly storing food and other scented items.
Mule deer are another animal that can be found on Mount Elbert, according to. These deer traverse most of Mount Elbert, searching for grasses, flowers, buds, and leaves. They tend to stick near forested areas for cover.
Additionally, the forests around Mount Elbert are home to other animals such as elk, grouse, and turkeys. Antlers from both elk and mule deer can be used to create functional art pieces such as chandeliers. Hunting is also allowed in the area, with Mount Elbert being part of Colorado’s GMU S66.
Bighorn sheep are another animal that can be found on Mount Elbert, according to. In the summer months, bighorn sheep ascend Mount Elbert to graze on fresh grasses and alpine flowers, but in winter, they move to lower elevations to avoid deep snow.
The area around Mount Elbert is also a popular hunting spot for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, with Mount Elbert being part of Colorado’s GMU S66. The bighorn sheep is a symbol of the American West and is known for its large, curved horns that can weigh up to 30 pounds.
Elk can be found in the area around Mount Elbert, according to. The better hunting for elk in this area occurs near the town of Elbert and in the southwest portion.
Elk are one of the most sought-after big game animals in Colorado, with the state being home to the largest elk population in North America. The elk range from Mount Elbert can be seen from the summit, as seen in a photo on.
Moose are another animal that can be found near the higher peaks of Mount Elbert, according to. Moose are the largest animal in the Rocky Mountains and the heaviest deer species. They are known for their long legs, humped shoulders, and broad, flat antlers.
Moose are herbivores and feed on aquatic plants, willows, and other woody vegetation. While moose are not typically aggressive towards humans, it is important to give them space and avoid getting too close, especially during mating season or if they have calves.
Arctic Peregrine Falcon
The Arctic Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus tundrius) is a subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon that nests in tundra regions of the Arctic. It is federally listed as endangered and was reclassified as threatened in March 1984.
The peregrine falcon is a well-respected falconry bird due to its strong hunting ability, high trainability, versatility, and availability via captive breeding. It is effective on most game bird species, from small to large.
The peregrine falcon is renowned for its speed, reaching over 320 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high-speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom. Since the ban on DDT from the early 1970s, populations have recovered, supported by large-scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild.
The Nine-Banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) is a mammal found in North, Central, and South America, making it the most widespread of the armadillos. It is a solitary, largely nocturnal animal, found in many kinds of habitats, from mature and secondary rainforests to grassland and dry scrub.
The armadillo is an insectivore, feeding chiefly on ants, termites, and other small invertebrates. Nine-banded armadillos are about 2.5 feet (0.7 meters) long from the nose to the tip of the tail and weigh an average of 12 pounds (5 kilograms). They prefer warm, wet climates and live in forested or grassland habitats.
The nine-banded armadillo can hold its breath for up to six minutes and can swim or “walk” along the bottom of rivers. Their abandoned burrows are utilized by other animals, such as pine snakes, rabbits, opossums, mink, cotton rats, striped skunks, burrowing owls, and eastern indigo snakes. The armadillo is the state mammal of Texas.
The Calliope Hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope) is the smallest bird native to the United States and Canada. It has a western breeding range mainly from California to British Columbia, and migrates to the Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America for its wintering grounds.
The Calliope Hummingbird is small even for a hummingbird, weighing about one-third as much as the smallest North American warblers and about the same as a ping pong ball. It has a short tail and short wings that make it look even smaller. The male Calliope Hummingbird is distinctive with a streaked magenta throat, while the female is very similar to several other hummingbird species.
The Calliope Hummingbird is named after the Greek muse Calliope. This tiny hummingbird is the smallest long-distance migrant in the world, traveling around 5,000 miles each year in a big oval from the breeding to wintering grounds. They migrate north along the Pacific Coast in the spring, but return to the wintering grounds in Mexico via an inland route along the Rocky Mountains.
1. What animals can be found on Mount Elbert?
Mount Elbert is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including Western Rattlesnakes, Black Bears, Mule Deer, Bighorn Sheep, Moose, and the Calliope Hummingbird.
2. Are there wolves on Mount Elbert?
While wolves are not listed as one of the animals that can be found on Mount Elbert, they are known to inhabit other parts of the Rocky Mountains.
3. Are there any weird animals that can be found in Colorado?
Yes, there are several weird animals that can be found in Colorado, including Ord’s Kangaroo Rat, Kit Fox, and Gunnison’s Prairie Dog.
4. Is it safe to hike on Mount Elbert with bears and rattlesnakes around?
Yes, it is safe to hike on Mount Elbert as long as you take proper precautions. This includes carrying bear spray, making noise, and properly storing food and other scented items. It is also important to observe snakes from a safe distance, as handling them can harm both the snake and humans.
5. What is the smallest bird native to the United States and Canada?
The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird native to the United States and Canada.