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From Mountain Lions to Turkeys, See the Wide Range of Animals That Visit Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is most famous for its preserved cliff dwellings that were once home to the Pueblo people. Visitors to the park can get close and see the well-preserved structures that have stood intact for hundreds of years. But people aren’t the only ones visiting the southwest Colorado park. Plenty of animals make their way through the area as well.

A monitoring camera captured a mix of animals, including mountain lions, bobcats, ringtails, turkeys, and other animals exploring the park.

animals at mesa verde national park
A mountain lion. (Source: NPS)

National Park Service says the animals are drawn to the area for the same reason people have called the area home for hundreds of years: water. 

mountain lion in colorado
Another mountain lion. (Source: NPS)

The Western Slope of Colorado is a very dry play, but some springs emerge from rocky areas near these cliff dwellings. Sometimes, it’s the only water source for months when there is no snowmelt, especially in the summer months. Officials say many animals also use the buildings as shelter or for building nests.

bobcat at mesa verde national park
A bobcat. (Source: NPS)
animals in mesa verde national park
A ringtail. (Source: NPS)
national park animals
A turkey and chicks. (Source: NPS)

Unlike these wild animals, people can only enter the cliff dwellings during tours from park rangers. It is illegal to enter the dwellings on your own.

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