science education

Exploring Nature Educational Resource:

Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science Resources for K-12



Utah is a scenic state with some of the most stunning scenery in North America. It is a very dry state with the majority of its habitat being desert. Southwestern Utah dips into the Mojave Desert – one of North America's hottest and driest deserts. The Mojave's dry mountain terrain gets less than 8 inches of rain fall per year (with no snowfall) and can reach up to 115° in the summer. The living things here must be well adapted to the hot, dry conditions. Cacti, creosote bush, sage and the rare yucca – Joshua tree all are found here as well as gila monsters, desert tortoises, snakes, roadrunners, kangaroo rats, scorpions, bats and kit foxes.
The Great Basin desert is the largest desert in the U.S. covering almost 200,000 square miles. It is a cold desert with more than half its scant precipitation coming as winter snow. It has conifer forest covered mountains reaching up to 8,000 feet tall, alkaline flats, lifeless playas, sand dunes, salt lakes, some rare marsh areas and sagebrush steppes (covering almost half of it). The sagebrush provides food for mule deer, pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, and pygmy rabbits and shelter for small birds and lizards. The Great Basin desert has many predators – coyotes, gray fox, mountain lion, hawks, eagles and burrowing owls. Some prey animals include jackrabbits, kangaroo rats, chukar partridge, small birds and waterfowl.
The Colorado Plateau runs across four states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) with stunning natural arches, pinnacles, and domes. It is a high plateau reaching 12,000 feet in places. It has varied habitats from conifer forests to salt deserts. The sagebrush, juniper, and pinyon provides food and shelter for mule deer, bighorn sheep, jackrabbit and collared lizards that in turn provide food for coyotes, bobcat, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, peregrine falcons and Mexican spotted owls. Animals less well adapted for the desert like beaver, frogs, snails, garter snakes and dragonflies live along steams and rivers of the Colorado Plateau.

Wetlands are very rare in Utah covering just 1/5 of 1 percent of the state. They include some marshes bordering lakes, rivers and streams and temporary spring snow melts. Wetlands are important habitat for native wildlife and migrating birds and protect recreational waterways and water quality. Yet they are disappearing due to human activities – increased water use, development, gas and oil withdrawal, pollution, agriculture and invasive species like tamarisk. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources is working actively to restore Utah's wetlands and educate the public about their importance.

Utah does not have abundant grasslands because of its dry climate, but about 3.5% of the state does have shortgrass prairie. These dry grasslands are home to wildlife like hawks, pronghorn antelopes, prairie dogs and the endangered black-footed ferret. Much of Utah's prairie was lost to human development and grazing, though there is an effort to protect and reclaim Utah's scarce grasslands. At higher altitudes, where there is more precipitation, there are mountain meadows which provide food for many animals like deer, bear, hawks, rodents, bats, shrews, frogs and salamanders.

Utah is a dry state with forests adapted for arid habitat. The pinyon-juniper woodlands are on dry, rocky terrain in Utah's foothills. These trees rarely reach more than 30 feet tall. Underneath them sagebrush, rabbitbrush and prickly pear cactus grow. Up higher there is more rain, so larger trees like ponderosa pine and gambel's oak can grow. Still higher (at about 8,500 feet) the Douglas fir, white fir, limber pine, and blue spruce grow in a thick forest canopy. Aspen forests also grow at this level and higher in thick groves. They cover about 3% of the state mostly at higher elevations. Higher still (9,500) there are forests of Englemann spruce and subalpine fir. Because of the long months of snow cover there is more moisture but a very short growing season. Utah's mountain summits are cold and windswept. Surrounding the open alpine tops are bristlecone pines twisted and stunted from wind and cold. The alpine tops reach 11,500 and are treeless. Only rugged alpine plants can survive the cold and exposure at this height.

Shrubsteppes cover 13 % of Utah. These are dry, rugged, treeless expanses are covered in tough vegetation like sagebrush, needle grass, rabbit brush, juniper and pinyon. Despite the inhospitable habitat there are many animals that make their home on these steppes, like the sage-grouse, pygmy rabbit, mule deer, sage thrasher and sparrow. Shrubsteppe habitat is also being lost to  developed, gas and oil extraction, over grazing and off road vehicle use.

For more information about Utah's natural habitats (off-site): General Habitats or Utah's Deserts


List of Mammals for this State

antelope (pronghorn)
bat (Allen's big-eared)
bat (big brown)
bat (big free-tailed)
bat (Brazilian free-tailed)
bat (California myotis)
bat (fringed myotis)
bat (hoary)
bat (little brown myotis)
bat (long-eared myotis)
bat (long-legged myotis)
bat (pallid)
bat (silver-haired)
bat (spotted)
bat (Townsend's big-eared)
bat (western pipistrelle)
bat (western small-footed myotis)
bat (Yuma myotis)
bear (black)
bear (grizzly) - considered extinct in Utah
beaver (American)
bighorn sheep (California)
bighorn sheep (desert)
bighorn sheep (Rocky Mountain)
bison (American)
chipmunk (cliff)
chipmunk (Hopi)
chipmunk (least)
chipmunk (Uinta)
chipmunk (yellow-pine)
deer (mule)
deer (white-tailed)
ferret (black-footed)
fox (gray)
fox (kit)
fox (red)
ground squirrel (Belding's)
ground squirrel (golden-mantled)
ground squirrel (Piute)
ground squirrel (spotted)
ground squirrel (thirteen-lined)
ground squirrel (Uinta)
ground squirrel (Wyoming)
hare (snowshoe)
jackrabbit (black-tailed)
jumping mouse (dark)
jumping mouse (western)
kangaroo rat (chisel-toothed)
kangaroo rat (desert)
kangaroo rat (Merriam's)
kangaroo rat (Ord's)
lynx (Canadian)
marmot (yellow-bellied)
marten (American)
mouse (brush)
mouse (cactus)
mouse (canyon)
mouse (deer)
mouse (house)
mouse (northern grasshopper)
mouse (northern rock)
mouse (pinon)
mouse (plains pocket)
mouse (southern grasshopper)
mouse (western harvest mouse)
mountain goat
mountain lion
otter (river)
pika (American)
pocket gopher (Botta's)
pocket gopher (Idaho)
pocket gopher (northern)
pocket mouse (desert)
pocket mouse (Great Basin)
pocket mouse (little)
pocket mouse (long-tailed)
pocket mouse (olive-backed)
pocket mouse (rock)
pocket mouse (silky)
prairie dog (Gunnison's)
prairie dog (Utah)
prairie dog (white-tailed)
rabbit (desert cottontail)
rabbit (mountain cottontail)
rabbit (pygmy)
rat (black)
rat (Norway)
shrew (desert)
shrew (dwarf)
shrew (masked)
shrew (Merriam's)
shrew (montane)
shrew (Preble's)
shrew (vagrant)
skunk (striped)
skunk (western spotted)
squirrel (Abert's)
squirrel (northern flying)
squirrel (red)
squirrel (white-tailed antelope)
vole (long-tailed)
vole (meadow)
vole (Mexican)
vole (Mongolian)
vole (montane)
vole (sagebrush)
vole (southern red-backed)
vole (western heather)
weasel (long-tailed)
weasel (short-tailed) or ermine
wolf (gray)
woodrat (Arizona)
woodrat (bushy-tailed)
woodrat (desert)
woodrat (Mexican)
woodrat (Stephen's)
woodrat (white-throated)

For more information about Utah's mammals (including Latin names) click on individual animal links or for another (off-site) resource: LINK

Coloring Mammals of this State


Labeling Mammals of this State


List of Amphibians & Reptiles for This State

bullfrog (American)
frog (Columbia spotted)
frog (green)
frog (northern leopard)
frog (relict leopard)
frog (western chorus)
salamander (tiger)
spadefoot (Great Basin)
spadefoot (Mexican)
spadefoot (Plains)
toad (Arizona)
toad (Great Plains)
toad (red-spotted)
toad (western)
toad (western boreal)
toad (Woodhouse's)
treefrog (canyon)
treefrog (Pacific)

For more information about Utah's amphibians (including Latin names) click on individual animal links or for another (off-site) resource: LINK

gecko (western banded)
lizard (common chuckwalla)
lizard (desert horned)
lizard (desert iguana)
lizard (desert night)
lizard (desert spiny)
lizard (eastern collared)
lizard (eastern fence)
lizard (gila monster)
lizard (Great Basin collared)
lizard (greater short-horned)
lizard (lesser earless)
lizard (long-nosed leopard)
lizard (ornate tree)
lizard (sagebrush)
lizard (side-blotched)
lizard  (western fence)
lizard (zebra-tailed)
skink (many-lined)
skink (western)
snake (black-necked garter)
snake (coachwhip)
snake (common garter)
snake (common kingsnake)
snake (cornsnake)
snake (eastern racer)
snake (glossy)
snake (gopher)
snake (Great Basin western rattlesnake)
snake (green prairie rattlesnake)
snake (groundsnake)
snake (Hopi rattlesnake)
snake (long-nosed)
snake (midget faded rattlesnake)
snake (milk)
snake (Mojave rattlesnake)
snake (New Mexico whiptail)
snake (night)
snake (plateau striped)
snake (ring-necked)
snake (rubber boa)
snake (sidewinder)
snake (Smith's back-headed)
snake (smooth greensnake)
snake (Sonoran Mountain kingsnake)
snake (speckled rattlesnake)
snake (spotted leaf-nosed)
snake (striped whipsnake)
snake (terrestrial garter)
snake (tiger whiptail)
snake (western lyresnake)
snake (western patch-nosed)
snake (western thread)
tortoise (desert)
turtle (painted)
turtle (snapping)
turtle (spiny softshell)

For more information about Utah's reptiles (including Latin names) click on individual animal links or for another (off-site) resource: LINK

Coloring Amphibians & Reptiles of this State


Labeling Amphibians & Reptiles of this State


Bird List for This State

avocet (American)
bittern (American)
bittern (least)
blackbird (Brewer's)
blackbird (red-winged)
blackbird (yellow-headed)
bluebird (mountain)
bluebird (western)
bunting (indigo)
bunting (lark)
bunting (lazuli)
bunting (snow)
catbird (gray)
chat (yellow-breasted)
chickadee (black-capped)
chickadee (mountain)
coot (American)
cormorant (double-crested)
condor (California)
cowbird (brown-headed)
crane (sandhill)
creeper (brown)
crossbill (red)
crow (American)
cuckoo (black-billed)
cuckoo (yellow-billed)
curlew (long-billed)
dipper (American)
dove (Eurasian collared)
dove (inca)
dove (mourning)
dove (white-winged)
dowitcher (long-billed)
dowitcher (short-billed)
duck (American widgeon)
duck (blue-winged teal)
duck (Barrow's goldeneye)
duck (bufflehead)
duck (canvasback)
duck (cinnamon teal)
duck (common goldeneye)
duck (gadwall)
duck (greater scaup)
duck (green-winged teal)
duck (lesser scaup)
duck (long-tailed)
duck (mallard)
duck (northern pintail)
duck (northern shoveler)
duck (redhead)
duck (ring-necked)
duck (ruddy)
duck (surf scoter)
duck (white-winged scoter)
duck (wood)
eagle (bald)
eagle (golden)
egret (cattle)
egret (great)
egret (snowy)
falcon (peregrine)
falcon (prairie)
finch (black rosy-)
finch (Cassin's)
finch (gray-crowned rosy-)
finch (house)
flicker (northern)
flycatcher (ash-throated)
flycatcher (brown-crested)
flycatcher (Cordilleran)
flycatcher (dusky)
flycatcher (gray)
flycatcher (Hammond's)
flycatcher (olive-sided)
flycatcher (southwestern willow)
flycatcher (vermillion)
godwit (marbled)
goldfinch (American)
goldfinch (lesser)
goose (cackling)
goose (Canada)
goose (great white-fronted)
goose (Ross's)
goose (snow)
goshawk (northern)
grackle (common)
grèbe (Clark's)
grèbe (eared)
grèbe (horned)
grèbe (pied-billed)
grèbe (western)
gnatcatcher (black-tailed)
gnatcatcher (blue-gray)
goldfinch (lesser)
grackle (great-tailed)
grosbeak (black-headed)
grosbeak (blue)
grosbeak (evening)
grosbeak (pine)
grosbeak (rose-breasted)
grouse (blue)
grouse (greater sage)
grouse (Gunnison sage)
grouse (ruffed)
grouse (sharp-tailed)
gull (California)
gull (Franklin's)
gull (herring)
gull (ring-billed)
gull (Thayer's)
harrier (northern)
hawk (broad-winged)
hawk (common black)
hawk (Cooper's)
hawk (ferriginous)
hawk (red-tailed)
hawk (rough-legged)
hawk (sharp-shinned)
hawk (Swainson's))
heron (black-crowned night)
heron (great blue)
heron (green)
horned lark
hummingbird (black-chinned)
hummingbird (broad-tailed)
hummingbird (calliope)
hummingbird (Costa's)
hummingbird (rufous)
ibis (white-faced)
jaeger (parastic)
jay (blue)
jay (gray)
jay (pinyon)
jay (Stellar's)
jay (western scrub)
junco (dark-eyed)
kestrel (American)
kingbird (Cassin's)
kingbird (eastern)
kingbird (western)
kingfisher (belted)
kinglet (golden-crowned)
kinglet (ruby-crowned)
longspur (Lapland)
loon (Pacific)
magpie (black-billed)
martin (purple)
meadowlark (western)
merganser (common)
merganser (hooded)
merganser (red-breasted)
mockingbird (northern)
moorhen (common)
nighthawk (common)
nighthawk (lesser)
nutcracker (Clark's)
nuthatch (pygmy)
nuthatch (red-breasted)
nuthatch (white-breasted)
oriole (Bullock's)
oriole (hooded)
oriole (Scott's)
owl (barn)
owl (boreal)
owl (burrowing)
owl (flammulated)
owl (great horned)
owl (long-eared)
owl (Mexican spotted)
owl (northern pygmy)
owl (northern saw-whet)
owl (short-eared)
owl (western screech)
partridge (gray)
pelican (American white)
pewee (western wood)
phalarope (red-necked)
phalarope (Wilson's)
pheasant (ring-necked)
phoebe (black)
phoebe (Say's)
pigeon (band-tailed)
pigeon (rock)
pine siskin
pipit (American)
plover (American golden)
plover (mountain)
plover (semipalmated)
plover (snowy)
poorwill (common)
ptarmigan (white-tailed)
quail (California)
quail (Gambel's)
quail (scaled)
rail (Virginia)
raven (common)
red knot
redpoll (common)
redstart (American)
redstart (painted)
roadrunner (greater)
robin (American)
sandpiper (Baird's)
plover (black-bellied)
sandpiper (least)
sandpiper (pectoral)
sandpiper (semipalmated)
sandpiper (solitary)
sandpiper (spotted)
sandpiper (stilt)
sapsucker (red-naped)
sapsucker (Williamson's)
shrike (loggerhead)
shrike (northern)
solitaire (Townsend's)
snipe  (Wilson's)
sparrow (American tree)
sparrow (black-chinned)
sparrow (black-throated)
sparrow (Brewer's)
sparrow (chipping)
sparrow (fox)
sparrow (golden-crowned)
sparrow (grasshopper)
sparrow (Harris's)
sparrow (house)
sparrow (lark)
sparrow (Lincoln's)
sparrow (sage)
sparrow (Savannah)
sparrow (song)
sparrow (swamp)
sparrow (vesper)
sparrow (white-crowned)
sparrow (white-throated)
stilt (black-necked)
swallow (bank)
swallow (barn)
swallow (cliff)
swallow (northern rough-winged)
swallow (tree)
swallow (violet-green)
swan (trumpeter)
swan (tundra)
swift (black)
swift (white-throated)
tanager (summer)
tanager (western)
tern (black)
tern (Caspian)
tern (common)
tern (Forster's)
thrasher (Bendire's)
thrasher (brown)
thrasher (Crissal)
thrasher (Le Conte's)
thrasher (sage)
thrush (Swainson's)
thrush (varied)
towhee (Abert's)
towhee (green-tailed)
towhee (spotted)
titmouse (juniper)
turkey (Merriam's wild)
turkey (Rio Grande wild)
turnstone (ruddy)
vireo (Cassin's)
vireo (gray)
vireo (plumbeous)
vireo (red-eyed)
vireo (warbling)
vulture (turkey)
warbler (blackpoll)
warbler (black-and-white)
warbler (black-throated gray)
warbler (Grace's)
warbler (Lucy's)
warbler (MacGillivray's)
warbler (Nashville)
warbler (orange-crowned)
warbler (Swainson's)
warbler (Tennessee)
warbler (Townsend's)
warbler (Virginia's)
warbler (white-rumped)
warbler (Wilson's)
warbler (yellow)
warbler (yellow-rumped)
waterthrush (northern)
waxwing (Bohemian)
waxwing (cedar)
woodpecker (acorn)
woodpecker (American three-toed)
woodpecker (downy)
woodpecker (hairy)
woodpecker (ladder-backed)
woodpecker (Lewis's)
wren (Bewick's)
wren (canyon)
wren (house)
wren (marsh)
wren (rock)
wren (winter)
yellowlegs (greater)
yellowlegs (lesser)

For more information about Utah's birds (including Latin names) click on individual animal links or for another (off-site) resource: LINK

Coloring Birds of this State


Labeling Birds of this State


State Symbols of this State


Add Your Own Trail

How this Works: This link will bring you to our sister site Here you can add your favorite trail, its description, location, animals and plant species. The best part though is that after you add everything, the program automatically generates a color field guide sheet that you can print out and take with you on your hike. Link

Recommended Book/Product

All About Animals Flip Chart Set
Each Curriculum Mastery Flip Chart is mounted on a sturdy easel and features:
• 10 Double-sided, laminated 12" x 18" charts
   – Side 1 features a colorful, graphic overview of the topic
   – Side 2 serves as a "write-on/wipe-off" activity chart featuring questions, labeling exercises, vocabulary review & more!
• Activity Guide featuring black-line copy-masters & exercises
Set Includes the following 10 charts:

  1. The Animal Kingdom
  2. Vertebrates
  3. Invertebrates
  4. Animal Ranges
  5. Physical Adaptations
  6. Behavioral Adaptations
  7. Animal Life Cycles
  8. Animal Locomotion
  9. Animal Habitats
  10. Animal Tracks and Signs
All About Animals Flip Chart Set

Citing Research References

When you research information you must cite the reference. Citing for websites is different from citing from books, magazines and periodicals. The style of citing shown here is from the MLA Style Citations (Modern Language Association).

When citing a WEBSITE the general format is as follows.
Author Last Name, First Name(s). "Title: Subtitle of Part of Web Page, if appropriate." Title: Subtitle: Section of Page if appropriate. Sponsoring/Publishing Agency, If Given. Additional significant descriptive information. Date of Electronic Publication or other Date, such as Last Updated. Day Month Year of access < URL >.

Here is an example of citing this page:

Amsel, Sheri. "Utah" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2017. January 19, 2017
< > has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.

cheetah, tiger, panda, fox, bear, cougar