Wildlife at Pyramid Lake
American White Pelicans
The American white pelican is a large, white, water bird. These birds grow to be 50 to 62 inches and have a wingspan of 8 to 9 ½ feet. They have a very large orange/yellow bill with a pouch and black primary and outer secondary feathers. They fly with their neck tucked. Juveniles have a grayish bill and black plumage on the back of their heads. Anaho Island is a primary breeding site for the American White Pelican. These birds can be seen fishing the waters and gliding along the shores in the summer.
Toad Lizard (Horned Toads)
These toad-like lizards are known for their flattened bodies and the horns that decorate their heads and backs. They range in size from 2.5 to 6 inches and can be grey, light yellow or reddish-brown dependent upon their surroundings. Though they usually eat ants, they are also known to eat grasshoppers, beetles and spiders.
While garter snakes are common throughout the United States, it’s the western terrestrial garter snake that’s the most prevalent species in Nevada. The snake can be either black with distinct stripes or brown with less distinct striptes dependant on their surroundings. It feeds on amphibians, fish, earthworms and rodents. The snake is not considered to be poisonous.
Elusive, but beautiful the bobcat is the most abundant wild cat in the U.S. according to National Geographic. They’re about twice the size of a house cat and have long legs and tufted ears. Bobcats are usually brown with white underbellies and dark, indistinct spots on their backs. They’re known to eat rabbits, birds, mice and squirrels. The solitary wild cats are solitary animals and are also nocturnal.
The American Kestrel is a small, colorful hawk that dots the landscape of Pyramid Lake. About the size of a Mourning Dove, the Kestrel is a petite predator that can be identified by its pale underbellies and black band across the tip of its tail. Females have reddish-brown wings while males have blue wings. Like most birds of prey, it hunts small mammals like rodents from above.
The pronghorn is North America’s antelope-like creature that is found throughout the deserts and semi-deserts of the southwest, including the Pyramid Lake area. It’s one of the fastest animals in the Western hemisphere and can run about 60 miles-per-hour. The American Antelope can be seen feeding on sagebrush and other shrubs like juniper.
The common loon is known for its yodeling and moaning calls, and can be found at Pyramid Lake during the summer months. It forages for food by diving underneath the water and looking for sustenance like small fish or algae. While they’re often solitary during the day, the tend to congregate in large flocks during the night.