May 2021 - 33

You can't have Wyoming without its iconic wildlife and scenery. In the Cowboy State, there's nothing that
symbolizes the western way of life better than the native wildlife and plant species that make this place special.



State mammal: American bison
The bison is the largest land animal in North America. Yellowstone
National Park is one of the best places in the United States to see
wild herds. The bison has a hump over the front shoulders and short,
sharply pointed horns curving outward and up from the sides of the
massive head. A mature bull is about 6 1/2 feet tall and weighs up to
2,400 pounds.
(Photo by Jessica Grant)

State fish: Cutthroat trout
This trout is named for an orange mark behind its lower jaw. Historically
Wyoming was home to six subspecies of cutthroat, but now have five:
Snake River, Colorado River, Yellowstone, Bonneville and Westslope.
All can vary greatly in appearance and live in streams in lakes.
(WGFD photo)

State bird: Western meadowlark
These birds are found throughout Wyoming around grasslands and open
fields. In the spring and summer it can be found along dirt roads and on
fence posts singing to other meadowlarks. It grows to about 9 inches
long, is brown streaked with black and buff above its body and bright
yellow below. These birds are known for their loud, cheerful chirps.
(Photo by Chris Martin/WGFD)

(Photo by Parker Loew/WGFD)

State reptile: Horned lizard
Although commonly called the horned toad, these reptiles are actually
lizards. It has spikes resembling horns on the back of its head on its body.
It prefers sagebrush, short grass and prairie environments, and has
been documented to inhabit most places in Wyoming other than in the
northwest and some of the southeast parts of the state. It feeds heavily
on ants, but also eats other types of small insects and spiders. They can
spray intruders with streams of blood from the corner of their eyes.
State amphibian: Blotched tiger salamander
This is the only salamander found in Wyoming, and it can be found
throughout the state. They are typically between 5.9-8.7 inches long,
but can get up to 12 inches, making them one of the largest species of
salamander in North America. The dorsal surface is gray, dark brown or
black with bars and spots of muddy yellow giving it a tiger-like coloring.
The belly varies from light to dark.

(Photo by Erin Bormett)


Indian paintbrush. (Photo by Parker Loew/WGFD)

State flower: Indian paintbrush
Also called painted cups, Indian paintbrush have
showy, red structures. Those red growths are
not petals, but bracts - a type of modified leaf.
Indian paintbrush grows in prairies and open
wooded areas.
State tree: Cottonwood
Cottonwood is the common name for several
species of fast-growing, short-lived trees that
are members of the willow family. Cottonwoods
are named for the cotton-like mass of hairs
surrounding their seeds. They are related to
poplars and aspens and can grow to more than
100 feet tall.
State grass: Western wheatgrass
Found in most parts of Wyoming, this type of
grass can reach 2 to 3 feet in height. Leaves are
up to 12 inches long and rather stiff. This grass
can grow in a variety of soils and is a favorite
food for livestock.
State shrub: Sagebrush
According to a Wyoming Game and Fish
Department report in 2017 titled " Sagebrush
shrubland, " Wyoming has more sagebrush than
any other state. It can be found at elevations
in Wyoming from 4,000 to 9,500 feet. It is
a coarse, many-branched, pale-gray shrub
with yellow flowers and silvery-gray foliage.
Sagebrush provides food and habitat for a
variety of animal species in Wyoming including
sage grouse, pronghorn, pygmy rabbits and
mule deer.
Wyoming Wildlife | 33

May 2021

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