Snake Valley has some endemic species, meaning that they are only found in this one place in the world. Some of these include:
Great Basin Millipede (Idagona lehmanensis) This white millipede is typically found on moist soils in caves. Known only from caves in Great Basin National Park
Sub-globose Snake Pyrg (Pyrgulopsis saxatilis) This springsnail is found only in Gandy Warm Springs. Pyrgulopsis anguina is another springsnail endemic to Snake Valley, found in a handful of springs, and Pyrgulopsis pecularis is found almost exclusively in Snake Valley. These springsnails are very tiny and have adapted to specific water conditions in the springs where they and their ancestors have lived for thousands of years. Model Cave Harvestman (Cryptobunus ungulatus ungulatus) Known only from caves in Great Basin National Park
Lehman Cave Pseudoscorpion (Microcreagris grandis) Known only from caves in Great Basin National Park, first found in Lehman Caves in the late 1930s.
Cave Springtail (Arrhophilates sp.) This globular springtail has a slightly round body and a rosy color. At least one new species is located in Great Basin National Park. Currently taxonomists are studying other species to determine if they might also be new to science. Many of these new species are found in caves; to learn more about them see this web page about cave life.
The animal life in Snake Valley is quite varied due to span of elevations and corresponding habitats. Click to see a bird list and lists of other wildlife. Mammals
About 70 mammal species live in Snake Valley. At the top of the food chain are mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes, and foxes. Large ungulates include bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope. Some of the smaller mammals have interesting life traits, like porcupines, badgers, weasels, and bats. Watch out for these larger species as you drive at night, as they often are not visible until they are in your headlights. Click here for a mammal species list.
Snake Valley has seven species of native fish, most likely remnants of the ancient Lake Bonneville. These are Bonneville cutthroat trout, Utah chub, Utah sucker, mottled sculpin, redside shiner, speckled dace, and least chub. These fish, for the most part, have adapted to live in small mountain streams and isolated springs, and geneticists find that some of the species have differentiated from relatives that live nearby (like along the Wasatch Front). Snake Valley is a stronghold for least chub, and the populations here are helping to keep the species genetically healthy and viable. The tiny fish are only found in the north part of Snake Valley, and every year the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources comes out to assess their populations. View a fish list for Snake Valley.
Frogs are not common in Snake Valley, but in a few places they can become so loud as to drown out all other sounds. Amphibians seen most frequently are northern leopard frogs, often in grass near a water source; spadefoot toads, usually away from water; and Columbia spotted frogs, with eyes barely visible above the water. See the amphibian list for Snake Valley.
Snakes and lizards comprise the reptiles in Snake Valley. Only one poisonous snake, the Great Basin rattlesnake, is found, and its poison is reportedly less dangerous than other rattlesnakes. Garter snakes are common near water sources and gopher snakes help keep rodent populations in control. The most common lizards on the valley bottom are horned lizards, while up higher sagebrush and western fence lizards scurry about. The reptiles go into a dormant period during the winter, hiding out in loose soil or in burrows to escape the cold temperatures. Click for the Snake Valley reptile list.
Snake Valley is a birding mecca. With the scattered oases, varied elevations, agricultural areas, and strong wind currents, a large number of birds find that Snake Valley is a good place to call home or to visit. Over 180 species have been noted in the valley. Some bald eagles spend their winters here, while in the summers sandhill cranes hang out. Up high, the black rosy-finch picks at insects in high snow patches, and the peregrine falcon soars over the high cliffs. View a bird list for Snake Valley.
Insects make up over 90% of the wildlife in Snake Valley (and the rest of the world), but are probably the least studied. Over 30 species of ants, 150 species of butterflies and moths, 200 species of bees, and 50 species of beetles are known in Snake Valley. The insects are the most important group of pollinators, helping to pollinate 85 percent of flowering plants and one-third of our food crops.
Other wildlife you might be lucky enough to see in Snake Valley are the arachnids, centipedes, and millipedes. Few studies have targeted these species. One that has took place in caves in Great Basin National Park and found several endemic species (see sidebar). Tarantulas are not commonly seen, and the scorpions in Snake Valley are not particularly poisonous.