RFI: Big Bend NP, Texas

I will be in BBNP for the first time from June 18-22. I would appreciate any information/recommendations. I would love to see cougar (of course) but will also be looking for ringtail, coati, peccary, hooded and hog-nosed skunk and assorted small stuff. Feel free to make suggestions on species as well. 🙂

I have Vladimir Dinets Finding Mammals guide ( a great book BTW) and will use that as a starting point. We are staying at the Chisos Mountain Lodge and will have a rental car. Thanks in advance! John Van Niel

This is my first post but I have been lurking for over a year now. Thanks for allowing me to participate!


  • cmh78

    The only one of your targets that I’ve seen in Big Bend is the Collared Peccary. I saw them most days in the Rio Grande area. Depending on how you are getting to the area, if you pass Carlsbad Caverns, Ringtails and Hog-nosed SKunks are relatively common on the entrance road. Spotlighing is not legal in that national park(or Big Bend), but you can drive the road. Good luck,


  • Mike Richardson

    It was several years since I visited Big Bend NP but I seem to remember a sightings book at the visitor centre at Panther Junction where the latest Mountain Lion and Black Bear sightings were placed. This would be a good place to start. Otherwise I only saw peccary from your list. They were around the Rio Grande campground at night.

    Just by driving around Big Bend at dusk/night I saw Bobcat, Coyote, Grey Fox and Davis Mountain Cottontail (Green Gulch) along with the more common stuff. It’s certainly a fantastic place.

  • Jon Hall

    I echo those comments.. check with the rangers on recent Cougar sightings. Sightings will be reported and will give you an idea of where to look. The Carlsbad Caverns entrance road remains an excellent place to see Ringtails, Skunks (Striped and maybe Hooded) after dark along with a range of smaller mammals crossing the road.

  • bwkeelan

    We have family in El Paso and so have been to Big Bend a number of times. Collared Peccary can be seen anywhere but especially good areas are the Chisos Basin (particularly the lodge area) and Rio Grande and Cottonwood Campgrounds (the latter now closed to camping for the season, but available for day use). Ringtail is scarce; we’ve only seen it in upper Green Gulch (on the way into the Chisos Basin), and apparently that is where most sightings are made. Coati is not resident but just a straggler from Mexico, so there is almost no chance of seeing it. Mountain Lion sightings are indeed logged in the Chisos Basin Visitor Center. Davis Mountains Cottontail is most easily seen by walking around the Chisos Basin Campground at first light. A good vantage point for Black Bear is the hairpin turn just before the Chisos Basin Group Campground (past the regular campground), from which the Sewage Treatment Plant is visible below. Spotted Ground Squirrel is found in the lower parts of the park, e.g., near the Persimmon Gap entrance, on Dagger Flat Road, and between Panther Junction and Rio Grande. Texas Antelope Squirrel is widespread but in low densities. Finally, when we were there just last week, we saw a Big Free-tailed Bat flying with nighthawks at dusk from the cattail pond platform on the Rio Grande Nature Trail. It’s a fantastic park — good luck! — Brian Keelan

  • John Van Niel

    Thank you to everyone that responded. I am not sure a full blown trip report is warranted. Our highlight was a black bear that we watched for several minutes while on the Lost Mine Trail. I also was rewarded with photos of young of three Lagomorphs (Davis Mountain and Desert Cottontail as well as Black-tailed Jackrabbit). Rock Squirrels were common in the lodge area. To round out our mammal list, we saw Spotted Ground Squirrel and Mule Deer plus Pronghorn, Mexican Ground Squirrel and Black-tailed Prairie Dog on the drive in to the Park. We found Ringtail scat but no sightings. They have a mammal checklist for sale in the VC but it is reproduced (with permission???) on this web site: http://visitbigbend.com/mammals/

Leave a Reply