Wildlife

Wildlife encounters

While enjoying the open space and parks, you may encounter many different types of wildlife.

Bear, coyote and mountain lion attacks on humans are rare. Unexpected encounters with wildlife can be prevented by talking or making noise to warn bears, coyotes and mountain lions of your presence. Keeping your dogs leashed and controlled helps to prevent conflicts between pets and wildlife.

Remember to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. Viewing wildlife can be exciting and requires caution.

Additional information

If you wish to report a sighting, call the Castle Rock Police Department non-emergency number, 303-663-6100, or Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Northeast Region Service Center, 303-291-7227.

For general information or to schedule educational presentations, contact Natural Resource Specialist Barbara Spagnuolo by calling 720-733-2294 or by email.

  1. Beavers
  2. Black Bears
  3. Coyotes

BeaversBeaver in the Water

The American Beaver (Castor canadensis) is the largest living rodent in North America. Once among the most widely distributed mammals in North America, beavers were trapped virtually to extinction in the 1800s to meet demand for beaver pelts. A subsequent decline in demand, coupled with proper wildlife management, allowed beavers to become reestablished in much of their former range, and they are now common in many areas, including urban settings.

Habitat

Beavers are semi-aquatic and prefer to remain in the safety of the water as much as possible. They are fairly common in Colorado, including in urban areas. In Castle Rock, beavers are active along East Plum Creek and Sellars Gulch. However, you might not catch a glimpse of these animals as you walk along the creeks during the day, since beavers are active mostly at night.

Cutting down trees and the benefits

Beavers use the trees they cut down for food, and they use the left-over branches for building materials for their dams and lodges.

Beavers are well-known for their tree felling and dam building, which creates deep water ponds for protection from predators, for access to their food supply and to provide underwater entrances to their lodges or bank dens.

Although the felling of these trees may appear destructive, such culling can result in more, bushier growth next spring. For example, each willow stump may re-sprout three to four new stems, while poplars tend to regrow from their roots. The wetlands and large ponds created by beaver dams can have great benefits such as water cleansing, erosion abatement, flood control and more biodiversity for other wildlife.

Painting treesTree painting with Key Bank

When concerned about the loss of native trees such as cottonwoods and willows along creeks, certain individual trees can be protected from beavers' chewing and girdling activity. An easy and more effective alternative to caging and wrapping trees is to coat tree trunks with a sand and paint mixture that may prevent gnawing, as beavers may dislike the gritty feel of the sand in their mouths.

This is a great work project for scouts or other volunteer groups that requires little oversight after target trees have been identified for protection. In the last few years, the Town has painted almost 200 native trees. If your group or troop is interested in helping paint trees in Castle Rock, please call the POST Partners Volunteer Coordinator Marcy Jones at 303-814-7456.

  1. Mountain Lions
  2. Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse
  3. Snakes

Mountain Lions Mountain Lions Laying Down in Between Rocks

Mountain lions are primarily solitary and most commonly found in foothills and canyon country. They are most active from dusk to dawn but will travel and hunt in daylight. They require sufficient cover in areas with a lack of human activity and are known to travel long distances in search of food. Their main prey are deer, which they hunt by stalking. They also hunt elk and porcupines, as well as a variety of domestic animals, including pets. Lions will cover their kills with dirt and leaves and return every few days to feed on them.

Encounters

If you encounter a mountain lion:

  • Most importantly, stay calm and do not run away
  • Give the lion a lot of room
  • Look as large as possible (open your jacket wide, place your arms over your head)
  • Move away slowly

Who to contact

Residents of Castle Rock and Douglas County should call the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northeast Region Service Center, 303-291-7227, if they see a mountain lion between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call your local Sheriff's Office or Police Department outside those hours. 

Additional information

For more information, view Living with Wildlife in Lion Country.