Tahoe Animals

Tahoe animal black bear

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Life can get wild high up in Tahoe!

There are 290 types of animals and more than 1,000 plant species make up the Lake Tahoe forest and wildlife in the Tahoe Basin.

Currently, 305 species of California wildlife are listed on the official endangered species list.

We’ll walk through some of the most common animals, as well as share a more complete list of the types of animals you’ll find in the Tahoe area (particularly in and around Lake Tahoe).

Lake Tahoe Animals: In & Out of the Water

Black bears

Black Bears are one of the most awe-inspiring animals someone could see in Tahoe. They can be seen around Lake Tahoe year-round, with more sightings beginning in mid-August as bears enter a period called “hyperphagia” when bears eat nearly continuously to consume as many calories as possible in preparation for winter.


Squirrels are a common sight around Tahoe. The best time to see a squirrel is when the weather is warm so late spring to early fall are perfect times for visitors.


Another familiar critter that’s know to call Tahoe it’s home is the black mask racoons. It is know to have a reputation of being a camp robber


If any animal can be said to typify the wild character of the west, it would certainly be the rugged and clever coyote. A very curious animal, coyotes often live close to humans and usually hunt for rodents at night and can be seen near highways in the Tahoe Basin. 


Many bird species are found in the Lake Tahoe Basin, ranging from the tiny Mountain Chickadee to beautiful mallards and even large birds of prey, including bald eagles and ospreys.

The natural beauty of the Lake Tahoe region provides an experience that can be enjoyed by both locals and tourists.

Full List of Animals in the Tahoe Region

Below is a list of animals you’re likely to see according to the USDA Forest Service:

  • American Beaver
  • American Marten
  • Black Bear
  • Coyote
  • Douglas Squirrel Or Chickaree
  • Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel
  • Mountain Beaver
  • Mountain Lion
  • Mule Deer
  • Porcupine
  • Raccoon
  • Yellow-Bellied Marmot

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