Discover the 5 Largest Animals in Utah, and Where You’ll Find Them

Written by Jennifer Gaeng
Updated: July 30, 2023
© BearFotos/
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Western America’s Utah is a big state with a low population density. The bulk of its three million citizens lives close to the state’s capital Salt Lake City. The state’s flora and scenery are incredibly diverse! Utah’s topography is recognized for its diversity because of the influence of the arid Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, and the deserts of the Colorado Plateau. Here, we review the five largest animals in Utah!

One of the many places that offer habitat for wildlife to travel and hunt is the Great Salt Lake, which is situated in the north and is a vestige of an earlier lake named Bonneville. There are a ton of amazing wildlife-related facts about Utah, but let’s concentrate on the biggest animals in Utah and where you can find them. This includes the largest species of insect, fish, bird, snake, and mammal.

An overview of the 5 Largest Animals in Utah.

Largest Fish – Trout

The largest caliber fish is the lake trout, which can be found in Flaming Gorge, Utah.


Depending on how you measure their size, the largest fish species in Utah will be different. If you judge by length, for instance, it will favor the barracuda-like bodies of northern pike and muskies. The largest caliber fish, however, is the lake trout, which can be found in Flaming Gorge, Utah. The state’s official catch-and-keep record was established on the Gorge in 1988 by angler Curt Bilbey. At 45 1/8 inches long and 51 pounds, his trout was massive. Since then, even larger lake trout, some of which measure longer than 46 inches, have been caught and released in the Gorge. In 2020, a Utah resident named Chance Scott caught and kept a 53.15-pound lake trout at Flaming Gorge making it the current state record!

Largest Bird – California Condor

California condor bird on a rock with wings spread against blue sky
California condors have a 9-foot wingspan.

©Barbara Ash/

The largest terrestrial bird in North America is the condor, a member of the vulture family with a wingspan of up to 9 feet. Although they are known as California condors, they were once native to Utah and the western region of North America. These gorgeous birds are once again soaring across Utah skies, despite the fact that their populations are in decline. One of the biggest and most endangered birds in the world, it can be seen soaring above the red-rock cliffs of southwest Utah.

Their huge wings enable them to fly 150 miles a day and as high as 15,000 feet in the air. In both the wild and in captivity, there are currently more than 400 California condors living. The main goal of the California Condor Restoration Program is to enable these birds to flourish on their own in the wild. Scientists are hopeful, since these birds are reproducing away from their release zones.

Largest Mammal – Mountain Bison

Mountain bison
At any given time, there are 250 to 400 mountain bison in Utah’s Henry Mountains.

© Loring

The mountain bison, sometimes known as the wood bison, is the largest mammal in Utah. Large males typically weigh around 2,000 pounds. They are greater in size than plains bison. The wood bison also has far less hair on its forelimbs and beard and larger horn cores. Because of hunting and the potential for degradation from mating with plains bison, state officials are taking action to preserve their existence.

There are only four pure bison herds that graze freely in North America, and one of them is in Utah’s Henry Mountains. At any given time, there are 250 to 400 bison there. They reach the Book Cliffs and are direct ancestors of the Yellowstone Park bison. This 1.2-million-acre range is situated on the border between Utah and Colorado.

Largest Snake – Great Basin Gopher Snake

gopher snake
Gopher snakes, also known as “blow snakes,” inflate their bodies and release air, creating a loud hiss.

©Matt Jeppson/

Throughout the whole state, the Great Basin gopher snake lives in a variety of environments and altitudes. With average lengths between 4 and 4 1/2 feet and sporadic lengths over 6 feet, this snake species is currently the largest in Utah. Gopher snakes are commonly mistaken for rattlesnakes because they have the propensity to shake their tails when disturbed. Even though they are usually safe and very beneficial to the environment, this predisposition occasionally results in people removing them.

Gopher snakes in Utah are sometimes referred to as “blow snakes.” This is because they inflate their bodies and release air, creating a loud hiss. Even though it’s usually a bluff, if encouraged, they may bite. In Utah, the Great Basin gopher inhabits deserts, sparsely populated plains, pine forests, and deserted fields.

Largest Insect – Mormon Cricket

Mormon Cricket
The Mormon cricket is a massive insect that may grow to a length of nearly 3 inches.


Utah is a very bug-filled state. The Mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex) is a massive insect that may grow to a length of nearly 3 inches. It is likely the largest bug in the state. All across Utah and to the west of North America, it thrives in rangelands dominated by forbs and sagebrush. Contrary to its name, the Mormon cricket is not a cricket. It is actually a shield-backed katydid. These insects are occasionally found in orchards near to rangelands in the Pacific Northwest. Although they are capable of removing tree leaves, they prefer to climb trees in order to eat the fruit.

Summary of 5 Largest Animals in Utah

1Trout51 – 53 lbs
2California Condor9 foot wingspan
3Mountain Bison2,000 lbs
4Great Basin Gopher Snake4 – 4 1/2 feet long
5Mormon Cricket3 inches long

The Featured Image

Largest Birds of Prey - Andean Condor
The Andean Condor can change the color of their skin according to their mood.
© BearFotos/

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About the Author

A substantial part of my life has been spent as a writer and artist, with great respect to observing nature with an analytical and metaphysical eye. Upon close investigation, the natural world exposes truths far beyond the obvious. For me, the source of all that we are is embodied in our planet; and the process of writing and creating art around this topic is an attempt to communicate its wonders.

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