Chipmunk sitting on tree.

Hot Springs National Park, nestled in the heart of the Ouachita Mountains is home to a diverse range of mammalian inhabitants, which range from tiny chipmunks to 400lb black bears. The National Park Service is committed to preserving the natural resources these animals need to survive, through the protection and restoration of their native habitat.

During your visit keep your eyes and ears open for the 49 different species of mammals recorded within the park.

Click here to learn more about common mammals of Hot Springs National Park.
White-tailed Deer Fawn - USFW

What is a Mammal?

All mammals are classified into the class Mammalia. Mammals—along with birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles—belong to a large group known as the vertebrates (animals possessing a backbone). Mammals share common features with each other, including being homeothermic (constant internal body temperature), having hair, having mammary glands (milk-producing structures in females), and being able to give live birth. There are more than 5,000 different mammalian species in the world, with around 500 being found in North America. Of those, around seventy wild species reside in Arkansas, and roughly 49 can be found within the park.

For a description of several of the most popular mammals in the park, visit this page.

Small Mammals

Many of the small mammals in Arkansas belong to the orders Soricomorpha (shrews and moles), Chiroptera (bats), and Rodentia (squirrels, rats, mice). These mammals are an important part of the food chain and the ecosystem.

Bats are the only group of mammals that are capable of true flight. They are usually seen at dusk, during the night, and at dawn when they are feeding on insects in the air. Bats can carry rabies, so they should not be handled by people. Bats benefit humans, however, by reducing the insect population.

Did you know that Hot Springs National Park has a Junior Ranger Program just for bats? Visit us in the Fordyce Museum, or send us an email and ask for one!

Other small mammals that can be found in the park include the bobcat, coyote (Canis latrans), gray fox, raccoon (Procyon lotor), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), and Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana).

Large Mammals

While the state of Arkansas is home to several large mammal speices, Black bears (Urus americanus) and white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are the two most common in the park. Even though it is not often that our guests will come into contact with a bear, we can often tell they are around by finding their scat along or around the trails.

Remember to respect all wildlife that you encounter in the park and keep a safe distance away from them. If you have a wildlife sighting that you'd like to report, send us an email!

Female scientist is testing the thermal springs water, surrounded by her equipment.
Research & Science

Learn more about the research permitting process and responsibilities at Hot Springs National Park.

A large snake hiding beneath rocks

Learn about the wildlife in the Park.

A black and white view at downtown Hot Springs in the early 1900s.

Learn about the historical places in the Park.

A family hikes on a shaded trail
Outdoor Activities

Stroll, hike, or drive through the scenic, forested mountains in our park!


Last updated: September 26, 2022

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

101 Reserve Street
Hot Springs, AR 71901


501 620-6715

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