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Ruidoso Wildlife

Elk Cow and CalfPhoto by David Tremblay

The sheer number of wildlife roaming the forests – and even the streets! – of Ruidoso is astounding.  Over 200 species of birds live in or migrate through the area.  Elk, deer and bears are frequently seen in our neighborhoods.  Even the occasional mountain lion has made an appearance.  So take a short hike – or sit on your deck! – and have your camera ready.

PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE!  We know that our deer are very friendly, but when they are fed by humans they not only lose their natural fear of us, they become dependent upon us for their meals.  An increase in their food supply leads to more frequent reproduction, therefore we have more deer wandering in our neighborhoods than ever. Unfortunately, they cross busy streets and are often hit by cars. 

People love watching our bears "dumpster dive", but the same rules apply. Please do not "bait" areas in hopes of taking photos or video of wild bears. Our bears have not been known to attack people without provocation, but don't tempt fate. Again, a bear that becomes dependent upon human food becomes and nuisance and either has to be relocated or destroyed.






  • Year round
Historic and beautiful Lincoln County NM is blessed withover 200 species of birds where you can find everything from Red Tail Hawks to Bald Eagles to Hummingbirds.

Black Bear

  • Spring, Summer and Fall
The New Mexico black bear is native to Colorado, New Mexico, west Texas, the eastern half of Arizona into Northern Mexico and southeastern Utah.


  • Year Round
Bobcat activities are confined to well-defined territories, which vary in size depending on gender and the distribution of prey.


  • Year Round
Opportunistic, versatile carnivores eating primarily small mammals.


  • Spring, summer and fall
The majestic elk can often be seen in the forests and in Ruidoso's wooded residential neighborhoods, such as the Upper Canyon.


  • Year-round except for Bonito Lake (April 1 to November 30)

Beautiful Brown and Rainbow Trout can be found in the lakes and rivers surrounding Ruidoso.

Gray and Red Fox

  • Spring, Summer and Fall
Foxes have been spotted in forested neighborhoods throughout Ruidoso.

Mountain Lions

  • Year Round
These beautiful animals are becoming more & more visible in our residential neighborhoods. Do not approach them.

Mule Deer

  • Year Round
Mule Deer are plentiful in town and out. Watch out for them crossing our main streets, especially in the morning and evening hours.


  • Spring and Summer
The Porcupine is the prickliest of rodents, though its Latin name means "quill pig".

Pronghorn Antelope

Pronghorn Antelope are frequently seen in the areas of Alto and Carrizozo.

Rock Squirrels

  • Spring, Summer and Fall
Squirrels can be found throughout the Ruidoso area in our parks, yards and forests.


  • Year Round
Skunks are omnivorous, eating both plant and and animal material. They also seek human garbage - and they also venture into our homes via pet doors!

Wild Horses

  • Year Round
At least one herd of wild horses lives in Lincoln County.

Wild Turkey

New Mexico is home to three of the five recognized North American subspecies of wild turkey. The Merriam's turkey is typically associated with areas of ponderosa pine. Turkeys are usually seen in the early mornings just before dawn in forested areas.