There are at least 20 endemic species in the Spring Mountains. This means these species are found nowhere else in the world! The USDA Forest Service, along with Go Mt Charleston, is working to help conserve these species and the environment they call home. The following is a list of the endemic animals found in the Spring Mountains and what you can do to help protect these sensitive species:
• Palmer's Chipmunk
The Palmer's Chipmunk is a small rodent species found at high elevations in the Spring Mountains. This chipmunk has solid black and whites lines that run down the length of its body. The body of Palmer's Chipmunk is primarily tan, while its sides are a pale tan. These tiny chipmunks are 8.3-8.8 inches in length and weigh between 50 and 69.4 grams. Found only in the Spring Mountains, the Palmer's chipmunk can be observed at altitudes of 7,000 feet up to 10,000 feet. Look for the Palmer's chipmunk inhabiting cliffs and forested areas such as the pinyon pine and juniper forests and the fir and bristlecone pine areas.
The seeds of the Ponderosa Pine are an essential food resource for the Palmer's chipmunk. They will also eat fruits, grasses, insects, and seeds from other pine trees. The Palmer's chipmunk spends its time hibernating during the winter but will occasionally wake up on warm winter days to eat. It will search for seeds that it has cached during the summer months for a tasty winter snack. The Palmer's chipmunk is listed as Endangered, which means that it is at risk of extinction.
• Spring Mountains Springsnail
The Spring Mountains Springsnail is a tiny gastropod found in small spring pools throughout the Spring Mountains. These snails are restricted to specific springs that have the potential of drying up. Because of this, they are considered a species of concern.
• Mount Charleston Ant (Lasius nevadensis)
Lasius nevadensis is an ant that is endemic to the Spring Mountains. This elusive insect has only been spotted a handful of times and little is known about this species. The nest of these aunts was found in an unshaded area in compact soil in an open dry pine and spruce forest. Two of the nests were found under large rocks. This species was also found in rocky, grassy herbaceous open north-facing slope in a Ponderosa pine and White Fir forest.
Here are some tips to help protect these sensitive species when you visit the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area.
• Help minimize the spread of invasive species-use the boot brushes at the trailhead before and after hiking.
• Watch where you step, or ride-many of the animals are small and easy to trample.
• Leave what you find-Please do not pick the flowers or remove any other natural objects from the forest.
• Take only pictures.