Recently I met a wildlife photographer, and as he spoke to me about the many adventures of his life, he told me about the animals he found the most difficult to photograph.
According to my friend, animals that live in dens are the most difficult to photograph because they do not venture out of their dens unless necessary.
For example, animals like foxes, bobcats, and leopards do live in dens but will only come out when they are hungry and it is time to hunt.
Thus, he would first have to identify if the separate den was the home to a creature and then lure him out before he could take a picture.
This story got me thinking about which animals live in dens. So with his help, I made the following list:
Animals that live in a den:
List of animals that live in dens
Foxes are found in many parts of the world, such as mountainous regions, forests, grasslands, deserts, and even urban areas.
But you will also find foxes burrowing in the ground and even living in the hollows of trees.
Foxes live in dens, but unlike bobcats, you will find that a fox’s den is always somewhere cool and usually close to the ground.
If foxes cannot locate a suitable hollow in the ground, they can dig a hole and build a den.
This is necessary for the fox to protect her young ones from predators and find a suitable location to sleep.
Foxes come out of their dens when in search of food. The creatures often abandon the burrows made by foxes for several reasons.
However, abandoning the den by a fox creates the opportunity for other creatures like wolves and coyotes to claim it as their dens.
The habitats of bobcats are pretty varied as these creatures can live in mountainous regions, forests, semi-deserts, and brushlands.
You will find that bobcats live in dens and even in auxiliary dens. These dens can be the hollows of trees, brush piles, and even abandoned beaver lodges.
Furthermore, you will find that bobcats can quickly identify these dens, and once they have spotted a suitable den, they are quick to mark these as their territories.
Bobcats also line their dens with debris and dry leaves to make the interior of the dens comfortable and warm.
Female bobcats will stay in the dens when she is rearing her kittens. She is careful to stay in the den to protect her kittens from predators.
Coyotes are unique creatures as they are one of the top predators in North America, but they do not hunt during the day when humans are in close proximity.
However, this does not mean that they spend the day in their dens. Coyotes live in dens only when it is time to rear their pups.
Moreover, these creatures cannot build their dens. They are dependent on other animals for their dens.
You will find coyotes rearing their pups in the hollows of trees or burrows made by raccoons or skunks.
Sometimes coyotes make their dens beneath overhanging rocks.
The coyotes stay in the dens only while rearing the pups, and once they are sufficiently grown, they abandon their dens.
Coyotes are known to de den-dwellers only during the breeding season, much like many other animals.
Wildlife photographers often mention that this makes for unique photography as you can photograph the mother coyote with her young ones.
Weasels are unique creatures that live in dens near water bodies. The primary reason why weasels live near water bodies is due to the supply of insects and small rodents.
Weasels look for dens where burrows belong to other animals like foxes and skunks but have been abandoned by the creatures. They can also build their dens beneath rock piles.
If a weasel identifies a suitable overhanging rock near a river or a stream that offers adequate protection, it will quickly build its den near the rock pile.
They will build their nest in the den with grass, straw, and leaves. The weasels raise their young ones in these dens.
The weasel lines the den’s interior with leaves and straw to keep herself and her young ones warm.
The habitats of tigers are pretty extensive. You will find tigers in rainforests, savannas, grasslands, and mangrove swamps.
In addition, they have significantly extensive hunting grounds and when it comes to living in caves, you will find tigers looking for overhanging rocks or similar covers when rearing young ones.
But they do not have specific living areas like dens or lairs. They will prefer staying in grasslands.
The search for such locations is to protect the young ones. Sometimes tigers hide under overhanging rocks to protect themselves from the scorching sun.
However, in most cases, tigers prefer the dense covering of forests, especially near a water body that gives them access to water and a significant amount of prey coming to drink as well.
Wolves are carnivores, and they hunt in packs but they generally do not live in dens or lairs when it comes to their habitats.
However, when it comes to raising pups, you will find the female wolves looking for suitable dens where they can raise their pups.
These dens are normally in secure locations and unlike the burrows of foxes, the dens can be holes in boulders or the faces of hillocks or mountains.
If the female wolves cannot find such places to raise their pups, they will den sites in the roots of trees.
The pack usually lives near the den sites, and they will abandon the den once the pups grow sufficiently big to run with the pack.
The wolves stay near the den site to protect the pups and the females.
Armadillos are unique creatures as they build their dens. Their dens act as their homes and provide them with the necessary safety and security from predators.
Armadillos can build their dens with the help of their sharp claws and when they build the burrow, they will first pull out the soil with the help of their nose and forefeet.
Once the soil is removed, the armadillo can dig deeper into the soil, and by doing so, it can build its burrow or den.
A den of an armadillo can be pretty deep. Sometimes an armadillo can dig a burrow five feet deep and four feet wide.
Wildlife researchers have even found armadillo dens that are twenty-four feet wide.
Jaguars are unique creatures as they can be found in various habitats and they come out of their dens only when they need to hunt.
You will find jaguars in tropical forests, swamps, mangroves, arid scrublands, river valleys, and mixed conifer forests. These creatures love to live in caves and dens.
Jaguars are genuine cave and den dwellers, and you will often find them looking for suitable caves on mountainsides and rock faces.
They will even make their dens in canyons and old abandoned buildings.
In the wild, you will find jaguars looking for suitable dens to stay and once they find a suitable cave, they will claim it as a part of their territory.
These creatures hunt at night as they have excellent vision during these times; therefore, if you are a wildlife photographer too, like my friend, you have to be extremely patient to take a jaguar photo!
Leopards are solitary predators. These creatures are primarily found in tropical regions, savannas and grasslands.
But when it comes to hunting and living, leopards are incredibly territorial.
You will find that these creatures prefer to live in regions with trees to hide and suitable places where the females can raise their young ones.
Leopards look for dens only when it is time to raise their young ones.
These dens can be in caves, spots beneath overhanging rocks, and other similar spots that give them complete seclusion from other animals.
Female leopards can even burrow holes in the ground to make caves to give birth to young ones.
When a female leopard is rearing her young ones, she does not step out of her den and can go for several days without food and water before venturing out to hunt.
Skunks live in dens in the form of burrows that they make with their claws. You will find these burrows in your backyard, and these burrows are often filled with straw or leaves.
Sometimes skunks are known to build their dens in burrows abandoned by other animals like foxes, woodchucks, or similar creatures.
If a skunk finds a suitable hollow in a wooden log or a burrow in a woodpile, it will make its den in that particular spot.
Skunks have poor vision but a keen sense of smell. Hence, the creature cannot make a den far from its food source.
Instead, it will choose a den close to the usual spot from where it gets its food. Whether that be grubs from the lawn or near garbage dumps.
You can quickly identify the location of the burrows of skunks by the small round cone-shaped holes in your backyard or garden.