5 Amazing Facts about the Grand Canyon (Will #1 Gross You Out?!)
Grand Canyon Squirrel

5 Amazing Facts about the Grand Canyon

2019 was an important year at the Grand Canyon, they celebrated 100 years since becoming a national park! Being one of the United States’ oldest and most spectacular national parks, the Grand Canyon has some crazy facts.  For example…

1.  There are lizards that shoot blood from their eyes!

There is a type of lizard called the shorthorn lizard that lives at the Grand Canyon that has evolved a unique defense mechanism: They can shoot blood from their eyes!

This is meant to scare and confuse would-be predators and can be poisonous to dogs, wolves, and coyotes. 

Grand Canyon Facts
This is an actual picture taken by National Geographic of the shorthorn lizard!

2. Squirrels are the most dangerous animal at the Grand Canyon

One of my favorite questions to ask guests during a tour is to guess the most dangerous animal at the Grand Canyon. Someone almost always guesses bears, which is a good guess.  However, there are not any bears at the Grand Canyon, and the actual answer to the questions is always met by disbelief: Squirrels!

So many people see squirrels and think they are so cute, so they try to feed them or take a selfie with them. 

Grand Canyon Facts
What people see

This often leads to getting bit by the squirrel, and they can carry many different diseases like Hantavirus, rabies, and plague. 

Grand Canyon Facts
What really happens

One bite from a squirrel and it is straight to the hospital and the end of your national park adventure!

3. It is missing hundreds of millions of years of rock.

At the Grand Canyon geologists have discovered rocks that are 250 million years old resting right up against rocks that are 1.2 billion years old.

The missing rock in-between is gone and nobody knows where it is. This has become known as the Great Unconformity and remains one of the biggest mysteries in all of geology. 

Grand Canyon Facts
Layers of the Grand Canyon

4.  The Federal Aviation Administration exists because of the Grand Canyon

During the 1950s, commercial aircraft would regularly take detours over the Grand Canyon to give their guests a view of this amazing National Park.  In 1956, the airspace over the Grand Canyon was known as uncontrolled airspace.

Two airliners were cruising over the Grand Canyon at the same time, didn’t see each other, and slammed into each other, killing 128 people on board both aircraft, making it the first air crash with more than 100 deaths.

The resulting public outcry led politicians on a mission to create a federal body to regulate air space over the USA, this became the FAA in 1958.

Grand Canyon Facts
The Grand Canyon helped create the modern FAA

5.  There are Native Americans still living there, and their village is not accessible by car

Originally, thousands of Native Americans lived in the grand canyon.  Now, there are only 208, and they all live in a small village that is inaccessible by car. 

Grand Canyon Facts
Here is their village.

These people still control one of the most desired locations in the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls.  Maybe that is why they want to stay.

Grand Canyon Facts
Havasu Falls at the Grand Canyon

About Author

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Matthew Meier
World Traveler. Mandarin Speaker. Founder of MaxTour.