What Are the Most Dangerous Creatures in the Great Salt Lake?
The Great Salt Lake is an integral part of Utah’s history and a popular recreation site for both natives and visitors.
But there’s also wildlife found around the lake. Are those creatures dangerous? Do you need to be aware as you visit this area?
Join us as we learn more about the Great Salt Lake and the animals that call it home.
About the Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is near Salt Lake City, Utah, and is the largest lake between Michigan’s Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean. It’s also the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere. The lake is a landlocked remnant of ancient Lake Bonneville.
The Great Salt Lake has become a natural recreation site and is one of the most asked about tourist attractions in Utah. Visitors enjoy swimming and sunbathing on the white sand beaches.
People can easily float because the water fluctuates between 5% and 27% salinity, which is much higher than the ocean. Rinse off afterward in the freshwater showers.
What Kinds of Creatures Live in the Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake area is home to many species of wildlife. Large land animals, such as bison, deer, and antelope, and their predators roam its shorelines and the nearby Antelope Island. Birds are also abundant and make the lake a desired destination for bird watchers.
In addition, it houses many waterbird species and has become a rest stop during migration. The Great Salt Lake also serves as both a breeding ground and a significant food source.
But the water itself provides a much different ecosystem. Although some fish line the freshwater marshes and inlets near the Great Salt Lake, no fish can survive the lake’s salty waters. There are still some animals that can live in the water.
For example, brine shrimp live in the lake. Brine flies can also swarm the shoreline of the lake, although Antelope Island is fairly free of this nuisance.
Are Any of the Creatures in the Great Salt Lake Dangerous?
Although some of the larger wildlife living on Antelope Island and the shores of the Great Salt Lake can be dangerous, most of the creatures are harmless.
In fact, because the most common animal in the lake is the brine shrimp, there’s little to be afraid of beneath these waters.
Pro Tip: After hunting for some scary sea monsters, check out these Utah National Parks (Ranked Best To Worst).
The North Shore Monster
In 1871, by J.H. McNeil and several Barnes and Co. Salt Works workers supposedly saw the North Shore Monster. The group reportedly saw “a huge creature that looked like an alligator with the head of a horse off Monument Point on the northern shores of the Great Salt Lake.”
The creature reportedly gave off a bellow and chased the men up the hill. The following day the men found overturned boulders, tracks, and disturbed land near the shore.
Are There Sharks in the Lake?
There have been many rumors of sharks in the Great Salt Lake. There have also been rumors of an old sea captain capturing whales and transporting them from the ocean to the lake. However, no one has proven these claims.
Because of the shallowness and salinity of the lake, the likelihood that it could support either sharks or whales seems a bit outlandish.
Pro Tip: If the monsters in the Great Salt Lake aren’t scary enough for you, check out The Most Dangerous Creatures in Lake Michigan.
Is It Safe to Swim in the Great Salt Lake?
Swimming in the Great Salt Lake is perfectly safe and can be fun. You won’t want to swallow any of the salty water, but the salinity makes for a unique swimming experience.
There are a few things that you can do to make your swimming experience more enjoyable. First, you should bring your own shade. A canopy or even a beach umbrella will do. The lake’s high salinity makes it so that nothing grows on the shoreline, and the summer sun can be unrelenting.
Second, make sure to rinse off with fresh water after swimming and bring a new set of clothes. There are locations on the Great Salt Lake that provide showers but plan to bring extra water to rinse off. The salt can make your skin feel tight and itchy.
Finally, the walk to the shoreline can be lengthy, sometimes between ¼ and ½ a mile.
Therefore, bring only what you need, including lotion and insect repellant. The brine flies can be very annoying, and the repellant will help ward off these pesky critters. And the salt can dry out your skin. A good lotion can help rejuvenate your skin.
Enjoy the Unique Experience of the Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in Utah. And for a good reason. The island wildlife and the water birds can be awe-inspiring. But swimming in the lake is truly an experience unlike any other.
It definitely deserves a stop the next time you visit Utah.
Have you ever floated in this one-of-a-kind lake?
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