U.S. States Animals

The U.S. has many endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. In this list, we want to show you animals living in the Continental United States and its surrounding seas and islands. Some of them are well known to you but with some animals, you might meet for the first time.

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
State

Although found in most of Canada and Alaska, all of the continental United States, and northern Mexico, the Bald eagle is the national bird of the United States of America and appears on its seal. In the late 20th century this iconic bird was on the brink of extirpation in the contiguous United States. Bald eagles consume a great variety of prey but especially they favor fish. To hunt fish, they swoop down over the water and snatch the fish out ...
of the water with their talons. They eat by holding the fish in one claw and tearing the flesh with the other. Eagles have structures on their toes called spicules that allow them to grasp fish. Bald eagles also have powerful talons and have been recorded flying with a 6.8 kg (15 lb) Mule deer fawn. This feat is the record for the heaviest load carrying ever verified for a flying bird. It has been estimated that the gripping power (pounds by square inch) of the Bald eagle is ten times greater than that of a human! Bald eagles can fly with fish at least equal to their own weight, but if the fish is too heavy to lift, the eagle may be dragged into the water. The bird may swim to safety, in some cases, and pull the catch along to the shore as it swims where it can safely gorge itself.
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Bald Eagle
American Black Bear
American Black Bear
State
Alabama

The American black bear is the continent's smallest and most widely distributed bear species. American black bears feature prominently in the stories of some of America's indigenous peoples. One of these is a Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan; it is named after a Native American legend, where a female bear and her two cubs swam across Lake Michigan in order to escape a fire on the Wisconsin shore. The mother bear reached the shore and waited for ...
her cubs, but they did not make it across. Two islands mark where the cubs drowned, while the dune marks the spot where the mother bear waited.
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American Black Bear
American Bison
American Bison
State
Kansas

The American bison is the national mammal of the United States of America and spanning back many millennia, Native American tribes have had cultural and spiritual connections to this large fearsome animal. Once roaming in vast herds, the American bison nearly became extinct due to commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and the introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle. For many years, its population was primarily found ...
in a few national parks and reserves. Among extant land animals in North America, the bison is the heaviest and the longest, and the second tallest after the moose.
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American Bison
Coyote
Coyote
State
South Dakota

The coyote is another native inhabitant of North America. It is a prominent character in Native American folklore and was especially respected in Mesoamerican cosmology as a symbol of military might. Coyotes live either in a family unit or in loosely knit packs of unrelated individuals. They walk around 5-16 kilometers (3-10 mi) per day and are competent swimmers, reported to be able to travel at least 0.8 kilometers (0.5 mi) across the water. ...
Another interesting fact about these animals is that they are described as "the most vocal of all [wild] North American mammals". Their loudness and range of vocalizations were the cause for their binomial name Canis latrans, meaning "barking dog". There are at least 11 different vocalizations used by these animals that are divided into three categories: agonistic and alarm, greeting, and contact.
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Coyote
Turkey Vulture
Turkey Vulture
State

This large bird with a wingspan of 160-183 cm (63-72 in) is the most widespread of the New World vultures. In some North American regions, the Turley vulture is known as the Turkey buzzard (or just buzzard). This bird is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. While ...
soaring, the Turkey vulture holds its wings in a shallow V-shape and often tips from side to side, frequently causing the gray flight feathers to appear silvery as they catch the light. When on the ground, the Turkey vulture is awkward and has an ungainly, hopping walk. It requires a great deal of effort to take flight, flapping its wings while pushing off the ground and hopping with its feet.
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Turkey Vulture
White-Tailed Deer
White-Tailed Deer
State
Arkansas

Although the White-tailed deer is native to North America, Central America, and South America, in the U.S., it is the state animal of Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, the game animal of Oklahoma, and the wildlife symbol of Wisconsin. It is also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate. The ...
White-tailed deer is also the inspiration of the professional basketball team the Milwaukee Bucks. The profile of a White-tailed deer buck caps the coat of arms of Vermont and can be seen in the flag of Vermont and in stained glass at the Vermont State House.
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White-Tailed Deer
Bobcat
Bobcat
State
New Hampshire

The bobcat is another native inhabitant of North America that ranges through most of the contiguous United States. It is featured in some stories of the indigenous peoples of North and Central America, and in the folklore of European-descended inhabitants of the Americas. Like most felines, the bobcat is largely solitary and is active mostly during twilight. Each night, it moves from 3 to 11 km (2 to 7 mi) along its habitual route. In its ...
territory, the bobcat has numerous places of shelter, and its den smells strongly of the bobcat. This wild cat is able to survive for long periods without food but eats heavily when prey is abundant. During lean periods, it often preys on larger animals, which it can kill and return to feed on later.
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Bobcat
Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep
State
Colorado

Named for its large horns, the Bighorn sheep originally crossed to North America over the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia; the population in North America peaked in the millions, and the Bighorn sheep entered into the mythology of Native Americans. Bighorn sheep were among the most admired animals of the Apsaalooka (Crow) people, and what is today called the Bighorn Mountain Range was central to the Apsaalooka tribal lands. The Rocky Mountain ...
bighorn sheep is the provincial mammal of Alberta and the state animal of Colorado and as such is incorporated into the symbol for the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife. While the subspecies the Desert bighorn sheep is the state mammal of Nevada.
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Bighorn Sheep
Virginia Opossum
Virginia Opossum
State
North Carolina

The Virginia opossum is the only opossum found north of Mexico. It is also commonly known as the North American opossum. Its range makes it both the northernmost opossum and the northernmost marsupial in the world. In the United States, the animal is typically referred to simply as a possum ('possum) or an opossum. Opossums are familiar to many North Americans as they frequently inhabit settled areas due to the associated proximity to food ...
sources, notably trash cans, as well as pet food, compost piles, gardens, rodents, etc. Opossums are famous for their pretending to be dead or injured with the intent to deceive when they feel threatened. This behavior received the term "playing possum". When it is scared or senses danger an opossum will either flee or take a stand. To appear threatening, an opossum will first bare its 50 teeth, snap its jaw, hiss, drool, and stand its fur on end to look bigger. If all this does not work, the Virginia opossum is noted for feigning death in response to extreme fear. In this inactive state the animal lies limp and motionless on its side, mouth and eyes open, tongue hanging out, and feet clenched. Its heart rate drops by half, and breathing rate gets so slow and shallow that it can be hardly detected.
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Virginia Opossum
Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey
State

The Wild turkey is the ancestor of the domestic turkey. Although native to North America, the turkey probably got its name from the domesticated variety being imported to Britain in ships coming from the Levant (a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia) via Spain. The Wild turkey is the heaviest member of the landfowl. However, despite their weight, Wild turkeys, unlike their domesticated counterparts, are agile, fast ...
fliers. In the ideal habitat of open woodland or wooded grasslands, they may fly beneath the canopy top and find perches. They usually fly close to the ground for no more than 400 m (a quarter-mile). Wild turkeys have very good eyesight, but their vision is very poor at night. They will generally not see a predator until it is too late. They may sometimes forage with deer and squirrels, and contrary to their reputation of being stupid and vapid animals may even play with them. By foraging together, each can help the other watch for predators with their different senses, the deer with their improved olfactory sense, the turkey with its superior sight, and squirrels providing an additional set of eyes from the air.
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Wild Turkey
American Alligator
American Alligator
State
Florida

The American alligator is native to the Southeastern United States and is the official state reptile of three states: Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. It is a very large reptile with adult male American alligator measuring 3.4 to 4.8 m (11.2 to 15.7 ft) in length; on rare occasions, a large, old male may grow to an even greater length. On average, it is the largest species among alligators and caimans, with only the Black caiman being ...
possibly bigger. American alligators are considered apex predators throughout their range. They are opportunists and their diet is determined largely by both their size and age and the size and availability of prey. They are among the first reptiles recorded to use tools. By balancing sticks and branches on their heads, American alligators are able to lure birds looking for suitable nesting material to kill and consume. This strategy is particularly effective during the nesting season, in which birds are more likely to gather appropriate nesting materials.
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American Alligator
Timber Rattlesnake
Timber Rattlesnake
State
West Virginia

The Timber rattlesnake is endemic to eastern North America. This is the only rattlesnake species in most of the populous Northeastern United States. The Timber rattlesnake is a venomous, sometimes even highly venomous pit viper. Potentially, this is one of North America's most dangerous snakes, due to its long fangs, impressive size, and high venom yield. This is to some degree offset by its relatively mild disposition and long brumation ...
period. Before striking, the Timber rattlesnake often performs a good deal of preliminary rattling and feinting. This snake became a prominent symbol of American anger and resolve during the American Revolution due to its fearsome reputation. It was designated the state reptile of West Virginia in 2008.
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Timber Rattlesnake
Brown Pelican
Brown Pelican
State
Louisiana

The Brown pelican is one of three species found in the Americas and one of two that feed by diving into the water. It is the official state bird of Louisiana, appearing on the flag, seal, or coat of arms of each. Brown pelicans are very gregarious birds that live in flocks throughout the year. Thye often fly in groups, with their heads held back on their shoulders and their bills resting on their folded necks. As Brown pelicans fly at a maximum ...
height of 18 to 21 m (60 to 70 ft) above the ocean, they can spot schools of fish while flying. When foraging, they dive bill-first like a kingfisher, often submerging completely below the surface momentarily as they snap up prey. Upon surfacing, they spill the water from their throat pouches before swallowing their catch. To exclude water from the nasal passage, Brown pelicans have narrower internal regions of the nostrils. They are even capable of drinking saline water due to the high capacity of their salt glands to excrete salt.
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Brown Pelican
Olympic Marmot
Olympic Marmot
State
Washington

Olympic marmots occur only in the U.S. state of Washington. These animals are protected by law in the Olympic National Park, which contains most of their habitat. Olympic marmots are very sociable animals and often engage in play fighting and vocalize four different whistles to communicate. They live in burrows made in colonies and each colony may contain as few as one marmot family or multiple families with up to 40 marmots. These fluffy ...
rodents are "deep hibernators" and they cannot easily be awoken. They start to enter hibernation in early September. Their body temperature drops to below 40 °F (4 °C) and their heart rate can slow to three beats per minute. Marmots warm their bodies about every ten days. When they emerge in early May, thick snow cover is still present from the preceding winter, so they are not very active at this time. Sometimes they are so disoriented after awaking from hibernation that they have to relearn the colony's landmarks which are covered in snow; this obscures marmots even more and they wander around aimlessly until they find their burrows.
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Olympic Marmot
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
State
Arkansas

The Northern mockingbird is influential in United States culture, being the state bird of five states, appearing in book titles, songs, and lullabies, and making other appearances in popular culture. Known for its intelligence, the Northern mockingbird is able to recognize individual humans, particularly noting those who had previously been intruders or threats. Also, these birds are able to recognize their breeding spots and return to areas in ...
which they had the greatest success in previous years.
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Northern Mockingbird
Hopi Сhipmunk
Hopi Сhipmunk
State

These adorable creatures live in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. They prefer rocky areas with pinion and juniper pines where they feed mostly on nuts, seeds, and fruits. Hopi chipmunks gather food and store it in cheek pouches. They often climb into shrubs to get seeds, but never eat there: either they take the food to the safety of their den, or perch on a boulder or other lookout where they can eat but at the same time watch for hawks or other ...
predators.
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Hopi Сhipmunk
Greater Prairie Chicken
Greater Prairie Chicken
State

These North American birds were once abundant, but have become extremely rare and extirpated over much of their range due to habitat loss. One of the most famous aspects of Greater prairie chickens is the mating ritual called booming. During the breeding season, the males defend their booming grounds. These booming grounds are the area in which they perform their displays in hopes of attracting females. The males inflate air sacs located on the ...
side of their neck and snap their tails. These booming grounds usually have very short or no vegetation and the males stay on this ground displaying for almost two months.
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Greater Prairie Chicken
American Badger
American Badger
State
Wisconsin

These fossorial carnivores live in the northeastern United States. They are excellent diggers especially when they pursue prey into their dens and sometimes may even plug tunnel entrances with objects. American badgers are significant predators of snakes including rattlesnakes and are considered the most important predator of rattlesnakes in South Dakota. One of the interesting behaviors of these animals is that the American badger may sometimes ...
work with a coyote in tandem while hunting. According to research, such partnership works due to the different hunting styles of the predators and how their prey reacts to them. For example, a ground squirrel, upon spotting a coyote, will crawl into its hole to escape; while upon seeing a badger, the ground squirrel will climb out of its hole and use its speed to outrun the badger. Therefore, hunting in tandem raises the prey vulnerability and both predators win.
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American Badger
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
State

This large wading bird is common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North America and Central America. Great blue herons can adapt to almost any wetland habitat in their range; they are generally solitary feeders wading in shallow waters, usually less than 50 cm (20 in) deep, or at the water's edge during both the night and the day, but especially around dawn and dusk. Herons locate their food by sight and usually swallow ...
it whole. Their favorite hunting technique is wading slowly with their long legs through shallow water and quickly spearing fish or frogs with their long, sharp bills. They may also stand in one place, probing, pecking, walking at slow speeds, moving quickly, flying short distances and alighting, hovering over the water and picking up prey, diving headfirst into the water, alighting on water feet-first, jumping from perches feet-first, and even swimming or floating on the surface of the water.
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Great Blue Heron
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
State

Black-tailed prairie dogs are found in the Great Plains of North America. They live in colonies which may range from five to thousands of individuals. One Black-tailed prairie dog town in Texas was reported to cover 25,000 sq mi (64,000 km2) and included 400,000,000 individuals! It is suggested that prairie dogs use a sophisticated system of vocal communication to describe specific predators. According to them, prairie dog calls contain specific ...
information as to what the predator is, how big it is, and how fast it is approaching. Prairie dogs have a very sensitive hearing at low frequencies that allows them to detect predators early, especially while in their burrows. When a prairie dog makes a call, the others seem not to hide in the burrows but will stand on the mounds to see where the predator is.
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Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
California Quail
California Quail
State
California

These small ground-dwelling birds can easily be recognized by their curving crest or plume that droops forward; it is made of six feathers and is black in males and brown in females. California quails are highly sociable birds and often gather in small flocks known as "coveys". One of their daily communal activities is a dust bath. A group of quail will select an area where the ground has been newly turned or is soft, and using their ...
underbellies, will burrow downward into the soil one to two inches. They then wriggle about in the indentations they have created, flapping their wings and ruffling their feathers, causing dust to rise in the air. As its name implies the California quail is the state bird of California. It was established as the state bird in 1932.
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California Quail
Eastern Screech Owl
Eastern Screech Owl
State

Eastern screech owls are relatively common in the woods of Eastern North America. They are strictly nocturnal, roosting during the day in cavities or next to tree trunks. Due to their small size and camouflage, they are much more frequently heard than actually seen. Like most predators, Eastern screech owls are opportunistic hunters. Due to the ferocity and versatility of their hunting style, early authors nicknamed Eastern screech owls ...
"feathered wildcats". They hunt mainly from perches, dropping down onto prey. They may also hunt by scanning through the treetops in brief flights or hover to catch prey. When prey is spotted, Eastern screech owls dive quickly and seize it in their talons. The sense of hearing of these birds is so acute, that they can even locate mammals under heavy vegetation or snow. Additionally, their feathers are serrated at their tips and this muffles the noise the owls make when they flap their wings; this adaptation helps to sneak up on prey quietly.
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Eastern Screech Owl
Black-Tailed Jackrabbit
Black-Tailed Jackrabbit
State

The Black-tailed jackrabbit is one of the largest North American hares. It is also known as the American desert hare. Black-tailed jackrabbits are fast runners with long, powerful hind legs, and large ears to dissipate body heat. They do not migrate or hibernate during winter and live in the same habitat year-round. Their breeding depends on the location; it typically peaks in spring but may continue all year round in warm climates. Young ...
(leverets) are born fully furred with eyes open; they are well camouflaged and are mobile within minutes of birth, thus females do not protect or even stay with the young except during nursing. Leverets usually stay together for at least a week after leaving the form.
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Black-Tailed Jackrabbit
Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren
State
South Carolina

These tiny wary birds are resident in the eastern half of the United States of America. They are more often heard than seen. They sing year-round and at any point during the daytime. Males alone sing, and have a repertoire of at least twenty different phrase patterns and on average, thirty-two. While singing, the tail of these birds is always pointed downward. The Carolina wren is the state bird of South Carolina and in 2000, the bird was ...
featured on the back of the South Carolina edition of the 50 State Quarters.
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Carolina Wren
American Anole
American Anole
State

The Green anole is native to the southeastern United States. It is sometimes referred to as the American chameleon (typically in the pet trade) due to its color-changing ability, however, it is not a true chameleon. Male anoles are strongly territorial creatures. Some may even fight their own reflections in mirrored glass. Like many lizards, anoles display autotomic tails, which wriggle when broken off. This usually distracts the predator and ...
helps the anole to escape. The new tail contains cartilage rather than bone and will typically not grow back to the same length as the first one; it may also be different in color and texture from the rest of the animal. Due to their enlarged toe pads and great climbing ability, Green anoles will also try to escape predators by climbing vertical walls, trees, fences, or any vertical surface they can find.
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American Anole