Wildlife In Louisiana (A List Of The Most Prolific Animals In Louisiana)

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Louisiana’s terrain features five natural regions that are all mostly flat lowlands. The state is 50% forestry with lots of bodies of water, such as the Mississippi River. As such, this state is full of unique wildlife.

Louisiana is home to many species of animals, most of which thrive in lowlands, swamps, and forests. Some examples of common wildlife found in Louisiana include river otters, beavers, red foxes, bobcats, house sparrows, American alligators, and more!

Do you want to find out what other wildlife thrives in the state of Louisiana? We here at Floofmania have compiled all the information you need to know about some of the most common animals in Louisiana, endangered species, and more!

Animals That Are Typical For Louisiana

Louisiana especially has animals that are adapted to the lowlands, which includes many mammals and reptiles. However, there the state also has plenty of forests as well for birds to thrive. Some animals that are commonly found in Louisiana include:

  • Armadillos
  • Coyotes
  • River otters
  • Red foxes
  • Crows
  • Green tree frogs
  • Green anole
  • Bass
  • Garter snakes
  • Skunks 

This list of animals barely even captures just how many animals are in Louisiana, so let’s keep learning more about the state and its wildlife!

The Official Animal of Louisiana

The official animal of Louisiana is the Louisiana black bear, which is a subspecies of the American black bear.

These black bears used to be prolific in Louisiana, but their numbers have dwindled over the years, culminating in them becoming endangered in 1992 when it was estimated that there were less than 400 black bears.

Subsequently, 1992 was the same year that the Louisiana black bear became the official state animal.

The Most Common Mammals In Louisiana

Louisiana is the home to many mammals, and some mammals you may find are:

1. River Otters

4 river otters cuddling on a rock.

River otters are one of the cuter and more common inhabitants of Louisiana. As you can guess from the name, river otters are found near rivers like the Cane Bayou.

Otters are the largest members of the weasel family, and they are unique creatures. River otters are known to be hygienic since they often wash themselves after they eat.

These mammals are also built to be semi-aquatic. They can dive as deep as 60 feet under the water and hold their breath for up to 8 minutes.

2. North American Beavers 

A North American Beaver with wet fur standing on its hind feet with in the water with greenery behind it.

Another animal you can find by the waters of Louisiana is the North American beaver. Beavers can be seen all throughout the state, but you are more likely to spot one in the Florida parishes in southeast Louisiana.

Beavers are excellent builders. They use wood and other resources to build dams in the rivers. As such, a beaver’s preferred habitat would be in wetlands, marshes, rivers, and ponds, but some have been seen in wells and irrigation ditches, too!

You can learn more about where beavers live by reading our other article, “Where Can Beavers Be Found?”.

3. Eastern Cottontail Rabbits

An Eastern cottontail rabbit on grass.

The eastern cottontail rabbit is one of the two types of rabbits in Louisiana, and it happens to be the more common one. You can find them throughout Louisiana, but they are not as common in swampy areas, which is where the other rabbit (swamp rabbit) will be.

Eastern cottontail rabbits can easily be distinguished from other rabbits by noticing their tail. They would have a mix of white, brown, and black fur throughout their bodies but a noticeably white and round tail.

4. Red Foxes

Closeup of a red fox with closed eyes lying on grass.

Red foxes are a common sight in Louisiana since you can find them in both suburban and rural areas. However, their preferred choice of habitat includes woodland edges near lawns, meadows, and open fields.

If you want to learn more about the red fox’s origins and species, read our article called: Red Fox Species: Origin, Animal Type, Adaptations, and More!

While they are gorgeous animals, red foxes can be dangerous to livestock and pets. Additionally, some red foxes can carry diseases, which you can learn about by reading Red Fox Diseases.

5. Nutria 

A nutria with orange teeth sitting in front of the water.

Nutria is one of the most common mammals in Louisiana. They are seen in backwaters, streams, lakes, rivers, marshes, and swamps. Unfortunately, they are an invasive species that are overpopulating parts of the state.

While they look similar to beavers, nutria and beavers have a few key differences. Nutrias are much smaller than beavers but larger than muskrats. Notably, nutria has long, round tails while beavers sport broad and flat tails.

The Most Common Birds In Louisiana

Whilst mostly made up of lowlands, Louisiana is estimated to have over 9 billion trees that can serve as shelter for common birds like:

1. Blue Jays

A blue jay bird landing on a wooden pole with a blurred gray background.

An iconic bird that is common in Louisiana is the blue jay. They are unique birds because some of them will stay in the state year-round while others will migrate.

Typically, they prefer to be in forests with beech and oak trees. However, they can adapt to more urban environments given that there are still trees available for shelter.

2. Northern Cardinals

A northern cardinal bird either landing or taking off flying whith its feet still on a wooden log.

The northern cardinal, which is also called a redbird, is a year-round bird found in Louisiana since they do not migrate.

These songbirds sing short songs that are comprised of short whistles and trills. Check out what they sound like here:

3. American Crows

American crow sitting on an iron enclosure in a cementary.

Alongside the fish crow, the American crow is one of the two species of crows in Louisiana. These intelligent birds are highly adaptable, often being seen in open areas near forests but also in urban areas like garbage dumps, lawns, and city parks.

4. Red-Bellied Woodpeckers

A red-bellied woodpecker sitting on a tree trunk, sorrounded by pine needles and red berries.

The red-bellied woodpecker can be found all year in Louisiana. Despite their name, their bellies are not actually red as they may only have a small patch of reddish feathers on their bellies.

5. House Sparrows

A house sparrow sitting on a small branch in a pine tree.

Not only is the house sparrow one of the most common birds in Louisiana, but it is also the most common bird in the world! Unfortunately, they are an invasive species to Louisiana, where they thrive despite being native to the Middle East.

The Most Common Amphibians In Louisiana

Since Louisiana is home to many swamps, marshes, lakes, and more, you can find a variety of amphibians including:

1. Green Tree Frogs 

A green tree frog sitting on a dark blue surface.

One of the most easily recognizable frogs in Louisiana is the green tree frog, and they are prolific as well. Typically, you can find them in swamps, canals, roadside ditches, and ponds.

2. Green Frogs

A green frog sitting on a lilly pad in the water.

Similar to the green tree frog, the green frog is another common inhabitant of Louisiana. They like to stay in habitats that have inland water, such as lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, wooded swamps, slow-moving streams and rivers, impoundments, and more.

3. Bullfrogs 

A bullfrog emerging from green leaves.

There are bullfrogs all over Louisiana, but the bullfrogs in the southern parts of Louisiana have darker mottling marks compared to the ones in the northern part of the state.

Notably, it is said that there is a rare blue bullfrog that gets caught in Louisiana every year or so!

The Most Common Reptiles In Louisiana

Louisiana has 140 species of native reptiles, and the common ones you are likely to see are:

1. American Alligators

An American alligator lying on a rocky surface next to grass.

Alongside Florida, Louisiana is one of the two states that have the largest population of alligators. It is estimated that there are over 2 million alligators that live throughout Louisiana’s coastal marshes, lakes, and swamps!

2. Hognose Snakes

A closeup of a hognose snake.

Hognose snakes are common snakes that can easily be seen in Louisiana. Normally, they will favor non-wetland areas with loose soil.

3. Green Anoles

The face of a green anole with a green, blurry background.

Green anoles are the only kind of anole that is native to Louisiana, and they are fairly populous reptiles! 

Despite being common, they may be hard to spot because they are excellent climbers that like to live high up in trees.

4. Snapping Turtles

A closeup of the face of a snapping turtle with its mouth open.

Snapping turtles are another common reptile in Louisiana since they can have excellent habitats here. They often find refuge in the state’s slow streams, ponds, marshes, and lakes.

5. Garter Snake

A garter snake on a worn concrete surface.

Garter snakes are common throughout the US, but the only kind in Louisiana is the eastern garter snake. These snakes can easily live near people, so you can find them in gardens, cemeteries, farms, lawns, and parks.

The Most Common Fish In Louisiana

Louisiana is home to famous bodies of water, such as the Mississippi River! As such, there are many types of fish that you can find, including:

1. Bass

A bass fish being held by a hand by its mouth in the water's surface.

Perhaps one of the most common catches in the United States, the bass, is also a common fish found in Louisiana’s waters. You can find them in the Red River, Toledo Bend, Lake Chicot, and more!

There are many kinds of bass in the state, such as:

  • Largemouth bass
  • White bass
  • Spotted bass
  • Yellow bass
  • Striped bass

2. Sunfish 

A sunfish being held by a hand in its mouth with a lake in the background.

Similar to the bass, the sunfish is another common marine animal that is populating much of Louisiana’s waters. There are also many species of sunfish like the redear sunfish.

Some places you can find sunfish in Louisiana include:

  • Atchafalaya Basin
  • Cheniere Brake Lake
  • Vernon Lake
  • Saline Lake
  • Toledo Bend Reservoir
  • Lake Rodemacher
  • Cypress Bayou Reservoir

As you can tell, sunfish are found in practically all types of water sources in Louisiana. This is beneficial to other animals as well since sunfish serve as a source of food for some animals.

3. Perch

A perch being held by an angler clad in black standing on a boat in a river with trees in the background.

Finally, another common fish you can spot in Louisiana’s waters is perch. Amongst the many types of perch, the most famous is the Lousiana perch or white perch, which is also the state’s official freshwater fish!

These perch can live in almost any type of freshwater because they are hardy fish. However, there are higher populations of perch in the northern parts of the state.

How To Act Around Wild Animals In Louisiana

If you happen to see wild animals from a distance, it is always best to keep your distance. Even if the animal seems docile, you never know when it may attack you.

However, there are circumstances where you may find yourself near a wild animal. For most animals, it is best to slowly walk away until you are 20-30 feet away from the animal. For larger animals, you may want to be 40-50 feet away.

The most important rule to follow for most animals is that you should never run away, especially if they are predators like a jaguar or mountain lion. Running can trigger their instincts to chase after you, so it is often ideal to walk away.  

Endangered Species In Louisiana

Sadly, some species of animals are endangered in Louisiana due to excessive hunting, deforestation, pollution, and more. Some examples include:

  • Black-capped vireo
  • Crystal darter
  • Freckled darter
  • Jaguar
  • Louisiana pearl shell
  • Louisiana pine snake
  • Ringed sawback

Extinct Animals That Used To Live In Louisiana

Most of the animals that are extinct in Louisiana are prehistoric animals, such as the American Mastodon and woolly mammoth.

However, there is a more recently extinct animal in Louisiana, which is the ivory-billed woodpecker. While the actual presence of the ivory-billed woodpecker around the world is debated, the ivory-billed woodpecker has been declared extinct in Louisiana.

This bird is extremely elusive and small in numbers if they truly are just endangered. As such, some speculate that the species may be near extinction or are already extinct. As for Louisiana, the last true sighting of the bird was in 1944, hence why they say it is extinct in the state.

Places In Louisiana To Spot Wild Animals

Excited to see some animals roaming their natural habitats? Here are some great places you can check out to find wild animals in Louisiana!

1. Avery Island

While Avery island may be best known for the Tabasco sauce factory, it is also a great place to view wildlife and nature. There is a semi-tropical garden called the Jungle Gardens where you can go to view wildlife. If you go to Bird City, you can check out various birds, raccoons, alligators, and deer.

2. Grand Isle

The Grand Isle features a nature and birding trail that brings you to five bird-watching areas. From there, you can see many birds like Louisiana’s state bird, the brown pelican. Some other birds you can see include songbirds, sandpipers, and herons.

3. The Atchafalaya Basin

The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest swamp in the US, covering more than 260,000 acres! There is so much wildlife in this area since you can see black bears, foxes, muskrats, beavers, otters, and around 65 species of reptiles!

Zoos In Louisiana

If you have kids or want to easily see wildlife in one place, you can visit any of these great zoos in Louisiana.

1. Shreveport Aquarium

Shreveport Aquarium is a small aquarium that takes 1-2 hours to walk through, but it has a lot to offer! There are over 3,000 marine animals in this aquarium, and there are many great activities. For instance, you can feed stingrays and touch some marine life like jellyfish!

2. Alexandria Zoological Park

This 33-acre zoo has been open since 1926 and is home to roughly 500 animals. The Alexandria Zoological Park prides itself on having a wide variety of animals. Some examples include the Fennec fox, ocelot, squirrel monkey, capybara, red tegu, Chinese alligator, and even some insects!

3. Gators and Friends

For people who want to check out Louisiana’s famous alligators, Gators and Friends is exactly the place you should visit. They offer an interactive and educational experience, and you get to see over 150 alligators. This is also great for kids since they also have pony rides, zip lines, a petting zoo, and more.

Author: Allison Marie Dinglasan

Hello! I am Allison, an avid writer for 6 years with a deep interest in animals since I was a child. I grew up on Animal Planet and animal books and often did rescue work for stray and sickly cats, dogs, and birds in my area, which led to over 60 rescues. My future goal is to be a veterinarian to have a more hands-on approach to helping and learning about animals!

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