July 21, 2024
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Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Types of Wildlife in Alabama You Might See

Teeming with wildlife, the biological diversity in Alabama is simply out of this world. Seriously, some of the critters and creatures on this list will have you wondering if they’re from another planet (or state), but nope. They are, indeed, all from right here in Alabama!

 Although you might know some of these animals already, I’m pretty confident that the facts and stories that accompany them will catch you by surprise.

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Wildlife in Alabama

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

All of the animals on this list are wild and some are also endangered. That’s why it’s important to always maintain a safe distance when attempting to view them in their natural habitats in the real world.

Ultimately, the best way to see wild animals is with an accompanying expert or guide. Consider wildlife watching events, hiring a tour guide or visiting a wildlife center or sanctuary. Always stay mindful and take the necessary precautions before any encounters with wild animals.

Black Bears

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Black bears are native to Alabama and were once found across the entire state. However, about a century ago, they were all but eliminated from their home due to over harvesting and habitat degradation.

“Why are they so important?” you might wonder. The black bear is an omnivorous apex mammal. That means they are seed spreaders with no natural predators of their own, making them capable of bringing back entire ecosystems.

Lucky for us, over the last few years, black bears have been making a comeback! Today, this integral part of our wildlife habitat can be found throughout Little River Canyon Preserve in Northeast Alabama.

PRO TIP: From the mountains in the north to the beaches in the south, black bears have been spotted in all 67 of Alabama's counties!

Alligators

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Over one million people drop by each year to view the wildlife in Alabama and the alligator often ranks at the top of their lists. It’s no wonder why, considering the American alligator is one of the largest reptiles in the world.

These scaly powerhouses can grow to be as large as 19 feet in length. In fact, the largest one ever verified on record was taken right here in Alabama back in 2014. It weighed 1,001.5 pounds and measured 15 feet 9 inches! 😳

They’re most commonly spotted in the southern parts of Alabama. Some places you could see one are at Village Point Park Preserve and the Hugh Branyon Backcountry Trail in Orange Beach. Always keep your distance and avoid feeding them anything – they are deceptively fast!

PRO TIP: These are HIGHLY dangerous animals. KEEP YOUR DISTANCE!

Whitetail Deer

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

These brown, fluffy-tailed, graceful animals are found in every county in Alabama making them the wildlife species of choice for game today. It’s hard to imagine that in the 1900s, they were nearly pushed to extinction.

Alabama has one of the longest deer seasons in the country. There are different types and rules but overall the season runs from mid-October until early February.

Hunters will know that whitetails rely most on their noses to avoid danger. Their sense of smell is said to be 500 to 1,000 times more acute than that of a human…much like a dog’s!

Alabama Beach Mouse

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

The Alabama Beach Mouse is one of the few species endemic to the state’s wildlife ecosystem. This little rodent is an endangered species and lives in the coastal dune stretch of the Gulf Coast. They have white underbellies and huge eyes to help them see at night, since they are largely nocturnal.

Due to housing developments and hurricanes, their populations have dwindled in the past years. Today, there are environmental organizations at work protecting their populations through initiatives that stop the building of houses in the beach mouse’s habitat.

Beach mice help the beach ecosystem by distributing seeds, thereby stabilizing the coastal dunes. They are also one of the primary prey species for predators such as owls and snakes.

PRO TIP: How many of you will now be on the lookout for this cutie on your next beach trip? Just remember, they are endangered so don't get your hopes too high!

Armadillo

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

You likely would have come across one of these armored critters if you’ve ever road-tripped through the state. After first being noticed in the 1940s, they quickly spread to 59 out of the 67 Alabama counties.

These nocturnal animals dig and burrow in the earth to find food such as insects and other invertebrates. This, along with their ability to survive nearly everywhere, cause them to be considered as pests by anyone trying to maintain a yard or garden.

Armadillos happen to be pretty skittish, oblivious creatures and even jump in the air when startled. Nonetheless, it’s best to stay out of their way due to their suspected link with the human leprosy bacterium.

PRO TIP: Okay, fine. This isn't a tip but I couldn't resist saying this here is what we Alabamians call a "possum on a half shell"!

Coyote

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Coyotes were first released as game in Alabama by hunters in the early 1900s. With few forests and lots of crops sustaining smaller prey like mice and rabbits, coyotes thrived and spread. Several decades later, many would agree that they might have thrived a bit too much!

These toothy animals have grayish-brown coats and are popularly known to be feral and quite dangerous. While it is best to steer clear of them due to their propensity to carry rabies and other diseases, coyotes themselves tend to slink away when they see humans.

Many people expect coyotes to be a lot bigger than they are but the truth is they usually grow to be only as big as a medium-sized dog. However, they are a big threat to pets, especially those let out at night. If there have been coyote sightings in your area, make sure you keep your dogs and cats close!

PRO TIP: I have personally seen them numerous times in broad daylight including walking down the middle of a busy, main-neighborhood street at noon!

Bobcat

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

The bobcat is a species that is native to Alabama and is characterized by a short tail and spotted fur. They live throughout the state and are found in a number of areas including canyons, forests, rocky outcroppings, swamps. They are most often spotted at the borders of agricultural fields and forests.

Bobcats are generally solitary, nocturnal animals that do most of their hunting at night. They mostly eat small animals like squirrels, mice, rabbits, and snakes but sometimes go after larger animals like deer as well.

Lucky for us, bobcats are quite stealthy and are good at hiding from humans. It’s very rare to spot one but your best bet at a sighting would be on the Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail at Gulf State Park.

Fox (Red/Gray)

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

To the untrained eye, red and gray foxes might look similar but one sure-shot way to tell the difference is by observing their tails. Gray foxes have black-tipped tails, while red foxes have white tails. They are both typically no heavier than the weight of a house cat.

Notorious for getting into coops and yards, and endemic to Alabama, you can find these guys all over the state. Of note, the red fox is more prevalent in the northern half of Alabama.

Osprey

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Ospreys, also called fish hawks, are part of the coastal wildlife ecosystem in Alabama due to the fact that they almost exclusively eat live fish. 

These relatively large raptors have dark brown backs and wings with a white crown. A characteristic feature ospreys exhibit is a dark eye-line that runs from their beaks to the napes of their necks.

The osprey was one of the species that was worst hit in the 1950s by the use of DDT, an insecticide infamous for its adverse environmental impacts. Their populations have recovered since its ban in 1972. 

Popular places in Alabama you can see ospreys are around lakes such as Lake Martin, H. Neely Henry Lake, and Lay Lake.

PRO TIP: My favorite place for osprey viewing is while jet-skiing on Lake Martin. They commonly nest on top of hazard-markers such as the ones near The Ridge Marina!

Wild Boars

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

The story of wild boars and Alabama spans back centuries. In the 1500s, Spanish explorers brought domestic pigs over from Europe to feed their troops. Some of them ran amok and became wild. The descendants of those very pigs are what have boomed in population and have been wreaking havoc ever since.

These stocky, tusked beasts weigh between 200 and 450 pounds. They go about their business uprooting everything in the soil with their noses in order to find food.

Plowing up the dirt everywhere they step foot isn’t the best thing for the rest of the wildlife in Alabama. Alabama’s deer happen to be the most negatively impacted by the actions of this invasive species. 

Justifiably, there are very few restrictions around hunting hogs in Alabama. They are largely considered a pest and a game animal.

Copperheads

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Alabama is native to six venomous snakes: cottonmouth, timber rattlesnake, pygmy rattlesnake, Eastern coral snake, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, and the copperhead

All of these are common statewide except the very elusive coral snake which is more commonly spotted in the southern coastal regions of Alabama.

Copperheads have hourglass shaped brown bands (that resemble Hershey’s kisses from the side) running all the way down their light brown colored backs. 

Although this snake’s bite is venomous, it’s rarely fatal to humans. Nonetheless, it’s best to avoid encounters with these snakes by remaining vigilant of where you step while out in the wilderness.

PRO TIP: These snakes like to hide and they blend in quite well. Parents watch children closely at parks with natural elements. I have seen them curled up in rock walls/formations where kids were playing and climbing.

Bats

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Alabama hosts 16 species of bats, out of which the gray bat is the most endangered and the big brown bat, the least. Alabama’s bats are insectivores and are responsible for consuming hundreds of millions of crop pests each year.

Despite providing great economic benefit to Alabama, bats are not protected and credited nearly enough. This is because of habitat destruction, white-nose syndrome, and even some misconceptions and myths surrounding them.

A great place to see both gray and Indiana bats is at the beautiful Sauta National Wildlife Refuge in Scottsboro. Visit between June and August and stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Scottsboro while there to make a trip of it!

More Wildlife in Alabama

Check out this list of wildlife in Alabama to see why so many animals call it home! #alabama #wildlife #habitat #snakes #bears #hunting

Here are some other wild animals that call Alabama their home:

Eastern chipmunk

American pygmy shrew

Eastern mole

Appalachian cottontail 

Long-tailed weasel

Pinterest graphic with 4 small photos of different animals and the post title in the middle
Pinterest graphic with 4 small photos of different animals and the post title in the middle
Pinterest graphic with 4 small photos of different animals and the post title in the middle

Hopefully, while reading this list you encountered a fact or story related to wildlife in Alabama that you didn’t already know. Learning more about this beautiful state and all of its inhabitants just makes me more in awe of how great it truly is!

Did you already know all of these animals that call Alabama home? I didn’t! Curious to see any of them? If so, which ones? I absolutely want to know as I have my own favorite!

Heather

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Please travel responsibly.