Delaware, located in the northeastern region of the United States, is a small state with a diverse array of wildlife and versatile terrain that features all sorts of ecosystems.
Right here and now, we explore some of the wild animals that call Delaware home and bring to you the exact locations where you can spot them.
White-tailed deer are a common sight in Delaware, particularly in rural areas. These graceful animals live in woodlands, fields, and even suburban neighborhoods. Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control estimates that between 30,000 and 35,000 white-tailed deer are in the state.
While they are a beloved symbol of the natural world, they can also cause problems for motorists and gardeners.
Red foxes are another common sight in Delaware, particularly in the state’s more rural areas. These adaptable animals are frequent in woodlands and fields, but also in suburban neighborhoods. They are primarily nocturnal and may not be seen as often as other wildlife.
Foxes are opportunistic predators, feeding on various prey including rodents, rabbits, and birds.
Bald eagles, the national bird of the United States, are a conservation success story in Delaware. Once on the brink of extinction because of habitat loss and hunting, they have made a remarkable recovery in Delaware and throughout the country.
Today, there are approximately 200 nesting pairs of bald eagles in Delaware, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Bald eagles are best to spot when soaring over rivers and wetlands, hunting for fish and other prey.
While black bears are not as common in Delaware as they are in some other states, they do occasionally make appearances. The state’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control estimates that there are only a few dozen black bears in Delaware, mostly in the northern part of the state.
There could be more though and in other areas. These shy animals are not typically aggressive toward humans, but giving them their space if encountered is important.
After uncovering the wild animal hotspots in Delaware, you might want to expand your nature adventures to a neighboring state; check out our guide on exploring the fascinating native wildlife of Maryland for more exciting encounters.
Diamondback terrapins are a unique species of turtle that live in the brackish waters of Delaware’s bays and estuaries. These turtles have a distinctive diamond-shaped pattern on their shells that can range in color from gray to brown. These turtles sadly face threats from habitat loss, pollution, and overharvesting, and are considered a species of concern in the state.
Where to Find Delaware Wild Animals?
Here is where you should go if you want to see black bears, diamondback terrapins, bald eagles, white-tailed deer, red foxes, and other wild animals in Delaware:
1. Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Located on Delaware Bay, this wildlife refuge is great for birdwatching enthusiasts and those interested in other wildlife viewing. Visitors can see a variety of animals in their natural habitats including bald eagles, ospreys, white-tailed deer, and waterfowl.
2. Cape Henlopen State Park
Situated on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Henlopen State Park is home to a variety of interesting wild animals Delaware is known for. These include the ever-present red foxes, diamondback terrapins, and white-tailed deer. Visitors can explore the park’s trails, beaches, and dunes to get a glimpse of these animals in their natural habitat. What is more, it is a neat leisure outdoor location too.
3. Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Another great location for birdwatching and wildlife viewing, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located along Delaware Bay and features a variety of habitats like marshes, forests, and fields. Between these, a plethora of different species can be spotted. The visitors are sure to come across animals such as white-tailed deer, red foxes, and bald eagles.
4. Blackbird State Forest
Located in the northern part of the state, Blackbird State Forest is a popular destination for outdoor activities like hiking and camping. However, it is amazing for wildlife viewing too since it has large populations of mammals and birds. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and red foxes call this forest home, among many others of course.
5. Trap Pond State Park
Trap Pond State Park is home to one of the northernmost bald cypress swamps in the country. As such, it is a popular destination for camping, kayaking, fishing, bird watching, and wildlife viewing. Visitors can see so many different species here, including but not limited to beavers, white-tailed deer, and a variety of bird species of all shapes and sizes.
6. Delaware Seashore State Park
Lastly, another park located on the Atlantic coast, the Delaware Seashore State Park is a very popular destination for beachgoers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. No matter the reason you go there, you are bound to see different wild animals.
Some of them are diamondback terrapins, red foxes, and a plethora of bird species. The park also features a challenging 2-mile nature trail that provides opportunities for wildlife viewing and birdwatching.