Kansas is a state rich in wildlife, with a diverse range of fascinating creatures that call it home. From the majestic bald eagle to the elusive bobcat, here are some of the most interesting wild animals found in Kansas.
The American Bison
The iconic animal that once roamed the Great Plains in massive herds is preserved today due to historical overhunting. While they were nearly hunted to extinction in the late 1800s, they have since made a remarkable recovery and can be found in several parts of Kansas, particularly in the Flint Hills region.
These massive beasts can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and are truly a sight to behold. Everyone should see it due to how important they are, and because there is nothing quite like them.
The Bald Eagle
Another iconic symbol of the New World and the USA is this majestic creature found all over Kansas. Once on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and pesticide use, conservation efforts have helped bring their populations back up. These powerful birds of prey can be seen soaring over rivers and lakes using their sharp talons to snatch fish out of the water.
Surprisingly, this is a very shy and elusive predator. It can be found in several areas of Kansas, particularly in the eastern and southern parts of the state. The feline is a skilled hunter preying on small mammals like rabbits and rodents. They have distinctive ear tufts and short tails and are known for their stealthy hunting tactics. There is a good chance you never see them close, but you may hear them or see their paw prints.
The Pronghorn Antelope
This a unique and fascinating animal that can be found in the western parts of Kansas. These speedy creatures can run at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, making them one of the fastest land animals in North America. This is a great advantage when they need to save themselves from predators. They have distinctive white fur on their rump and are often seen in open grasslands.
The Red Fox
The clever and adaptable animal is found in several areas of Kansas. They are known for their beautiful, distinctive reddish-brown fur and bushy tails which they use for balance and warmth. These cunning creatures are skilled hunters that prey on small mammals like rabbits and rodents.
The Eastern Cottontail
A common and beloved animal found throughout Kansas, the adorable bunny species has soft brown fur and a distinctive white tail. They use the tail to communicate with other rabbits which are very cool and cute. They are a common sight in suburban and rural areas and are often preyed upon by larger predators like bobcats and foxes.
Top Destinations to See Kansas Wildlife
These are some truly spectacular and magnificent species. But where are the best places to go and check them out in the wild? When in Kansas, you want to find your way to these six areas if wild animal watching is something you are passionate about.
1. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Located in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, this preserve is one of the best places to see the legendary bison in the wild. The park has a herd of around 100 of them that roam freely across the prairies.
The visitors can often see them grazing or lounging in the sun. In addition to bison, the park is also home to several other species including coyotes, bobcats, and many different birds.
2. Quivira National Wildlife Refuge
If you are interested in birdwatching, this wildlife refuge is the place to be. It covers more than 22,000 acres and is home to more than 300 (!) species of birds. They include sandhill cranes, pelicans, and bald eagles. Visitors can explore the refuge’s hiking trails, observation decks, and driving tours to see these amazing birds up close and from different angles.
3. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area
Cheyenne Bottoms is the largest interior marsh in the United States and an important stopover for migratory birds. The area is home to well over 300 species as well as numerous mammals. Expect to find beavers, muskrats, and coyotes while touring the marsh. Visitors should go along the hiking trails and hit the observation decks to see these amazing creatures in action.
4. Prairie Spirit Trail State Park
Located in eastern Kansas, Prairie Spirit Trail State Park is a 51-mile-long rail trail that passes through several small towns and beautiful prairie landscapes. The trail is a great place to see a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and birds. It is possible to bike, hike, or horseback ride along the trails and experience the beauty of Kansas wildlife hot it is meant to be experienced.
5. Flint Hills Nature Trail
Another great rail trail in Kansas, this one runs for 117 miles through some of the most beautiful prairie landscapes in the state. The trail is home to several species of wildlife, mainly deer, foxes, and all sorts of different birds. Hike, walk bike, or horseback ride along this magnificent tour and enjoy the beauty of open, preserved nature in the best way possible.
As you can see, the state of Kansas is home to a fascinating array of wildlife. From massive bison to agile antelopes and clever foxes, there is a little bit of everything. All of these animals are an integral part of the state’s natural heritage and serve as a reminder of the incredible diversity of life found in the Great Plains.
Once there, make sure to respect them from a distance and marvel at them without disturbing their peace and quiet.