Rhode Island may be small in size, but it still boasts a diverse array of wildlife. From the coastline to the forests, there are many wild animals that call this state home. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most interesting and unique animals that can be found in Rhode Island.
Coyotes are a relatively recent addition to the Rhode Island wildlife scene. These canines are native to the western United States, but they have been expanding their range eastward over the past century. Today, coyotes can be found in all 50 states, including Rhode Island.
Coyotes are adaptable and opportunistic animals, which means they can survive in a variety of habitats and eat a variety of foods. In Rhode Island, coyotes are most commonly found in suburban and rural areas, where they prey on small mammals like rabbits and squirrels, as well as on pets and livestock.
Black bears were once extirpated from Rhode Island due to overhunting and habitat destruction. However, in recent years, these large mammals have been making a comeback in the state. Today, black bears can be found in the forests of western Rhode Island, particularly in the area around the Arcadia Management Area.
Black bears are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. In Rhode Island, their diet consists mainly of nuts, berries, and insects, but they will also prey on small mammals and scavenged carrion.
White-tailed deer are ubiquitous in Rhode Island and can be found in all parts of the state. These graceful animals are most commonly seen in suburban and rural areas, where they feed on grasses, leaves, and twigs.
While white-tailed deer are beloved by many Rhode Islanders, they can also cause problems. They are notorious for browsing garden plants and causing car accidents, especially during their fall mating season.
Red foxes are another common sight in Rhode Island. These small carnivores live in a variety of habitats, including forests, fields, and suburban areas. In Rhode Island, they prey on small mammals like mice and rabbits, as well as on insects and berries.
Red foxes are known for their striking red fur and bushy tails. They are also highly adaptable and can thrive in both urban and rural environments.
Ospreys are large birds of prey that are commonly seen along the Rhode Island coastline. These birds are specialized for catching fish, which they do by hovering over the water and then diving feet-first to snatch their prey.
Ospreys were once endangered due to pesticide use, but they have made a remarkable recovery in recent years. Today, they nest on platforms and poles throughout the state.
Best Places in Rhode Island to See Wild Animals
Rhode Island offers many opportunities for viewing wildlife in its natural habitats. You have an opportunity to experience the wonders of the local fauna, providing a unique chance to observe the state’s wildlife while camping in its natural settings.
Here are some of the best places to see wild animals in Rhode Island:
1. Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge
Located in Middletown, Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to spot a variety of coastal birds and marine life. Visitors can walk along the refuge’s trails and boardwalks, which provide stunning views of the ocean and surrounding habitats.
2. Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge
This 787-acre refuge in South Kingstown is home to a variety of migratory birds, as well as mammals like white-tailed deer, red foxes, and coyotes. Visitors can hike along the refuge’s trails and boardwalks, which wind through forests, fields, and wetlands.
3. Roger Williams Park Zoo
While not a natural habitat, Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence offers visitors a chance to see a variety of exotic and native animals up close. The zoo is home to over 100 species, including red pandas, snow leopards, and American alligators.
4. Arcadia Management Area
Located in Exeter, the Arcadia Management Area is a sprawling forested area that provides habitat for a variety of wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and coyotes. Visitors can hike along the park’s trails and explore its ponds and streams.
5. Block Island
A short ferry ride from the mainland, Block Island is a great place to see marine life like whales, seals, and seabirds. Visitors can take a whale-watching tour or explore the island’s many beaches and rocky shorelines.
6. Norman Bird Sanctuary
Located in Middletown, the Norman Bird Sanctuary encompasses over 325 acres of forest, fields, and wetlands. The sanctuary is home to over 300 species of birds, as well as mammals like white-tailed deer, red foxes, and coyotes. Visitors can hike along the sanctuary’s trails and enjoy views of Narragansett Bay.
7. Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge
In Charlestown, the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge is an 858-acre area that provides habitat for a variety of coastal birds and mammals. Visitors can hike along the refuge’s trails and explore its ponds and wetlands, or take a canoe or kayak trip along the Pawcatuck River. The refuge is also home to a visitor center with exhibits and educational programs.
Rhode Island may be small, but it is home to a rich and diverse array of wildlife. From coyotes to ospreys, the animals of Rhode Island are fascinating and important components of the state’s ecosystem. By learning about and appreciating these creatures, we can gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the natural world around us.
Remember to always observe wildlife from a safe distance and never disturb or harm wild animals. With these precautions in mind, Rhode Island offers many opportunities to witness the beauty and diversity of its wild animals.