Wild Animals that Call Detroit Home: Wildlife of Michigan’s Largest City

Coyote in Detroit

Detroit, often associated with its industrial past, is a city that has experienced a remarkable transformation in recent years. Amidst the concrete and bustling streets, an unexpected presence has emerged – wild animals.

While Detroit may not be the first place that comes to mind when considering wildlife, the city, and its surrounding areas are home to a surprising variety of creatures.

This article will explore the fascinating world of wild animals in Detroit, highlighting their resilience and adaptability in an urban landscape.

1. The Return of the Coyotes

Coyote Detroit
Source: news.wttw.com

One of the most notable wild animals to make a comeback in Detroit is the coyote. Once primarily found in rural areas, these intelligent and adaptable creatures have adapted to urban environments, including Detroit.

Coyotes are known for their stealth and ability to coexist with humans. While sightings of coyotes may initially surprise residents, these animals play a vital role in the ecosystem by helping control rodent populations.

2. Raptors and the Urban Skyline

Source: nps.gov

Detroit’s skyline, with its towering buildings and skyscrapers, has become an unexpected haven for raptors. Peregrine falcons, known for their incredible speed and aerial hunting skills, have established nesting sites on some of the city’s tallest structures.

These birds of prey have successfully adapted to the urban environment, using the urban canyon effect to their advantage as they hunt pigeons and other small birds.

3. Deer and Other Ungulates

Deer in Detroit
Source: outdoorlife.com

Beyond the city limits, Detroit is surrounded by pockets of green spaces and parks, providing habitat for deer and other ungulates.

These animals, including white-tailed deer, have managed to find refuge in wooded areas and greenspaces within the city’s boundaries. Their presence serves as a reminder of the resilience of nature, even in the midst of urbanization.

4. Waterways and Aquatic Life

Source: startribune.com

Detroit is strategically located along the Detroit River and is surrounded by numerous lakes and waterways. These bodies of water offer a habitat for a diverse range of aquatic life.

From fish such as walleye, bass, and catfish to waterfowl like ducks and geese, these creatures thrive in and around the city’s aquatic ecosystems, coexisting with human activities.

5. Urban Gardening and Bees


As Detroit’s urban farming movement gains momentum, so does the presence of pollinators like bees. Bees play a crucial role in urban agriculture, aiding in the pollination of plants and contributing to the sustainability of local food production.

Urban gardens and rooftop apiaries have become increasingly common, allowing both bees and humans to benefit from this symbiotic relationship.

Our exploration of Detroit’s wildlife uncovers the city’s vibrant ecological side. Yet, to gain a fuller picture of the complexities of urban Michigan, refer to this comprehensive study

Best Places to See the Wildlife

Detroit and its surrounding areas offer several locations where one can observe and appreciate wild animals. Here are some of the best places to see wildlife in Detroit:

1. Belle Isle Park

Located on an island in the Detroit River, Belle Isle Park is a vast green space that provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife.

Visitors can spot birds, including herons, ducks, and songbirds, as well as small mammals like squirrels and raccoons. The park’s wetlands and wooded areas are especially rich in biodiversity.

2. Detroit Riverfront

detroit Riverwalk
Source: cbsnews.com

The Detroit Riverfront, with its parks and trails, offers opportunities to observe waterfowl and other aquatic creatures.

During the migratory season, visitors may witness a plethora of bird species passing through the area. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, ospreys, and various types of gulls.

3. Rouge Park

Rouge park
Source: rougepark.org

As one of the largest urban parks in the United States, Rouge Park encompasses diverse habitats, including wetlands, woodlands, and open fields.

Wildlife enthusiasts can spot white-tailed deer, foxes, rabbits, and a variety of bird species. The park also features the Rouge River, where visitors may encounter fish, turtles, and waterfowl.

4. Detroit Zoo

While not a natural wildlife habitat, the Detroit Zoo is home to numerous animal species, both native and exotic. Visitors can observe a range of animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, in habitats designed to mimic their natural environments.

The zoo also offers educational programs and events to learn more about wildlife conservation.

5. Hines Park

Hines Park Detroit
Source: secondwavemedia.com

Located in the western suburbs of Detroit, Hines Park provides a scenic environment for wildlife observation.

The park encompasses wooded areas, open meadows, and the Rouge River, attracting a diverse array of species. Keep an eye out for wild turkeys, squirrels, beavers, and various bird species along the trails.

6. Lake St. Clair Metropark

Lake ST Clair
Source: metroparks.com

Situated just outside Detroit, Lake St. Clair Metropark offers excellent opportunities for observing waterfowl, shorebirds, and other water-loving creatures.

The park features a mile-long boardwalk, nature trails, and expansive views of Lake St. Clair. Visitors can spot herons, egrets, gulls, and even the occasional bald eagle.


1. Are there dangerous wild animals in Detroit?

While Detroit is home to various wildlife species, it is generally safe for residents and visitors. Most wild animals in the area, such as coyotes, deer, and birds of prey, are more afraid of humans and tend to avoid direct contact.

However, it’s always important to exercise caution and avoid approaching or feeding any wild animal to ensure both your safety and the well-being of the animals.

2. What should I do if I encounter a coyote or other wildlife in my neighborhood?

If you come across a coyote or any other wild animal in your neighborhood, it’s best to keep your distance and not approach them. Maintain a calm demeanor and try to make loud noises or wave your arms to scare them away.

It’s crucial to remember that wildlife generally wants to avoid human interactions, but if you have concerns about persistent or aggressive behavior, you can contact local animal control or wildlife authorities for assistance.

3. Can I feed wild animals in Detroit?

Feeding wild animals can disrupt their natural behavior, cause dependency on human-provided food, and create potential conflicts. It is strongly discouraged to feed wild animals in Detroit or anywhere else.

Human food may not be nutritionally appropriate for them and can lead to health problems. Additionally, feeding can attract animals to residential areas, increasing the chances of conflicts with pets or damage to property.


While Detroit may be renowned for its industrial heritage, the presence of wild animals in the city is a testament to nature’s resilience and adaptability.

From the return of coyotes and the establishment of peregrine falcon nests atop skyscrapers to the coexistence of deer and aquatic life, Detroit’s urban landscape provides a diverse range of habitats for wildlife.

The intertwining of nature and city life is a reminder of the importance of maintaining green spaces and preserving biodiversity within urban environments.

As Detroit continues to evolve, the harmonious coexistence of humans and wild animals serves as a beacon of hope for other cities around the world.

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