Wildlife of Columbus, Ohio: Meet Interesting Wild Animals

ohio wildlife

Columbus, Ohio, often recognized as a bustling urban center and the state capital is also home to a remarkable array of wildlife. While the cityscape dominates the skyline, Columbus boasts numerous natural areas and parks where both residents and visitors can observe and appreciate a diverse range of animal species. From picturesque waterways to sprawling green spaces, this article delves into the captivating world of wildlife in Columbus and highlights some of the city’s most cherished natural habitats.

Interesting Wildlife of Columbus

Columbus and its surrounding areas are home to a fascinating array of wildlife. While there are numerous interesting species to explore, here are some of the most captivating wild animals that inhabit or frequent the region:

1. American Bald Eagle

american bald eagle
Source: ohiodnr.gov

As a symbol of strength and freedom, the American bald eagle can be spotted in and around Columbus. These majestic birds are known for their striking appearance and impressive wingspan. Observing them soar through the sky or perch near bodies of water, such as the Scioto River, is a truly awe-inspiring sight.

2. White-Tailed Deer

white tailed deer
Source: cleveland.com

Commonly found throughout Ohio, white-tailed deer are a familiar sight in Columbus’s parks and natural areas. These graceful creatures, with their white undersides and signature antlers, often graze in meadows and woodlands, adding a touch of natural beauty to the city’s landscapes.

3. Eastern Box Turtle

Annette Boose, photographer. Box turtle at Battelle Darby Creek. May 10, 2013.
Annette Boose, photographer. Box turtle at Battelle Darby Creek. May 10, 2013.

The eastern box turtle is a captivating reptile that inhabits the forests and grasslands surrounding Columbus. Recognizable by its unique domed shell and vibrant markings, this slow-moving creature can occasionally be spotted sunning itself on logs or strolling through the underbrush.

4. Great Blue Heron

great blue heron
Source: en.wikipedia.org

With its tall stature and elegant flight, the great blue heron is a magnificent wading bird that can be found near wetlands and bodies of water in Columbus. These patient hunters can be observed standing still for long periods, waiting for fish or other small prey to come within striking distance.

5. Coyote

coyote ohio
Source: farmanddairy.com

While primarily nocturnal and elusive, coyotes have become increasingly adaptable to urban environments, including Columbus. These intelligent and adaptable predators have established territories in wooded areas and green spaces, providing a glimpse of the wild within the city limits.

6. Red-Tailed Hawk

red tailed hawk
Source: ohiodnr.gov

The red-tailed hawk is a bird of prey that can often be spotted soaring high above Columbus. With its keen eyesight and impressive hunting skills, it is a common sight to see these raptors perched on trees or gliding gracefully through the air.

7. Fox

fox ohio
Source: ohiodnr.gov

Foxes, particularly the red fox, live both in and around Columbus. These agile and cunning mammals have beautiful red coats and bushy tails. Spotting a fox darting through a field or observing its playful antics is a delight for nature enthusiasts. They are truly fascinating. 

8. Woodpeckers

Source: reconnectwithnature.org

Columbus is home to a variety of woodpecker species, including the vibrant red-headed woodpecker and the striking pileated woodpecker. Their distinct calls and drumming sounds are always present. They resonate through the forests as they search for insects or carve out nesting holes in trees.

In addition to its rich wildlife, the park’s serene waterways are reminiscent of the tranquil cascades found throughout Ohio, offering a glimpse into the state’s varied aquatic landscapes.

Explore the fascinating wildlife of Denver, Colorado, in our companion article


Where to See Them? 

Here is where to go if you want to meet some of the wildlife that calls Columbus home: 

1. Scioto Audubon Metro Park



“Located just south of downtown Columbus, the Scioto Audubon Metro Park is a haven for bird enthusiasts. This sprawling 120-acre park offers a variety of habitats, including wetlands, prairies, and woodlands, attracting more than 100 bird species throughout the year. Visitors can witness stunning migratory patterns, spot colorful warblers, observe majestic birds of prey, and even catch glimpses of the elusive bald eagle. In addition to its rich avian life, the Scioto Audubon Metro Park also serves as a delightful retreat for canine companions, offering dedicated spaces where dogs can frolic freely and socialize. The park also features educational programs and birdwatching events for nature enthusiasts of all ages.”

2. Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Stretching across 7,000 acres, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is one of the largest and most ecologically diverse parks in the Columbus area. This expansive park has beautiful waterways, towering forests, and sprawling prairies. It provides a rich habitat for various wildlife species. It is particularly popular for its population of American bison, reintroduced to the park in recent years. Visitors can also encounter white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, beavers, and numerous species of birds while exploring the park’s extensive trail network.

3. Highbanks Metro Park

highbanks metro park
Eric Robinson, photographer. [email protected]. View of the arch bridge along Dripping Rock Trail at Highbanks Metro Park. October 23, 2019.

Nestled along the banks of the Olentangy River, Highbanks Metro Park offers visitors a chance to witness the region’s unique geological formations and diverse wildlife. The park’s towering shale cliffs provide nesting sites for peregrine falcons, while the surrounding forests teem with a variety of songbirds, woodpeckers, and raptors. Hikers and nature enthusiasts can enjoy picturesque views of the river and keep an eye out for deer, foxes, and the occasional box turtle as they explore the park’s trails.

4. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Renowned worldwide, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is not only a beloved attraction but also a vital institution for wildlife conservation. The zoo’s expansive grounds house a vast array of animals, including lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes, to name just a few. In addition to providing exceptional care for its residents, the zoo actively participates in conservation initiatives and educational programs to raise awareness about wildlife preservation and environmental stewardship.


While Columbus may not be very famous for its urban charm, the city also offers an abundance of opportunities to connect with nature and witness the wonders of wildlife. From the tranquil trails of metro parks to the educational exhibits at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, residents and visitors alike can immerse themselves in the diverse habitats and captivating animal species that call Columbus home. Whether you are a bird enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a moment of serenity, the wildlife in Columbus is sure to inspire and leave a lasting impression.

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