Ohio, a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States, has a rich diversity of wildlife. From large mammals to colorful birds, Ohio is home to a variety of wild animals that inhabit its forests, fields, and waterways.
One of the most iconic animals in Ohio is the white-tailed deer. These graceful animals are abundant throughout the state and are popular game animals for hunters. White-tailed deer are easily recognized by their long legs, reddish-brown coat, and distinctive white tail. They are most active during the early morning and late evening hours, often grazing on vegetation or browsing trees and shrubs.
Another mammal commonly found in Ohio is the Eastern gray squirrel. These small, bushy-tailed rodents are abundant in urban, suburban, and rural areas and are known for their acrobatic abilities as they leap from tree to tree. Gray squirrels can often be seen burying nuts and acorns in the fall to provide food for the winter months.
Black bears are also found in Ohio, particularly in the southern part of the state. These large mammals can weigh up to 500 pounds and are known for their keen sense of smell and ability to climb trees. While black bear sightings are rare, Ohio residents should take precautions to avoid attracting bears to their homes, such as securing trash cans and bird feeders.
Coyotes are another common predator in Ohio. These adaptable animals are found in both rural and urban areas and are known for their distinctive howl. Coyotes primarily hunt small mammals and birds, but they will also scavenge for food when necessary.
Ohio is also home to a variety of bird species, including the American goldfinch, Eastern bluebird, and Northern cardinal. In Ohio, the American bald eagle lives mostly near Lake Erie. These majestic birds were once endangered but have made a remarkable recovery thanks to conservation efforts.
In Ohio’s waterways, you can find fish such as largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, and other big water monsters. The Ohio River and its tributaries are home to a variety of freshwater mussels, including the endangered Northern Riffleshell and club shell mussels.
Best Locations to See Them in Person
Ohio offers many great opportunities to observe its diverse wildlife. Here are some of the best places to see wild animals in Ohio:
1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Between Akron and Cleveland, this park is home to over 200 species of birds, as well as white-tailed deer, coyotes, beavers, and river otters.
2. Hocking Hills State Park
Known for its stunning rock formations and waterfalls, this park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, coyotes, and white-tailed deer.
3. Lake Erie Islands
These islands offer opportunities to observe a variety of bird species, including the American bald eagle, as well as other wildlife such as white-tailed deer and red foxes.
4. Shawnee State Forest
Located in southern Ohio, this forest is home to black bears, white-tailed deer, coyotes, and a variety of bird species, including the endangered cerulean warbler.
5. Mohican State Park
This park in north-central Ohio is home to a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, beavers, river otters, and over 200 species of birds.
6. Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area
Located in northeastern Ohio, this wetland area is home to a variety of waterfowl species, including ducks, geese, and swans.
7. Maumee Bay State Park
This park along the shores of Lake Erie offers opportunities to observe a variety of bird species, including migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.
8. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
The 85-mile trail follows the historic Ohio & Erie Canal and offers opportunities to observe a variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, river otters, beavers, and over 100 species of birds. The trail passes through several parks and natural areas. This includes Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a great place to see wildlife while enjoying a scenic hike or bike ride.
Overall, Ohio’s diverse landscape provides a habitat for a wide range of wild animals. Whether you’re hiking in the state’s forests, fishing in its lakes and rivers, or simply exploring its parks and natural areas, you’re sure to encounter some of the state’s unique wildlife.