Seattle Wild Animals Presence: Exploring the Urban Wildlife

seattle wildlife

Seattle, known for its picturesque landscapes, progressive culture, and thriving tech industry, may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about encounters with wild animals. However, nestled between its bustling city streets and breathtaking natural beauty, Seattle is home to a surprising array of wildlife.

From majestic birds soaring through the sky to elusive mammals navigating urban corridors, the Emerald City offers unique opportunities for residents and visitors alike to appreciate and coexist with wild animals. In this article, we will delve into some of the fascinating wild creatures that call Seattle home.


Birds from Seattle
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Seattle’s diverse ecosystem provides an ideal habitat for various bird species. The city’s waterfronts, parks, and wooded areas attract an abundance of avian life. Species such as bald eagles, ospreys, herons, and seagulls can be commonly spotted along the coastlines, scavenging for food or gliding gracefully overhead.

In addition, the city’s numerous green spaces, including Discovery Park and Washington Park Arboretum, serve as havens for migratory birds, offering nesting sites and foraging opportunities.

Marine Life

Harbor seals
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Seattle’s coastal location along Puget Sound ensures encounters with marine life. Harbor seals, sea lions, and even occasional sightings of dolphins and porpoises occur in the city’s waters.

The iconic orca whales, both transient and resident pods, are known to pass through the Sound, providing awe-inspiring displays for lucky observers. Whale-watching tours are a popular activity, allowing people to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

Urban Mammals

img source: duke.edu

While Seattle is a densely populated city, it doesn’t deter certain mammals from navigating its urban landscape. Raccoons, squirrels, and opossums have adapted to city life, foraging for food in parks, and residential areas, and even rummaging through garbage bins.

Coyotes, though less common, have been spotted on occasion, mainly on the outskirts of the city. Seattle’s proximity to forested areas and greenbelts allows these creatures to coexist alongside humans.

Forest Dwellers

Source: indianaconnection.org

Seattle’s lush forests provide a habitat for a variety of mammals. Woodland creatures such as deer, foxes, and rabbits can be found in the city’s parks and wooded areas. The discovery of the elusive Pacific fisher, a member of the weasel family, in the Cascade Mountains near Seattle, was an exciting find, highlighting the region’s biodiversity. It is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of wildlife in the face of urban expansion.

Here is Where to See the Wildlife

Seattle and its surrounding areas offer several excellent locations for observing wildlife. Here are some of the best places to see wildlife in and around Seattle:

1. Discovery Park

Discovery Park is Seattle
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Located in the Magnolia neighborhood, Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest city park and a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts. The park’s diverse habitats, including forests, meadows, and a beach along Puget Sound, attract a wide range of bird species, including eagles, owls, and shorebirds. Additionally, you may spot deer, raccoons, and other mammals as you explore the park’s extensive trail network.

2. Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum
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Situated near the University of Washington, the Washington Park Arboretum is a 230-acre botanical garden and a sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. The park features various ecosystems, including wetlands, woodlands, and meadows, which provide a haven for resident and migratory bird species. Keep an eye out for herons, waterfowl, songbirds, and raptors as you stroll through the picturesque gardens and trails.

3. Seattle Aquarium

Seattle Aquarium
img source: seattleaquarium.org

For a closer look at marine life, visit the Seattle Aquarium located on the downtown waterfront. This popular attraction showcases a wide range of marine species found in the Pacific Northwest, including sea otters, harbor seals, and various fish species. Learn about the region’s marine ecosystem, watch feeding sessions, and even participate in interactive touch pools to experience the underwater world up close.

4. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park
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While not within Seattle city limits, Olympic National Park is worth a visit for nature enthusiasts. Located just outside of the city, the park offers diverse habitats, from rugged coastlines to lush rainforests and alpine meadows. Keep an eye out for Roosevelt elk, black bears, mountain goats, and a variety of bird species, including the iconic bald eagles. Hiking trails, such as Hurricane Ridge and Hoh Rainforest, provide opportunities for wildlife sightings amidst breathtaking scenery.

5. Woodland Park Zoo

img source: archdaily.com

The Woodland Park Zoo, located in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood, provides an immersive wildlife experience. The zoo showcases a wide range of animals, including various species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. From snow leopards to gorillas and tropical birds, the zoo offers an educational and interactive experience for visitors of all ages.

6. Puget Sound Whale Watching

Puget Sound Whale Watching
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To witness the awe-inspiring sight of orca whales and other marine mammals, consider embarking on a whale-watching tour. Several tour companies operate from Seattle, taking visitors on excursions into Puget Sound or the nearby San Juan Islands. These tours offer a chance to see orcas, humpback whales, porpoises, seals, and sea lions in their natural habitat.

Conservation and Coexistence

Seattle’s residents recognize the importance of preserving wildlife habitats and promoting coexistence between humans and animals.

Local organizations, such as the Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Audubon Society, actively work to protect and educate the public about native species and their habitats. Efforts exist to create wildlife corridors and green spaces within the city to allow for the free movement of animals.


Seattle is renowned for its urban vibrancy and progressive mindset. However, the presence of wild animals adds an additional layer of natural wonder to the city’s landscape. From soaring birds to marine life and woodland creatures, the Emerald City has it all. Its diverse ecosystem provides a home for a variety of fascinating species.

By fostering a sense of appreciation and understanding, Seattle continues to strive towards coexistence with its wild inhabitants, ensuring a harmonious balance between nature and urban life.

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