North American Animals: Breathtaking Wildlife to Experience

North American Animals

Did you know there are 23 countries in North America? And they’re packed with animals on land and in the air and sea. 

You could take a trip to Haiti to see hutia, visit Canada to check out the stoat, or you could just keep reading to learn about both.  

This continent is home to everything from beavers to bison and North American manatee to mountain bluebirds. If you’re an animal lover, North America can put on a dazzling show.

We can’t forget Jamaica with its birds, and Mexico has armadillos. There’s a smorgasbord of animals to delight in when you talk about North American species.

So let’s jump into the deep end, and by the time we’re done, you’ll be an expert on what’s creeping, crawling, flying, and swimming in this unique area on Earth.

Overview of North American Animals

native american animals list

To get a clear picture of the animals of this continent, we need to talk about their habitats and behaviors. And did you know mountain lions/cougars are the same animals, and so are water moccasins/cottonmouth snakes?

Creatures give us an unending education; if we’re smart, we can learn about ourselves from watching them. 

If you haven’t seen a warteye stargazer (a venomous fish) in the waters of the Caribbean, you can at least giggle at their name. 

Musk oxen in Greenland look like a cross between a miniature horse and a bison. Or so I see it, but you can form your own opinion. There are so many species and so little time. Let’s get going to meet as many as we can.

Official National Animals of North America

You’ve probably heard of the USA’s national bird and mammal, the Bald Eagle and the bison. But did you know many countries on the continent have their own national animal? Here’s a breakdown of these famous critters and why they’re so important: 

Anguilla – (Zenaida Dove)

native north american animals

Locally referred to as “turtle dove.” It’s a member of the bird family that includes pigeons and breeds throughout the Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula.  

Antigua and Barbuda – (Fallow Deer, Frigate, Hawksbill Turtle)

north america wildlife

The Fallow deer came to the islands in the early 1700s when they were brought there as a result of European colonialism. The frigate is a distant relative of the pelican.

The island of Barbuda has the largest colony of frigates in the world, with 100,000 of them. And finally, the Hawksbill turtle…This Critically Endangered species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species was looked at by early Indians as a “gift from the gods.” They are cherished, however, in Antigua. 

Canada – (North American Beaver, Canadian Horse)

north american animals

The beaver was chosen to show Canada’s sovereignty, including a story about King Henry IV of France. The Canadian horse is known for its strength, endurance, temperament, resilience, and intelligence.

Cuba – (Cuban Rogon)

most famous animals

This bird was chosen because its colors are similar to the ones that fly on the Cuban flag. They have Heterodactic digits/toes, which means digits 3 and 4 point forward and digits 1 and 2 point back. Mind officially blown!  

Jamaica – (Red-Billed Streamertail)

american wild life

This gorgeous specimen, also known as the doctor bird, is endemic to the island. The hummingbird flashes iridescent colors and is the pride of Jamaicans.

Mexico – (Xoloitzcuintli Dog)

wildlife usa

These dogs were considered to be sacred by the Aztecs and the Mayans. There are 2,000-year-old tombs in western Mexico with vessels inside shaped like dogs.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines – (St. Vincent Parrot)

wildlife in usa

Imagine a rainbow. Now imagine one that flies, and you’ll have this parrot. The bird is the only type of parrot on the islands.

North American Animals List

North American Animals List

Here is a detailed overview of animals living in North America.


American Black Bear

usa wildlife

From Canada to Northern Mexico, black bears are North America’s most common and well-known bear. They’re opportunistic eaters and eat everything from berries and insects to fish and carrion to McDonald’s cheeseburgers if they can steal one. 

Bighorn Sheep

animals of america

Males (rams) and females (ewes) both have horns, but the males have a larger set. The range of desert Bighorn sheep is from the Rocky Mountains in Canada to the deserts of the American Southwest.

Striped Skunk

animals in america

This stout little guy does so much more than stink. Skunks are non-aggressive and will let you know when they stomp their front feet if you’re getting too close. They’re located in southern Canada, all 50 states of the U.S., and northern Mexico.

Island Fox

wild animals in usa

Off the coast of Southern California, the island fox lives on some of the Channel Islands, which is the only place in the world they’re found. Since the removal of golden eagles and other predators, the fox has no natural enemies.


wild animals usa

If some of you are scratching your heads, I was right there with ya’. Basically, if you’ve seen a weasel, you’ve seen a stoat, but they are two different animals. Find them throughout North America; you could always call them by their other name – ermine.


usa animals

And then Santa rushed down the chimney…oh. Wrong article. Reindeer make us think of Christmas, but did you know they’re also called caribou in North America? They’re the same animal. You’re welcome.

Deer Mouse

common animals

Staying within the deer family, but not really, you can find these little ones from Alaska and northern Canada southward to western Panama. Some people call deer mice pests or invasive species. I call them adorable. 

Gray Bat

wildlife animals

Bats are the only flying mammal, and even though they look like clumsy fliers, research shows they can fly up to 100 (one hundred) mph. The largest mammal bat colony on Earth is in Mexico, living in Texas’s Bracken Cave. It’s home to 15 million bats.

North American River Otter

animals america

These playful cuties have dens with openings underwater to protect them from predators like alligators and raptors. They live in much of Canada and parts of the U.S.


american wildlife

Let me be the first to tell you, probably, that a group of elk is called a gang. They’re found in the US, Canada, and parts of Mexico (but that’s a convoluted story).

Virginia Opossum

animal species native to north america

Contrary to its name, these often misunderstood animals can be found from Costa Rica to Mexico, the United States, east of the Rocky Mountains, and north into Ontario, Canada. And yes, they play dead. (The young ones, mostly.)

Eastern Cottontail

america wild life

Baby Eastern cottontails, called kits, fend for themselves starting at around 3 weeks old. They have 100 million scent receptors to sniff out carrots in your garden, and they’re found in Canada and the U.S. 

Northern Fur Seal

north america animals

Their fur coats have 300,000 hairs per square inch and a dive depth of around 600 feet. In 2015, the IUCN Red List listed them as being Vulnerable, with their numbers decreasing. Let’s hope they’ve increased since then.

North Pacific Right Whale

us animals

Listed on the Red List as Endangered, there are few of these magnificent whales in the world today, and they have only recently been seen in the Gulf of Alaska. They were named by the very commercial whalers who almost killed them off, saying they were the “right whale” to hunt.

Collared Peccary

western animals

These animals are also called javelinas. They have a pig-like snout and hooved feet but aren’t pigs: the same family, different parents.


wilderness animals

These cute rodents are found exclusively in the Caribbean – Cuba, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

Some Cubans hunt them for eating. Desmarest’s hutias have been given the nickname “banana rat” by those stationed at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. There are over 20 species of hutia, and half of them are extinct.


Northern Leopard Frog

usa animal

These are the frogs some of us were forced, let’s be honest, to dissect in science class. And then this happened…Their numbers started declining, particularly in Canada and the western U.S., in the 1970s.  

Red-Backed Salamander

animals in north america

This red-striped amphibian has no lungs, so it makes sure damp and moist areas surround it. It lives from Minnesota to North Carolina and northeastern Tennessee in the U.S., from western Ontario to southern Quebec, and throughout Nova Scotia in Canada. 


what wild animals

This salamander is also called a “water dog.” Rumor had it the sound they make sounds similar to a bark. (I think they drank the wrong Kool-Aid.) Their range runs from southern Canada through the midwestern, eastern, and southern United States. They guard their eggs until they hatch—helicopter mom.

Pacific Tree Frog

animals in the wilderness

The Pacific tree frog has a pointy snout, a narrow waist, and long legs. (Move over Heidi Klum.) It’s the most common frog in Washington state and ranges from British Columbia, Canada, to Baja California, Mexico, Montana, and Nevada in the U.S.

Eastern Newt

animals native to

Eastern newts are the second most widely distributed salamander species in the U.S., with a range that spans the entire eastern coast into Canada and as far west as Texas and Minnesota.

Couch’s Spadefoot Toad

animals of north america

They live in the U.S., California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Mexico. They have a “spade” on the inside of the hind feet, which they use to burrow into sandy soil during the day. They also have a toxin on their skin that can affect humans and pets, causing minor symptoms. 

Sierra Juarez Hidden Salamander

popular animals

These long, slender cutie-patooties are endemic to the Caribbean slopes of the Sierra de Juarez and Sierra Mazateca, Oaxaca, Mexico. It is rare and threatened by habitat loss caused by logging, expanding agriculture, and human settlements.

Hell Bender

north american wildlife

This unusually large salamander is completely harmless. Go figure with a name like that. It lives in streams and rivers in 15 U.S. states. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “Hellbenders have lungs, but they breathe through the pores of their skin.”

Cuban Curly Tail Lizard

wilderness animal

Its tail curls over its back in an interesting spiral like a Chow Chow (dog). They’re endemic to the Bahama Islands, Cayman Islands, and Cuba.  

Pacific Giant Salamander

wilderness animals list

This big guy is the largest salamander in the U.S. Pacific Northwest and one of the largest terrestrial salamanders in the world. They can grow to be 13 inches long.



what are some animals

All songbirds are perching birds, and their suborder includes more than 4,000 species. So it’s not the fact that if a bird can sing, it’s a songbird. They’re throughout North America, so when you’re outside, give it a good listen.  

Mallard Ducks

animals that live in north america

Migrating flocks of mallards have been clocked at 55 mph. And their familiar quack is coming from the females. The males are quieter and make a rasping sound. You can figure out the joke here.

Northern Cardinal

animals in the west

The easiest thing to say about this striking bird (the “red bird”) is that it’s everywhere – Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, Guatemala, and Belize. People love to say someone’s watching over you if you see the red male of the species.

Black-Capped Chickadee

animals only found in north america

These birds don’t migrate. They’re found from New England to the West Coast down to New Mexico…also in a few states in the East. People say their chirp sounds like “Chick-a-dee!” 

Anna’s Hummingbird

north american animals list

This sweet one generally stays in one place – doesn’t migrate. And just like most hummingbirds, they’re quite territorial. Their range is from the West Coast of the U.S. to southern Canada.

Mourning Dove

united states animals

This dove gets around. The “turtle dove” lives in the US, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, the Greater Antilles, and six island states and has even been spotted in Iceland. It’s named “mourning” since its vocalizations sound melancholy.

American Avocet

west animals

The avocet’s beak is glorious. (But is anyone else thinking “Daffy Duck?”) These pretty birds live in coastal California, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Guatemala, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Cuba.

Barn Owl

animals unique to north america

So he doesn’t have a fancy name. He has a fancy face. The common barn owl lives practically everywhere except in polar and desert regions. It’s the most widely distributed owl species in the world.

Acorn Woodpecker

great animals

In the U.S., it’s found in Washington, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and in Mexico. This beautiful bird with a funny face loves its acorns.

Whooping Crane

unique animals found in north america

The tallest bird in North America, it breeds in Canada and spends winters in Texas at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. They clock more than 2,400 miles per year when migrating.


tell me an animal associated with america

This bird hangs its hat (feathers?) in the U.S. and Mexico. They’re Chatty Cathies and have been called the Chattering Plover.

Yellow-Rumped Warbler

united states wildlife

Its mama certainly didn’t name him. This bird has yellow splotches on its sides and sometimes beneath its beak under the neck. You can find the warbler in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Mountain Bluebird

usa wild animals

Have you ever seen an ombre bird? These stunners live in the western US, Canada, and Mexico.


north america animals list

Although they prefer the weather of the Arctic and subarctic, these birds can also be found in Baja California, Mexico. Similar in looks to a small penguin, these white bellies eat solely from the ocean.

American Dipper

american traditional animals

They may not win any beauty contest, but they can walk underwater. They have an incredibly thick coat of feathers, including feathered eyelids. It particularly loves rushing whitewater streams. 


Sea Stars

important animals

They live in salt water and are found in every ocean in the world – cold and warm. Most of us know them as “starfish.” The sun sea stars have 20 arms each.


unique north american animals

Some members of this species have grown up to 14 inches long. Often called night crawlers, they can dig up to 6 ½ feet down.


what animals live in north america

These bathroom wonders live in every ocean, warm or cold. There are over two dozen sponge species living off Canada’s Atlantic coast.


animals in the

Jellyfish are plankton and drift through every ocean in the world. They don’t have backbones, hearts, blood, brains, or gills. They do have tiny suction cups, though.

Atlantic Deep-Sea Lobster

coolest wild animals

Located in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, they’re also called the American lobster. They were introduced into Canadian waters, but there’s no proof of the existence of a population there.

Squat Lobster

north american forest animals

This crustacean is native to the Gulf of Mexico and has five sets of legs. It often scavenges dead animals. 


animals in wild

Honeybees live throughout North America. “It’s estimated the honey bees contribute between 4 to 5 billion dollars per year to Canada’s economy.” – Government of Canada


animals west

Ladybugs were brought to North America in the mid-1900s for aphid (bug) control. In Mexico, they’re known as Catarina.


iconic animals

The Mexican apple snail is found in southern Mexico. Snails are found throughout North America. The Queen conch is one of the most recognizable sea snails of the Caribbean Sea. 


us animal

Arctic surf clams are found in Canadian waters, and the oldest one ever found was 92 years old. (Guess he used a cane.) Steamer clams in America, also known as soft-shell Atlantic clams, are called “longnecks.” 


Bog Turtle

top animals

Only found in the U.S., the species is currently listed as Critically Endangered on the Red List. They regulate a water flow by soaking it up and releasing it into streams. They’re North America’s smallest turtle.

Morelet’s Crocodile

wild life animals

Morelet’s crocodiles live in freshwater in Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. They can grow over 9 feet long and are opportunistic eaters eating everything from birds to goats. 

Texas/Desert Horned Lizard

native american animals list

Living in the southeastern United States and Mexico, its four “horns” don’t contain bone but do protect him from predators. They grow to be about 5 inches long.

Western Banded Gecko

It’s found in most southwestern states of the U.S. and Hawaii, and Mexico. They gulp down mosquitos and other insects.

animals native to north america

Rhinoceros Iguana

wild animal life

These iguanas have a horn-like form on their heads. They’re native to the Caribbean islands of Hispaniola, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

Bogert’s Arboreal Alligator Lizard

united states animal

Endemic to Mexico, this species enjoys high humidity. Fortunately, Mexican law protects it, as so many of our animals are becoming endangered.

Big Bend Slider

native north american animals

This turtle is native to the U.S. in New Mexico and Texas and to northern Chihuahua in Mexico. The youngsters are carnivorous and, as they age, become more herbivorous.

Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle

north america wildlife

In 1990, this turtle was named the Alabama state reptile in the U.S. It is on the Red List as being endangered.

Common Chuckwalla

north american animals

Living in the southwestern U.S., this lizard seeks out crevices to wedge itself in for protection. They can be up to 20 inches long except for those in the islands of the Gulf of California, where they can get much larger.


Monarch Butterfly

animals native to america

From the northern United States to Canada, Mexico, and Hawaii, the Monarch is one of the most beautiful insects on the planet. The adults only live to be 4-5 weeks old.

Assassin Bug

american wild life

Originally in central Europe, this bug was accidentally introduced to the U.S. through Canada. They use sticky resins from plants to capture other insects, especially bees.

Great Black Wasps

wildlife usa

Their legs have fine thorns on them (lovely), and they live throughout North America. It’s the females that do the stinging. No comment.

Red Harvester Ant

wildlife in usa

I have watched the hard work of ants for many years. They live in the southwestern U.S. They’re not pretty little fellas and tend to live in rural areas. 

Golden Northern Bumblebee

usa wildlife

This is the fuzzy one (hairy) with a black head and yellow thorax and abdomen. There are worker and drone bees and a queen; their hives are built in the ground. 

Western Yellow Jacket

animals of america

Especially aggressive insects, several people die yearly from their stings due to experiencing anaphylactic shock. They can repeatedly inflict their sting. Yikes.

Green June Beetles

animals in america

Located in the eastern U.S. and Canada – I saw hundreds together on our porch each spring – they’re often called June bugs.

Zayante Band-Winged Grasshopper

wild animals in usa

It’s found throughout California and the U.S. and hail from South America. The crackling sound from their wings is highly recognizable.

Hine’s Emerald

wild animals usa

This dragonfly is found in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Ontario, Canada; they prey on gnats and other flies. The female will lay around 500 eggs during her lifetime.


usa animals

It lives in Mexico, Bermuda, St. Augustine, Canada, and the U.S. They’re fast, agile, and furry, known as grass skippers.



common animals

Found in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, these amazing swimmers are born in streams and rivers, travel to the sea, and then back to freshwater to reproduce. They change colors throughout their lifetime.


wildlife animals

Endemic to all continents in the Northern Hemisphere, except for the Brown trout, these fish prove all of us are interconnected – The overfishing of sand eels in the North Sea will probably affect sea trout returning to their rivers.

Largemouth/Smallmouth Bass

animals america

Living in U.S. waters down to those in northern Mexico, males build nests that attract females. The heaviest largemouth weighed 22 lbs. (Of course, we’d need to see a picture.)

Spanish Mackerel

american wildlife

In the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic, it forces schools of fish tightly together and almost pushes them out of the water while feeding.

King Mackerel

animal species native to north america

These big guys, in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, can weigh more than 90 lbs. With mating, eggs, and sperm are shed into the ocean, and a union is by chance. 

Mutton Snapper

america wild life

Found from M.A., U.S., south to Brazil, it’s mostly found in the Caribbean Sea and the Bahamas. As it ages, it tends to move into deeper water.

Spinner Shark

animals in the wilderness

An agile predator, there have been unprovoked attacks on humans. It leaps out of the water, spinning up to three times, and lives in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.


north america animals

This gorgeous fish leaps out of the water at great speeds (up to 70 mph), and their dorsal fins can be taller than the length of their bodies.


us animals

This fish resides from North Carolina to Bermuda. They’re generally found around coral reefs and rocky areas. Also, they can be pricier due to supply and demand.


western animals

Not the prettiest face in the room with its large mouth and protruding lower jaw, but it’s endearing. They begin life as males, but some then change into females. Hey. Everybody’s different.  

The Largest Animals Found in North America


wilderness animals

Steer clear of these mammoth animals. American bison males weigh up to 2,000 pounds and grow to be 6 feet tall, and females weigh up to 1,000 pounds and can be 4-5 feet tall.


usa animal

These are herbivorous creatures, but their predators are wolves and black and brown bears. Adult males (that have antlers) can reach 1,600 lbs. and can be up to 6 feet tall.

Brown Bear

animals in north america

Grizzlies have huge, long claws and hibernate in dens during the winter. Large bears can weigh up to 1,000 lbs. and reach 9 feet tall when standing on their hind legs. 

Mountain Lion

what wild animals

Cougars aren’t necessarily heavy, but the length of their bodies can grow to be 7 feet long. They’re also known as panthers or pumas.

Polar Bear

animals native to

The largest bear in the world (take THAT grizzly), the polar bear can weigh more than 1,700 lbs. and stand up to 10 feet tall. Their tiny tails are 3-5 inches long.

Animals Only Found in North America (Rarest Animals Found in North America)


animals of north america

In 2022, there were only 10 of these precious animals left in the world. They live in Mexico’s Gulf of California and are illegally gillnetted, pushing them to near extinction.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

north american wildlife

Historically, they were found throughout FL U.S., but there hasn’t been a confirmed sighting since 1944. They are protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep

wilderness animal

These sheep detect predators with their excellent eyesight. They were listed as an endangered species on January 3, 2000. With only around 500-600 of them left in the world and their love for high altitudes, they’re extremely rare to see.

Black-Footed Ferret

wilderness animals list

“Black-footed ferrets remain critically endangered, with an approximated 300 now living in the wild at dozens of sites across the U.S.” – The Nature Conservancy

Red Wolf

popular animals

The world’s most endangered species of the dog family, there are only 15-35 wild red wolves left. Period. Their home is in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina, US.

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle

what animals are native to north america

This marine reptile is the smallest sea turtle in the world. The species is named after Richard M. Kemp from Key West, FL, U.S. 

Currently, the Animals Posing the Greatest Danger in North America

Brown Bear

america animals

(Grizzly bear) Brown bears are the most dangerous wild animal in North America. They’ve killed at least 70 people in the last 50 years. So don’t get too close, and don’t…feed…the bears.

Black Bear

american traditional animals

The black bear is the smallest, yet most common, of the three bear species found in America (after the polar bear and grizzly bear).” – BBC Wildlife Magazine

Polar Bears

north america animals list

These bears are territorial, and if you test them will become quite aggressive. To say they can pull us limb from limb isn’t an overstatement. 


usa wild animals

They see humans as prey if we get too close. Always stay away from marshes. But the odds of being seriously injured in a random alligator attack is about one in 2.4 million. 

White-Tailed Deer

american animals

Try not to see all of these species as Bambi. If their young are threatened or if they think they are, deer can become aggressive. 

Mountain Lion

united states wildlife

Cougars run at speeds from 40-50 mph. Even if they can only see you, they can begin a chase.


tell me an animal associated with america

There are about 3,000 species of snakes worldwide, and 10% to 15% of them are venomous snakes. 

North American Forest Animals

Black-Tailed Jackrabbit

unique animals found in north america

Also called the American desert hare, it’s well known in the western U.S. and Mexico. 

Eastern Chipmunk

great animals

Common in the eastern U.S. and Canada, this little munchkin is so small he needs the cover of northern forests or brush and shrubs to stay safe from predators. 


animals unique to north america

They live in underground burrows where insects and small rodent populations are nearby. Or bird eggs…that’s their entree.


west animals

Commonly known as woodchucks, these animals prefer lots of alone time being solitary four-teethers. They’re endemic to the US, Canada, and Alaska.

Wild Boar

united states animals

Wild hogs don’t attack humans willy-nilly, only if they feel threatened or if you get too close to their young. They use trees as scratching posts.

Native Birds of North America


wild animal lists

There are between 325-340 hummingbird species worldwide, but only 20-25 species in North America.


wild animals lists

The greater roadrunner is endemic to the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Beep-beep.

Great Blue Herons

north american animals list

These big mouths live in most of North America, including the Caribbean.


animals only found in north america

They sleep close together at night, with a few of them standing guard. Also, they have a spectacular mating dance and show off their long legs, necks, and beaks.

Bald Eagles

animals in the west

Did you know they’ve been the national symbol and emblem of the U.S. since 1782? And they’re smart…They mate for life.

Red-Tailed Hawks

animals that live in north america

Their wingspans are a little over four feet, and their talons are almost an inch and a half long.


what are some animals

Waterfowl are a diverse family of birds like swans, ducks, and geese with webbed feet.

Blue-Footed Boobies

important animals

Yep. They have the most beautiful shade of blue feet. Thousands of them live in Mexico’s Gulf of California. 

Social Flycatchers

unique north american animals

This bird is native to Mexico and captures insects in flight. Its name in Spanish? Mosquero Social

Belted Kingfishers

what wild animal

This bird has a really cool mohawk goin’ on. With that, its bold colors, and pristine beak, you’d think it had somewhere to go. 

Rufous-Bellied Chachalacas

what animals live in north america

Also from Mexico, this bird gathers fruit from trees and hangs out in groups of up to ten.

Roseate Spoonbills

animals in the

They become bald as they age. I can’t make this stuff up. Since they look like a caricature, that fact is certainly not doing them any favors. They’re one of six spoonbill species and the only one in the Americas.

North American Native Snakes


coolest wild animals

These are found throughout America and Mexico. Arizona, U.S., has the most types of rattlesnakes, with 13 species.

Garter Snakes

north american forest animals

In the U.S., they’re located in gardens, forests, fields, and usually near water. They do have a bit of venom but generally not enough to hurt a human.

Indigo Snakes

wild animals list

Humans are the largest threat to these snakes which is confusing since they’re the largest snake in the U.S. The largest blue-black beauty stretches 8.5 feet long.

Blind Snakes

animals in wild

Often mistaken for earthworms, these snakes burrow, have a forked tongue, and have smooth scales. They’re endemic to the U.S. and Mexico.

Endangered Animals in North America

animals west
  • Red wolf – Critically Endangered
  • Pygmy raccoons – Endemic to Cozumel Island off the coast of Mexico, this raccoon is Critically Endangered on the Red List.
  • California condor – Although this rough-looking bird is Critically Endangered, there’s good news…Its numbers are increasing, which is due to incredible conservation efforts.

Animals Residing in North American Countries 


iconic animals
  1. Walrus – These heavy-duty guys are carnivorous aquatic mammals which are pinnipeds (fin-footed animals). Their stiff whiskers are highly tactile.
  2. Atlantic puffin – Often called “The clown of the sea” (Hey! Speak for yourself!), these birds have puffin chicks called pufflings. The oldest recorded puffin lived to be 41 years old.
  3. Somniosis – The Greenland shark’s flesh is toxic. They’re listed as Vulnerable and decreasing on the Red List. This is due to man’s greed for liver oil and also hunting just to kill.
  4. Musk oxen – They look like bison but are really large goats that can weigh up to 900 lbs. Since their wool is ten times warmer than cashmere, it’s pricey. 
  5. Seal – The harp seal is the most common species, and seal hunting is as popular today as it has been for centuries. It’s the local’s way of life. The ringed seal is the smallest of the species.
  6. Canada lynx – This big cat looks like a fluffy ball of love (but remember the cougar video). They’re active at night and are rarely seen in the wild.
  7. Beluga whale – Known as “Canaries of the sea” because they produce so many sounds, these whales are social and close with their pods. 


us animal
  1. Jaguarundi – This otter-like cat can reach a length of 30 inches with a tail of 20 inches. It is extremely rare and threatened mainly by habitat loss and hunting.
  2. Mexican spiny-tailed iguana – Iguanas are threatened by habitat destruction and predation by feral cats and dogs. They are mostly herbivorous but are opportunistic as well, eating small animals and eggs.
  3. Chihuahua – Who hasn’t heard of this spunky domesticated dog? But did you know it’s Mexico’s largest state, too? It’s where the toy dog got its name. 
  4. Quetzal – This show-stopping bird was sacred to the Mayas and Aztecs. They’re mainly solitary and are also territorial. 
  5. Mexican gray wolf – A subspecies of the gray wolf, it’s referred to as “el lobo.” Packs are complex social structures consisting of a breeding pair and their offspring.
  6. CoatiCoatis generally live in groups (called bands) of 10-30 individuals. They’re closely related to the raccoon; without their long snout, they could be twins—or at least first cousins.
  7. Cactus wren – Often perched on cacti, this bird has a long, strong beak. They often fan their white-tipped tail feathers.

United States

most famous animals
  1. Elk – These fantastic creatures are often mistaken for reindeer. They’re ungulates (hooved mammal) that migrate and live primarily in the west.
  2. Moose – The largest species of the deer family, moose are famous in Alaska. That flap under its chin?… It’s called a bell.
  3. Sandhill cranes – These birds have wingspans of up to six feet long. Another recognizable trait is the red “hat” atop their heads.
  4. Luna moth – A transformative insect, from caterpillar to moth, these sweeties are pale green. Unfortunately for them, bats love to munch on them.
  5. Gopher – Pocket gophers build complex underground tunnels. They can close their lips behind their four large incisors, making digging easier.
  6. Ferret – Ferrets are part of the weasel family. A female ferret is called a jill, and a male, a hob.
  7. Common shrew – A pointier nose no one can find. They have poor eyesight but long whiskers that help them navigate.


top animals
  1. Arctic hare – In winter, these camouflage kings have a stunning white coat. They’ve been a food and clothing staple for Native Americans for eons.
  2. Greenland dog – Greenland dogs are known for their tremendous abilities to pull a sled. “QIMMEQ” means “dog” in the Greenlandic language.
  3. Arctic fox – These foxes live in burrows and can survive temperatures as low as -58 degrees. Their coats change color from white to brown or gray during the summer.
  4. Greenland shark – This vertebrate isn’t only in Greenland. It’s even been seen in the Caribbean.
  5. Arctic reindeer – Their similarities to Rudolph are undeniable. They’ve got one up on him, though – They’re wonderful swimmers.
  6. Minke whale – These whales are solitary animals and difficult to find in the icy waters. Interestingly, a 30-foot-long whale is the smallest baleen whale there is.
  7. Harp seal – Can you get enough of those precious eyes? Harp seal babies can be recognized by their mother from their smell. These mammals are carnivores.

Threats Faced by Animals Living in North America

Below are some of the threats that North American animals face.


wild life animals

This is the decimation of large swaths/acres of trees for commercial reasons. This process has yanked away habitats for millions of animals. 

Climate Change

Due to this manmade phenomenon, weather becomes erratic and sometimes dangerous. Fires and tornadoes can demolish entire forests. Animals usually have some sort of reaction to natural weather changes.

It could be the molting/shedding of fur or scales or undergoing a color change for protection. Animals migrate with the change of weather as well. Some may also reproduce with the change of seasons. When climates change due to manmade behavior, animals can lose their lives.


Zoonotic diseases (also known as zoonoses) are caused by germs that spread between animals and people.” – Center for Disease Control

When environments or habitats of animals and people begin to mingle through suburban development unnaturally, the situation can quickly spread different diseases.


What Are Some of the Deadliest Animals Living in North America?

Some of the deadliest animals living in North America are:

  1. Brown bear
  2. Snake
  3. Shark
  4. Black bear
  5. American Alligator
  6. Cougar
  7. Polar bear

(Listed in order of danger to human beings – USA Today)

Which Is the Fastest Animal That Is Found in North America?

The pronghorn, found only in North America, can run at speeds up to 60 mph. It’s faster than the cheetah when the distance is longer than a sprint.

Which Animals Are Found in the Deserts of North America?

Below are the animals living in North American deserts.

  1. Scorpion
  2. Rattlesnake
  3. Horned lizard
  4. Nine-banded Armadillo
  5. Red fox
  6. Mule deer
  7. Cougar
  8. Porcupine
  9. Gray fox
  10. Elf owl

Which Animals Live in the Tundra Regions?

The animals living in the tundra regions are:

  1. Polar bear
  2. Mountain goat
  3. Arctic wolf
  4. Snowy owl
  5. Walrus
  6. Beluga whale
  7. Tundra swan
  8. Snow goose
  9. Dall sheep
  10. Arctic wolf


You’ve seen the unparalleled beauty, the undeniable instincts, and the unbelievable acts of North American animals: their power, their temperaments, and their majesty.

How could we ever deny their effects on this Earth? It’s our responsibility to cherish, respect, and fight for them. They’re powerful yet fragile. Constant, yet vulnerable. They add a kaleidoscope of beauty to our world.  

Don’t expect them to be around forever without our help to make it so. Don’t bother them. And don’t take them for granted. We wouldn’t be here without them. 

Jen Flatt Osborn
Born with a pen in her hand and a deadline (and probably a tail), Jen considers writing a vocation, an art, and a release. She’s a freelance copy/content writer who specializes in the pet industry. Previously, she was the founder/director of an animal sanctuary for 12 years, taught classes to middle school students about dog behavior, and has lived a life full of devotion to animals and their welfare. As a vegetarian, Jen advocates for the humane treatment of every living creature. She currently lives with one delightful canine who encourages her to put her head out the car window more often.

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