12 Interesting Animals in Alabama – You Might Not Know
Alabama is home to a remarkable diversity of fascinating animal species. From the unique Altoona cave crayfish to the majestic American alligator, interesting animals in Alabama capture the attention.
The state harbors around 75 mammal species, over 300 species of birds, over 100 reptile species including 5 kinds of venomous snakes, 67 amphibian species, 178 fish species, and over 400 mollusk species.
Rivers, lakes, caves, and forests across the state comprise ecosystems that allow interesting animals like beavers, bats, owls, freshwater turtles, and more to thrive.
Beyond charismatic mammals and beautiful birds, fascinating fish, reptiles, arachnids, insects and other invertebrates flourish as well, especially in the distinct karst terrain and subterranean cave systems of north Alabama.
Additionally, the Red-bellied turtle is another intriguing reptile unique to Alabama, and the iconic armadillo – unusual mammals now very common animals across the Alabama state.
Whether watching coastal birds or beavers building dams during a hike, visitors and residents alike can discover captivating, and interesting animals in alabama.
12 Interesting Animals in Alabama – (With Interesting Facts and Pictures)
Though home to rich biodiversity, Alabama has seen several of its most fascinating animal species decline to the point of endangerment.
From the mystical Alabama red-belly turtle to the majestic bald eagle, endangered animals in Alabama come in astounding forms, yet their futures hang in the balance. The Alabama beach mouse, with its unique coastal habitat along the Gulf, is one critically endangered species found only in Alabama.
The brilliantly colored flattened musk turtle, struggling due to habitat loss, is another endangered reptile native to Alabama. Moreover, we have gathered the 12 most interesting animals in Alabama that will amaze you and are worth exploring.
Alabama Beach Mouse – Endangered Rodent
The tiny Alabama beach mouse is one of the most interesting animals in Alabama – a unique mammal species endemic to the Alabama state.
These elusive rodents are found only along a narrow 60-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast, sand dunes, and sea oats meadows between Fort Morgan Peninsula and Perdido Key in Alabama.
No populations exist outside the U.S. once ranging more widely across beach dunes habitats in Alabama, habitat loss has restricted Alabama beach mouse to 8 isolated populations today, leading to their classification as “Endangered Rodent species” on the IUCN Red List.
One interesting fact about the Alabama beach mouse is they have specialized kidneys to drink seawater and long hind feet with fur-covered soles to move easily across loose sand. However, their survival in their harsh coastal home is a challenge.
Moreover, the major threats to their population include habitat degradation and destruction from coastal development, storms, and rising seas.
Red Hills Salamander – Endangered Amphibian
The rare Red Hills salamanders are one of the most interesting animals in Alabama – a strikingly colored endangered amphibian that is endemic to the Alabama state. These small salamanders are found only in the iron-rich clay ravine habitats of the Red Hills region located in Alabama near the Georgia border.
These unique salamanders have a limited global range and are native to some parts of the southeastern United States within Alabama.
One interesting characteristic of these amphibians is their projectile tongue, which they shoot out to capture prey. Meanwhile, their bright red bodies marked with black spots provide camouflage against the reddish clay soils.
Unfortunately, the IUCN lists Red-listed Hills salamanders as “Endangered Species,” some of the major threats to their population are habitat loss and climate change. Moreover, their small population ratio globally also makes them extremely Vulnerable.
The Nine-Banded Armadillo – Interesting Non- Native Mammals
The nine-banded armadillo is one of the most interesting animals in Alabama. While not native to the state, these unusual mammals have expanded northward from Central America and Mexico, becoming common across the southern United States and Alabama in particular.
Nine-banded armadillos inhabit forests, brushland and grasslands with sandy or loam soils where they can dig burrows. One interesting fact about armadillos is they always give birth to genetically identical quadruplets.
Meanwhile, their many bony plates covering their body provide flexible protection – armadillos can even curl into balls when threatened.
Despite adapting well to disturbed habitats, nine-banded armadillos face rising threats like vehicle collisions and climate change. However, the IUCN currently listed them as “Least Concern” due to their rapidly expanding population estimated at over 5 million in the U.S. South.
The American Black Bear – Least Concern Mammals
The American black bear is undoubtedly one of the most interesting animals in Alabama. These impressive forest-dwelling bears are not only native to Alabama but can be found across North America.
Within Alabama, black bears inhabit extensive hardwood forests, swamps and wild areas with plenty of cover. An interesting fact about black bears is mothers are extremely devoted, staying with cubs for over a year and teaching them vital skills.
Unfortunately, these bears were once threatened in Alabama due to overhunting and habitat loss. However, conservation efforts have now stabilized black bear populations, even enabling their return to former ranges.
Moreover, Alabama black bears are listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN red list, however, still face some persecution from poaching and conflicts with humans.
Freshwater Mussels – Endangered Species
These unusual mollusks are not only native to the state but can be found in lakes, rivers, and streams across North America. In Alabama, diverse mussel species dwell on riverbeds partially buried in sediment.
One interesting fact about mussels is they start life as tiny larvae that attach to host fish for weeks before dropping to grow into adults.
Sadly, habitat loss and pollution have taken a steep toll with over a third of Alabama’s native mussel species listed as “Endangered Species” by the IUCN Red List. Dams, dredging, agricultural runoff, and more threaten the survival of these sensitive filter feeders
Rice’s Whale – Threatened Species
Rice’s Whale, an enormous endangered whale species that migrates past Alabama’s Gulf coastline annually. These marine giants can reach up to 42 feet long, making them one of the largest animals found in Alabama waters. Rice’s whales are migratory baleen whales living in oceans worldwide
One interesting fact about these whales is experts cannot distinguish them visually from the more common Bryde’s whales. They have unique asymmetrical white coloration on their lower jaw.
Unfortunately, Rice’s whales are listed as “Endangered Species” by the IUCN, as collisions with ships, entanglement in fishing gear, and other threats have devastated populations over decades.
The Clymene Dolphin – Data Deficient Species
The clymene dolphin is one of the more mysterious yet fascinating interesting animals found in Alabama’s offshore waters. These sleek marine mammals are native to tropical and subtropical seas worldwide, including the Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico’s Northern coast along Alabama.
Clymene dolphins favor pelagic environments far from land. One intriguing fact about them is their whistles reach ultrasonic frequencies above human hearing range.
Unfortunately, not much data exists on these dolphins, prompting the IUCN Red List to identify them as “Data Deficient” currently. Potential threats off Alabama likely include incidental bycatch, pollution, prey depletion from overfishing, habitat degradation, and more pressures.
Rainbow Snakes – Least Concern Species
Rainbow snakes are one of the more elusive yet visually stunning interesting animals found in Alabama. These mildly venomous reptiles are native to the southeastern United States, inhabiting scattered locations across Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and beyond.
Secretive rainbow snakes reside in shallow wetland systems with muddy bottoms and ample vegetation. One intriguing fact about rainbow snakes is they vibrate their tail tips when threatened, similar to rattlesnakes.
Though they eat mainly amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates, studies suggest over 90% of their diet often comprises a single salamander species in any given habitat.
Despite their low population numbers, rainbow snakes have a broad extent of occurrence and no major widespread threats. Moreover, the IUCN Red List classified them as a species of “Least Concern.” Still, local habitat impacts can threaten smaller rainbow snake populations.
Appalachian Cottontail – Near Threatened Species
The Appalachian cottontails are interesting animals in Alabama. This small mammal is native animals and inhabit dense thickets and young forests across higher elevation mountains stretching from New York down to Alabama.
In Alabama specifically, the Appalachian cottontail dwells rather locally within mature woodlands and clearings found only in the Appalachian region in northern Alabama near Georgia.
One interesting fact about Appalachian cottontail is that, unlike many related rabbits, this species does not dig elaborate burrow systems underground. Conservation-wise, habitat loss poses a risk to their population, and the IUCN listed them as “Near Threatened” overall.
The forest clearing plus competition with invading eastern cottontails impacts local Appalachian cottontail populations in mountain ecosystems.
Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle – Native and Endangered Species
The striking Alabama red-bellied turtle stands out as one of the most fascinating reptiles among the diverse array of interesting animals found in Alabama. These colorful turtles are endemic species of the Alabama states.
These rare turtles inhabit just a few scattered river drainages across Alabama. One interesting fact about this turtle species is their hatchlings possess bright red plastrons that fade to pink, orange, or yellow as adults.
Unfortunately, habitat degradation, illegal collection for the pet trade, and their highly limited range place Alabama red-bellied turtles as “Endangered Species” on the IUCN Red List. Conservation efforts to protect remaining populations and their natural habitats are crucial.
American Alligator – Critically Endangered Species
The prehistoric-looking American alligator stands out as one of the most iconic and fascinating reptiles among the many interesting animals found in Alabama. Typically found in freshwater habitats such as swamps, marshes, and rivers, they play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance.
While Alabama is home to various wildlife species, the American alligator’s presence contributes significantly to the region’s biodiversity.
Beyond Alabama, American alligators are distributed in other southeastern states like Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi. Interestingly, their range extends beyond the United States to parts of Mexico. These reptiles thrive in various environments, showcasing adaptability and resilience.
An interesting fact of these reptiles is their unique ability to survive in both freshwater and brackish environments.
The American alligator is listed as a species of “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Despite this relatively stable status, their populations face threats from habitat loss, pollution, and occasionally conflicts with humans.
Conservation efforts and habitat preservation remain crucial to ensuring the continued existence of these fascinating creatures in the wild.
The House Mouse (Mus musculus) is a small rodent species ubiquitous around the globe, inhabiting a variety of environments, primarily human dwellings such as homes, barns, and warehouses. Originally native to Central Asia, they have spread worldwide through human migration and trade activities.
House mice thrive in temperate regions but can adapt to diverse climates and habitats, including urban, suburban, and rural areas.
House mice typically have gray or brown fur with lighter bellies, large ears, and long, hairless tails. Their compact bodies enable them to squeeze through tiny openings, facilitating their infiltration of human structures.
The best spots to find house mice are near food sources and shelters, such as kitchens, pantries, and storage areas. They are known for their scavenging behavior and ability to consume a wide range of foods.
Despite their adaptability and abundance, house mice face threats such as predation by domestic cats and dogs, competition with other rodent species, and exposure to pesticides and rodenticides.
The Official Animal of Alabama – Black Bears
Around 250 black bears live at Alabama’s borders, and the official state animal in Alabama is the American black bear “Ursus americanus”. It is the same state animal as West Virginia. Black bears were once uncommon in Alabama, but they now grow.
These iconic mammals typically inhabit wooded areas, swamps, and bottomland forests, relying on dense vegetation for cover and food sources like berries, nuts, insects, and occasionally small mammals.
While black bears are predominantly black, they can also exhibit variations in color, including brown and cinnamon hues. Despite their substantial size and formidable appearance, black bears are typically shy and elusive, avoiding human contact whenever possible.
The Official Insect of Alabama
Monarch butterflies are protected by a liquid of milkweed, which is used for the layout and the larval food for the butterflies. The state government in 1989 declared the butterfly a state insect. Selma authorities demanded that they intervene.
These interesting animals in alabama found throughout the state’s forests, parks, and gardens, the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is not only recognized for its striking appearance but also for its ecological significance as a pollinator.
These butterflies play a vital role in the ecosystem by aiding in the pollination of numerous plant species, thus contributing to the health and sustainability of Alabama’s flora.
Frequently Asked Questions about Interesting Animals in Alabama
How many animals are native to Alabama?
Many animals are native to Alabama. The list of native animals includes 62 native mammals, including 22 species of rodents, 16 species of bats, 11 species of carnivores, 6 species of insectivores, 4 species of rabbits, 1 ungulate species, 1 opossum, and 1 armadillo species.
What animals are exclusive to Alabama?
Alabama red-bellied turtle and the southern black-knobbed sawback are two animals that are exclusive to Alabama.
What animal is only found in Alabama?
The Red Hills salamander is only found in Alabama state.
What is the largest animal in Alabama?
Black bears are the largest mammals in Alabama.
What animals come out at night in Alabama?
Except squirrels and chipmunks, most rodents come out at night, and are nocturnal in nature.
What animals are exclusive to Alabama?
Two other species are found practically nowhere else.
What animal facts are in Alabama?
Alabama has more than 62 species based in migratory habitats.
What is the largest animal in Alabama?
Black bears have are the largest animals in Alabama. Black bears can weigh more than 300 lb but the most significant black bear caught in Alabama was 238 lb. Historically, black bears were found throughout south Alabama.