10 Interesting Animals in Iowa – You May Not Know

The state of Iowa is a popular for itscornfields, farmlands, rural landscapes and interesting animals in Iowa. In this state, there many national and state parks where the wildlife of interesting animals in Iowa is thriving. 

American goldfinch 1

Where to Find Interesting Animals in Iowa  National Park

This state has two popular Effigy Mounds National Monument and Herbert Hoover National Historic Site. Iowa has a list of state parks which are worth visiting Lewis Clark State Park, Lee and Van Buren County, and Loess Hills State Forest.

Another interesting bird is the Bobolink, it is one of the rarest birds in the country, with striking black and white coloring. It is a grassland prairie bird with this plumage color, the only North American land bird.

Additionally, in these parks, you can spot many interesting animals. Like eastern chipmunk, white-footed mouse, eastern squirrel and deer mouse.

interesting animals in iowa

The state has 9 Bat species, and out of all these bat species the little brown bat is the rarest bat species present in America. Many interesting animals in Iowa are rare, endangered, critically endangered, and near threatened species call home to the Iowa. And in this blog we will look at some the interesting animals in Iowa.

Effigy Mounds National Monument

Effigy Mounds National Monument

This place is renowned for its ancient mounds shaped like animals, including birds and bears, created by the Native American tribes. These mounds hold historical and cultural importance, and visitors can explore the rich heritage of the region.

Many interesting animals in Iowa call Effigy Mounds home, such as white-tailed deer, raccoons, and numerous bird species like songbirds and waterfowl. The park’s diverse habitats make it a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

The Herbert Hoover National Historic Site is located in West Branch, Iowa. The nearby rivers are the Iowa River and the Cedar River. 

In this park, one of the famous aquatic animal is the Eastern Box Turtle. Aside from from aquatic animals, if you are a bird lover, then this place is for you. As, around 68 bird species are found in this park.

Moreover, there’re many different animals that call home to this park such as  cottontail, insects,  eastern gray squirrel, and fox snake.

Eastern Fox Snake

interesting animals in iowa

It is a common snake species of Iowa, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. With an average length of three to five feet,  these snakes can be seen in various places across the state, particularly in prairies and grasslands. 

These snakes play an essential role in controlling rodent populations. Fortunately, the fox snakes are not marked as endangered species. However, habitat loss poses a potential threat to their population. 

Lewis and Clark State Park

Lewis and Clark State Park

Lewis and Clark State Park is located in the western part of Iowa, and located along the eastern bank of the Missouri River.

The park has two rivers, the Missouri River, and the Boyer River. In these rivers various rare aquatic animals are found. 

A diverse range of animals call Lewis and Clark State Park home. You can spot raccoons, and numerous bird species like boblink, ducks and bald eagles in the lush greenery.. 

Bald Eagle

interesting animals in iowa

One of the famous bird of this park is the bald eagle. These eagles often spotted soaring high above the Missouri River or perched high in the trees. 

The park provides a suitable habitat for the bald eagle. As the river has  abundant fish and ducks populations.

These wild eagles are known for their sharp talons and keen eyesight, which help them in hunting fishes and small mammals near the rivers.

Bobolink

interesting animals in iowa

They are found in South America, and one of the interesting animals in Iowa. The natural habitat of these migratory song birds grassland prairie.  

Their striking black and white plumage,and a yellowish patch on head, makes these small birds stands out in the lush greenery of the park. 

During the breeding season, male Bobolinks actively take part into the enchanting display of singing to attract mates. These grassland birds  eats insects and seeds as their main diet. 

Unfortunately the population of this grassland bird is declining. Due to the loss of grassland habitats. 

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail

The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, located in Iowa, traces the journey of Mormon pioneer.  Here are several rivers, including the Missouri River and the Grand River, which provided water and other resources for the pioneers during their journey. 

The trail supports a wide variety of wildlife species,  where many interesting animals are inhabitants. Such as deer, raccoons, Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel,and other animals. One animal that is quite interesting in Iowa’s park is the Eastern Box Turtle, known for its unique hinged shell. 

Eastern Box Turtle

interesting animals in iowa

One interesting fact about these turtles is their ability to close their hinged shell completely. By doing this, they protect themselves from the wild predators. 

They have a captivating carapace with intricate patterns ranging from orange to dark brown. Eastern Box Turtles are terrestrial creatures and are commonly found in a diverse range of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and wetlands. The IUCN has classified the Eastern Box Turtle as an “Endangered species” on its Red List.

Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel

interesting animals in iowa

It is a native, and an interesting animal in Iowa. These squirrrels are most commonly found in areas with short grasses and sparse vegetation.

Where does these squirrels live in wild?

These small interesting animals are social animals that construct complex burrow systems underground.These underground burrows provide them protection and shelter from harsh weather conditions and predators.

As highly active foragers, their diet primarily consists of seeds, insects, and fruits. They  play an important part in seed dispersal and ecosystem balance.

Southern Flying Squirrel

interesting animals in iowa

It is a small interesting mammal known for its ability to glide through the air. They have a furry and compact body with large, dark eyes and a flattened tail that helps with balance.

How does these squirrels fly?

These squirrels have a thin, furry membrane called a patagium. This pataguim stretches between their front and hind legs, enabling them to glide gracefully from tree to tree. They live in forests and woodlands.

Do you know these squirrels make nests in tree cavities or uses abandoned bird nests. 

Loess Hills State Forest 

This state park is located in the western Iowa, the Loess Hills State Forest. It stretches along the eastern border of the Missouri River and is home to two rivers, the Little Sioux River and the Big Sioux River.

 Many interesting animals call this forest home, that are white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, and songbirds. The park’s diverse habitats offer refuge and sustenance to these wild animals. 

White-tail Deer

interesting animals in iowa

White-tailed deer are medium-sized ungulates, with males, known as bucks, being larger than females, or does. The female deers are generally lighter in colour. These deers have a reddish-brown coat during the warmer months, which turns to a greyish-brown or darker grey in the winter.

 The seasonal change in their fur color provides them an excellent camouflage against the snow. Both males and females have antlers, but the males have larger and more defined than females.  These interesting animals in Iowa feed on native plants and are herbivores.

Do you know these deer are recognized by their white tail, which they raise as an alarming sign to warn other animals about danger.

Western Fox Snakes

interesting animals in iowa

As their name suggests, Western Fox Snakes are primarily found in the western regions of North America. They inhabit a diverse range of habitats, including prairies, grasslands, farmlands, and wetlands. 

 The Western Fox Snake is a relatively large snake, with adults measuring between three to five feet in length. They have a slender body covered in smooth scales.

 These reptiles expert in blending seamlessly with their surroundings, this behavior  helps them in hiding from their predators and ambushing prey. These interesting animals are listed as “Least Concern” on the IUCN red list.

Ledges State Park

Ledges State Park

Ledges State Park is located in the state of Iowa, USA. It lies along the Des Moines River and the Pea’s Creek, adding to its scenic beauty. The park is home to a variety of iowa’s wildlife including foxes, deer, raccoons, and many bird species. 

Visitors can enjoy hiking along the rugged canyon trails and marvel at the towering sandstone cliffs. Fishing in the rivers and picnicking in the designated areas are popular activities here. 

River Otters

interesting animals in iowa

These otters are semiaquatic mammals known for their playful and social behavior. The otters are found in a wide range of habitats across North America, including lakes, rivers, swamps, and coastal areas. 

With their webbed feet and streamlined bodies, they are well-adapted for swimming and diving. River otters have dense, dark brown fur that keeps them warm while submerged. 

They are skilled hunters, primarily preying on fish, crustaceans, amphibians, and small mammals. While river otter populations were once threatened due to habitat loss and pollution.

Where to spot the River Otters in Iowa?

You can spot the river otter in Mississippi River, Des Moines River, and Cedar River. 

Beaver

interesting animals in iowa

Beavers are semi-aquatic rodents known for their remarkable engineering skills and ecological impact. These rodents are found in various parts of North America, Europe, and Asia, these creatures play a vital role in shaping aquatic ecosystems. 

These interesting animals are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath for an impressive amount of time, making them well-adapted to their semi-aquatic lifestyle. Their lodges, built from sticks and mud, provide shelter and protection from predators. 

Missouri River

Missouri River

The largest remaining area of Iowa prairie is found in the Loess Hills in western Iowa along the Missouri River. In Missouri, beavers live in and along streams, rivers, marshes, and small lakes. 

Official State Animal

Official State Animal of Iowa is the American goldfinch. This north american land bird is renowned for its vibrant yellow plumage and melodic song. Iowa’s state animals are commonly seen in gardens, fields, and woodlands. It is one of the most interesting bird in Iowa.

Frequently Asked Questions

What animals are Iowa known for?

Some of the notable animals that call Iowa home include are White-tailed Deer, Eastern Cottontail, Bald Eagle, and American Goldfinch.

What kind of wild animals does Iowa have?

Iowa is home to a diverse range of wild animals that are White-tailed Deer, Coyote, Eastern Cottontail, Wild Turkey, and Red Fox.

What is the largest predator in Iowa?

The largest predator in Iowa is the coyote (Canis latrans). 

What big cats live in Iowa?

Iowa is not home to any big cat species.

Olivia Kepner