Alabama has a varied topography that ranges from steep hills to fertile flatlands, lakes, and rivers. Its coastline on the Gulf of Mexico includes 600 miles of tidal bay and bayou shoreline. Alabama has more than 60 types of natural habitat, including forests, woodlands, wetlands, glades, and prairies. The weather stays warm and humid most of the year, and snowfalls are rare.
Because of its topography and climate, Alabama is one of the most ecologically diverse states in the country. It ranks fifth in the country–and first among states east of the Mississippi–for biodiversity.
There are over 4,500 documented species in Alabama. Among these animals are:
- 62 native mammals.
- 22 species of rodents.
- 16 bat species.
- Four rabbit species.
- One marsupial: the opossum.
- 433 bird species, including some of the rarest bird species in the world.
Its rodents include gray squirrels, fox squirrels, chipmunks, and southern flying squirrels. Alabama’s predators include the bobcat, coyote, red fox, and gray fox. Its coastal waters are home to strange fish like the Clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) and common marine mammals like the killer whale and California sea lion.
Bat species include the Mexican free-tailed bat, eastern red bat, and evening bat.
The Official Animal of Alabama
Alabama’s official state animal is the North American black bear (Ursus americanus). It shares this state mammal with West Virginia. Black bears were once rare in Alabama, but their population has grown in recent years.
Alabama’s official amphibian is the red hills salamander. This strange creature lives in deep forest ravines and can grow 11 inches long. The red hill salamander is threatened because of habitat loss.
Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in Alabama
More than 1 million people visit Alabama each year just to view wildlife and birds. Alabama has dozens of reserves, national parks, and protected natural areas. They are all wonderful places to see the state’s most common animals.
- Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge is an 11,0000-acre wildlife and wetlands where you can see many of the state’s wildflowers, alligators, white-tail deer, great blue herons and wood ducks. The marshes provide safe haven for turtles, crayfish, frogs and minnows.
- The Alabama Wildlife Center is Alabama’s oldest and largest rehabilitation center for injured and orphaned wild birds. The center conducts education sessions with live birds to help people learn about barred owls, red-tailed hawks and other raptors.
- Oak Mountain State Park is a 10,000-acre park close to Birmingham. Talladega National Forest is a huge state park that has several waterfalls and many wildlife viewing opportunities.
- Birding tourism is a large part of Alabama’s economy. The Dauphin Island West End Acquisition Project is an 840-acre stretch of coastline that protects dunes, marshes and beaches. The piping plover and red knot are two of the rarest shorebirds that nest there.
- Bon Secours National Wildlife Refuge is a protected area for the Alabama beach mouse and other threatened species.
- Alligators are a popular tourist attraction in Alabama, and many people take swamp tours to see them in action. Alligator Alley in Dauphin is a railed boardwalk that allows visitor to view them safely from a distance.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Alabama Today
Brown recluse spider: This tiny spider is mostly found in the northern part of the state. They enjoy warm places like bedding and boxes. Their bite causes intense pain, and their venom can cause tissue death.
Snakes: Alabama has six venomous snake species, including the cottonmouth or water moccasin, which is the only venomous water snake in North America. Fortunately, their bite is not deadly if you get prompt medical attention.
Rice’s whale (Balaenoptera ricei) is a species of baleen whale native to the Gulf of Mexico. It is on the brink of extinction. These whales have not been a target of whaling activity, but they are highly sensitive to ecological disasters, underwater noises from vessel traffic and other human interference.
The Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates) is one of the rarest mouse species in the world. It is found in only a few nature reserves and isolated areas of the state. It is one of the very few mouse species that live in sand dunes. Beach mice are a key part of the coastal dune ecosystem, and thriving mouse populations are a sign of dune health. The state has made protection of these mice one of its top conservation priorities.
The Appalachian cottontail (Sylvilagus obscurus) is found only in northern Alabama and is endangered. The marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris) is also endangered.
Alligators, Armadillos and Alabama
Alabama is a wonderful place to watch wildlife and spot birds. Its mild weather and diverse habitats have allowed its native species to thrive. Continued conservation efforts will help protect endangered animals that help those ecosystems stay healthy.
Alabamian Animals List
Animals in Alabama FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Animals Live in Alabama?
Alabama has a wonderful diversity of animals. It has many of the common North American forest animals, including white-tail deer, opossums, shrews, rodents and foxes. The prairie areas are home to rabbits, snakes and armadillos. Its coastal waters teem with marine mammals, fish and whales. Alabama has many wetlands that are home to shorebirds and alligators.
What Dangerous Animals Live in Alabama?
Alabama has alligators, black bears and wild boars. Although these large predators can be aggressive when provoked, attacks on humans are rare. The most dangerous animals are the state’s venomous snakes and spiders.
What Animal is Alabama Known For?
Alabama is probably best known for Big Al, the elephant mascot of the University of Alabama football team. Big Al appears on the team’s flag and as a costumed mascot at the team’s games. The team, known as the Crimson Tide, has one of the most passionate, devoted fan bases of any college football team in the country.
What Mammals Live in Alabama?
Alabama’s predators include bobcats, coyotes and wolves. Otters, beavers and minks are mammals that live near its rivers and lakes. Beavers were once extinct in Alabama, but they are now plentiful all over the state. Its rodents include groundhogs, squirrels and chipmunks. Marine mammals like sea lions and killer whales inhabit the coastal waters.