New Hampshire is a New England state known for its mountain bluffs, picturesque scenery, and spectacular fall foliage. New Hampshire is second only to Maine in the amount of forested land it has. Almost 85% of its 5.7 million acres are forested. The world-famous Appalachian Trail runs through the state’s mountainous areas.
This small state has a population of only 1.3 million. It borders Canada to the north, Vermont, and Canada to the west, Massachusetts to the south, and Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. New Hampshire has a mild summer, a moderate fall, and harsh, long winters with regular snowfall.
Wildlife of New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s hills, coastline, lakes, and forests are home to an abundance of wildlife. The state has more than 500 native animal species. These include most of the common northeastern woodland animals, shorebirds, and marine mammals.
New Hampshire’s forests and mountain areas are home to coyotes, bobcats, red foxes, gray foxes, and wolves. These nocturnal predators hunt white-tail deer, rabbits, mice, and other small wild critters. Black bears and moose also live in the forests.
There are many small wild mammals in New Hampshire’s hills and forests. It is common to see snowshoe hares, southern bog lemmings, northern bog lemmings, American martens, and smoky shrews. You will see common small wild creatures like raccoons, opossums, and skunks, but you’ll also spot some strange creatures like porcupines, southern flying squirrels, and fishers.
The fisher, also known as a fisher cat, is a nocturnal hunter that resembles a cross between a cat and a weasel. It is fast, agile, and an excellent climber. Fishers were once hunted to extinction, but their populations have recovered, and they are now all over New Hampshire.
The state has many native bat species, including the small-footed bat, silver-haired bat, and northern long-eared bat. These are some of the rarest bat species.
Popular marine fish are the striped bass, bluefish, Atlantic cod, and several species of flounder, including white flounder, witch flounder, and smooth flounder. Its marine mammals include dolphins, porpoises, pilot whales, and harbor seals.
New England is known for its shellfish, and New Hampshire is no exception. Its mollusks include softshell clams and oysters.
New Hampshire is a popular location for sport fishermen. Its lakes and rivers are home to popular freshwater fish like largemouth bass, brown bullheads, bluegills, carp, lake trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, sunfish, lamprey, shiner, and whitefish.
The state has hundreds of bird species, including waterfowl, forest birds, and shorebirds. Its game birds include the ruffed grouse and ring-necked pheasant. Common forest birds include the eastern bluebird, indigo bunting, snow bunting, hermit thrush, gray catbird, mourning dove, dark-eyed junco, and ruby-crowned kinglet.
Reptiles and Amphibians
New Hampshire has many frogs and other amphibians. The northern leopard frog, mudpuppy, and gray treefrog are among the critters you will find in the woods. It also has the spring peeper, the much-loved northeastern frog known for its strange, melodious announcements that spring is coming. The state has 10 species of salamander, including the spotted salamander, marbled salamander, and spring salamander.
The redbelly or red-bellied snake has one of the rarest colorings of any snake. It features a black body with a bright red underbelly. This small snake only grows about 10 inches. It is not venomous and is harmless to humans. It feeds on slugs and earthworms.
New Hampshire’s native insects range from beetles to butterflies. The monarch butterfly, white mountain fritillary, and frosted elfin butterfly are all native to the state, and all three are endangered.
Other native insects include the yellow-banded bumblebee, Puritan tiger beetle, and Appalachian tiger beetle. They are all endangered.
The Official Animal of New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s official state animal is the white-tail deer. These deer are abundant in New Hampshire. They are frequent visitors to the state’s parks.
Its official insect is the ladybug or lady beetle (Coccinella magnifica), which is one of the most beloved bugs in the world. Known as ladybirds in other English-speaking countries, they are considered a sign of good luck in many cultures.
Its official bird is the purple finch (Haemorhous purpureus). The purple finch is a gorgeous bird with berry-colored feathers that often shade bright purple.
Where To Find the Top Wild Animals in New Hampshire
- Ahern State Park is a protected area on the shore of Lake Winnisquam. It has forested trails and is a wonderful place to see small wild animals, ducks, birds and crabs.
- Bear Brook State Park is an excellent place to see birds, white-tail deer, small mammals and raptors. The ponds are good places to spot beavers, frogs and birds.
- Northwood Meadows State Park is a forested preserve filled with old growth trees, waterfalls and creeks.
- Located in Odiorne State Park, the Seacoast Science Center is an ideal place for hands-on learning about marine mammals.
Zoos in New Hampshire
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center: This center is a combination zoo and wilderness education center. This incredibly scenic spot features a large lake, hiking trails, lake cruises, and live animals. The beautiful lake is home to loons and other shorebirds. The 1981 movie On Golden Pond was filmed on Little Squam Lake.
The zoo’s animals represent the native wildlife of New Hampshire. They are all wild animals who were rescued but can’t be returned to the wild.
The walking trail takes you past all the animal exhibits. You will see bobcats, coyotes, gray foxes, fishers, and small rodents. The bird exhibit has raptors and shorebirds. Reptiles and amphibians include frogs and turtles.
The Most Dangerous Animals in New Hampshire Today
According to state folklore, New Hampshire is home to the strange and terrifying Devil Monkey, a similar creature who supposedly first appeared in the town of Danville. It began in 2001 when a fire chief claimed he saw a monkey running through the downtown streets. There have been repeated sightings of the Devil Monkey ever since, but it has never been caught.
The state’s most dangerous animal is the wood tick. This blood-sucking parasite is prevalent in the woods and carries many diseases. Biologists say ticks normally die in the winter, but climate change has led to longer stretches of warm weather that allow them to live longer.
Endangered Animals in New Hampshire
- Marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum): This black and white striped salamander is considered a species in greatest need of conservation by the state. This small salamander grows to about 4 inches. It lives in forests and rocky slopes.
- Piping plover (Charadrius melodus): One of the rarest shorebirds, the piping plover is protected by state law. This gray and white shorebird nests on coastal beaches, sand flats and barrier islands.
- New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis): This large rabbit is the only rabbit native to the New England region. It is active in both daylight and nighttime hours. Once widespread, they are now endangered. New Hampshire and other New England states have started habitat plans to encourage landowners to create rabbit-friendly habitats for cottontails. The Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge is a conservation area that protects New England cottontails and other species.
- Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis): This nocturnal predator is one of the rarest big cats. It is a shy, secretive forest dweller that mostly hunts snowshoe hares. It is about the size of a bobcat but with longer hair. It was once common to the northeastern states. In recent years, Canada lynx have been spotted in the northern borders of Vermont and New Hampshire.
- Moose: These huge animals once roamed all over New Hampshire, but their numbers have declined in the past decades. Wildlife biologists say the extended lifespan of wood ticks is to blame. Ticks have caused fatal anemia in many moose.
Small Is Beautiful
New Hampshire is a small state that is home to many wild, beautiful creatures. With a mix of mountains, forests, and coastline, it has a rich variety of ecosystems. The state’s parks and protected forest areas are great places to see them.
New Hampshirite Animals
New Hampshirite Animals List
Animals in New Hampshire FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What animals live in New Hampshire?
Although it’s a small state, New Hampshire has a rich diversity of ecosystems. It has hills, forests, lakes, and miles of coastline. These varying terrains mean New Hampshire has many common forest animals. There are not too many strange or exotic animals.
You are likely to see a fox, bobcat, white-tail deer, muskrat, and beaver in the woods. Small wild animals include rabbits, shrews, opossums, and rodents. It also has many of the common New England fish like clams, Atlantic cod, salmon, and oysters. Its coastal waters have porpoises, whales, and harbor seals.
What dangerous animals live in New Hampshire?
New Hampshire has moose, black bears, and venomous snakes.
What animals are illegal in New Hampshire?
It is illegal to own, disturb or hunt any endangered animal.
Does New Hampshire have badgers?
There are no badgers in New Hampshire. In the U.S., badgers mostly live in the northern Great Lakes states.