Animals in Ohio

Updated: October 7, 2022
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Ohio is one of the 12 Midwestern U.S. states. The state features four distinct types of habitats. These four habitats include forests, prairies, wetlands, and the Great Lakes. In these habitats, 67 species of mammals, 39 species of amphibians, 45 species of snakes, and 219 species of birds live. Among these species are the native white-tail deer, cockroaches, Mourning dove, American bullfrog, snapping turtle, black bear, coyote, and bobcat.

The Official Animals of Ohio

Ohio has multiple official state species. These include the state mammal, state bird, state reptile, state amphibian, and state frog.

Official State Mammal of Ohio: White-Tail Deer

In 1988, the Ohio State Assembly officially made the white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) the state’s mammal. These deer have lived in the region since the end of the most recent Ice Age and long supplied Native peoples with food, hides, and tools made of the deer’s bones and antlers. There are about 600,000 white-tail deer in Ohio today, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Official State Bird of Ohio: Cardinal

Since 1933, the cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) has been Ohio’s state bird. When the first European settlers came to the state in the late 17th century, these birds were not common to the deeply forested land. But since the new inhabitants cleared forests throughout the next century, the non-native cardinals moved in and now thrive throughout the state.

Official State Reptile of Ohio: Black Racer Snake

The Black Racer snake (Coluber constrictor constrictor) became the state’s official reptile in 1995. It won this title because it is so common throughout all habitats of the state and provides valuable service to farmers by hunting rodents that damage crops. There are more than 25 types of snakes in Ohio, including three different venomous species.

Official State Amphibian of Ohio: Spotted Salamander

The Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is a shared state amphibian by both Ohio and South Carolina. These underground-dwelling and nocturnal salamanders are most commonly found in the state’s low-lying woodlands around creeks, swamps, and ponds. They have rotund bodies with two rows of bright spots on their sides, ranging from yellow to gold.

Official State Frog of Ohio: Bullfrog

Along with the state amphibian, Ohio also has a state frog. The bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is the largest frog in the U.S. It is known for its throaty, deep call that carries up to a mile. These big frogs live in Ohio’s ponds, slow streams, and marshes and can be seen or heard from April through the end of summer. Bullfrogs live for up to nine years. That is unless they are captured for their legs, an upscale restaurant delicacy.

Wild Animals in Ohio

Three of the most common mammals in Ohio are the Eastern Grey Squirrel, raccoon, and white-tail deer. In the state, you can also find American black bears, bobcats, and coyotes. The most common birds are the American crow, robin, blue jay, and mourning dove. The American bullfrog, common watersnake, and Eastern box turtle are the most easily found reptiles and amphibians. In Ohio’s lakes, rivers, and streams, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and bluegill sunfish are abundant.

Where To Find The Top Wild Animals in Ohio

Ohio has 75 state parks where you can easily spot many of the state’s wild, majestic, furry, and strange species. You can also tour safari parks, farms, ranches, and wildlife preserves that showcase many of the state’s most popular species.

Below are the most popular zoos in Ohio:

Check out our complete guide to aquariums near Cleveland and across Ohio for more details on seeing aquatic wildlife in Ohio.

The Most Dangerous Animals In Ohio Today

Ohio has a multitude of dangerous creatures. These include venomous snakes, frightening turtles and scary mammals.

  • Dangerous snakes of Ohio include the Northern Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix), Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) and Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus Horridus). These are the only three deadly snakes of 45 species found in the state. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Northern Copperhead is responsible for the most snake bites in the U.S. each year. But few of these have fatal results and typically happen because someone steps directly on the snake. There are only two recorded deadly bites by the Eastern Massasauga, both more than 50 years ago. The Timber Rattlesnake is endangered and tends to flee, rather than attacking humans. Still, if any of these snakes bite you, it is important to get to a hospital right away.
  • The Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) is capable of biting a human finger or toe off. There are no records of this happening in the state of Ohio, but these turtles will aggressively defend their nest against humans.
  • Undoubtedly, the most deadly animal in Ohio is the native white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus). This sounds strange at first. But these pretty and majestic big game species cause more than 20,000 auto accidents in Ohio each year.
  • The scariest mammals of Ohio are undoubtedly dangerous. You should avoid interaction with these creatures at all costs. The North American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) are typically afraid of humans but are capable of chasing and attacking people. Other dangerous mammals include the Coyote (Canis latrans) and Bobcat (Lynx rufus).

Endangered Animals In Ohio

Endangered species of Ohio include:

  • Indiana bat – A bat that lives throughout the state in caves and mines
  • Kirtland’s Warbler – A bird that migrates along the Lake Erie shoreline
  • Piping Plover – A bird that lives on the beaches of Lake Erie
  • Scioto Madtom – A fish living in streams of four counties
  • Clubshell mussels – Found throughout the state in streams and small rivers
  • Fanshell mussels – Found in rivers and streams with swift current
  • Northern Riffleshell mussels – Mussels found in Lake Erie, large streams and small rivers
  • Pink Mucket Pearlymussel – A mussel of the Lower Ohio River and its tributaries

Read about:

Ohioan Animals

American Eel

Don't eat raw eel! Their blood is poisonous to humans when consumed raw.


They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food

Black Rat Snake

They're also called black pilot snakes due to a myth that they "pilot" venomous snakes to a den where they can go into brumation for the winter.

Blue Catfish

It's a strong fighter when caught on a fishing line

Blue Racer

Some blue racers have smooth scales that are solid electric blue while others are grayish or brownish.

De Kay’s Brown Snake

They have specialized jaws for removing snails from shells.

Eastern Fence Lizard

Females are usually larger than males.

Eastern Hognose Snake

Eastern hognose snakes are venomous, but only to frogs and toads.


Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air

Fox Squirrel

Although it is a tree squirrel, it spends most of its time on the ground.

Giant Beaver

The Giant Beaver are not closely related to modern beaver at all.

Groundhog (Woodchuck)

They whistle to each other to warn of approaching danger!


The name “Massasauga” comes from the Chippewa language, meaning “Great River Mouth”.


They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.

Orb Weaver

Females are about four times the size of males


The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees

Polyphemus moth

The Polyphemus moth doesn’t eat.

Rat Snakes

Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

Red-Bellied Woodpeckers will often steal the nests of other birds.

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-Shouldered Hawks reuse the same nesting area each year.


Will mate with the entire flock!


Some gulls are capable of using tools

Smokybrown Cockroach

Has up to 45 eggs per egg case

Smooth Earthsnake

Valeria Biddle Blaney (1828-1900) collected the first specimen in Maryland.

Ohioan Animals List

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Animals in Ohio FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What kind of animals live in Ohio?

Ohio is home to 67 mammal species, 39 amphibian species, 45 snake species, 219 bird species, 170 fish species, 100 mollusk species, and 20 crustacean species. In the rodent family, there are seven species of squirrels, one species of beaver, one species of porcupine, two species of jumping mice, three species of Old World rodents, and 11 species of New World mice, rats and voles. Overall, the state has at least 25 types of rodents. Some of the most common animals include the white-tail deer, raccoon, American bullfrog and black bear.

What is the most dangerous animal in Ohio?

The most dangerous animal in Ohio is the white-tail deer. Although the deer does not attack humans, it is the cause of more than 20,000 auto accidents in the state each year. Most of these accidents occur when the deer attempt to cross roadways at night. These accidents result in millions of dollars of property damage, personal injuries and fatalities on an annual basis.

What is the most common animal in Ohio?

The most common animal in Ohio is the Eastern Grey squirrel. Others commonly spotted in the state include the raccoon and the white-tail deer. The Eastern Grey squirrel is an animal you can see every day, even in urban environments with lots of trees. Raccoons are nocturnal, but also highly common in urban areas because they are opportunists. They feed on garbage and often live in man-made environments like roof eaves, attics and out-buildings. White-tail deer are the state’s most visible large game, although they typically live outside of urban areas.

What is the rarest animal in Ohio?

The Timber rattlesnake, one of the country’s deadliest snakes, is also one of Ohio’s rarest. There are fewer than 50 living in the state today, spread out through eight counties. The snakes are endangered because they have lost much of their habitat to urban development. Because the snakes return to the same place to build a den and raise their young each year, diminishing habitat affects reproduction.

What spiders live in Ohio?

Ohio is home to dozens of spider species. Some more notable species include the Mediterranean recluse, the barn funnel weaver, and the tan jumping spider.

What is the strangest animal in Ohio?

A strange animal in Ohio is found in the state’s rivers and streams. This animal is the lamprey, a blood-sucking animal that attaches its disc-shaped jaw to fish to feast on their blood. There are seven species of lamprey in the state, including the non-native sea lamprey.