The state of Oregon in the United States has mountains, deserts, and areas of thick forest. This is part of the reason why the state is home to such a varied collection of wildlife. Along with the 139 species of mammals in the state, there are four species of mammals native to Oregon and not found anywhere else. These four include Baird’s shrew, Pacific shrew, camas pocket gopher, and the red tree vole.
The Official Animal of Oregon
In 1969, the American beaver (Castor canadensis) became the official animal of the state of Oregon. Of course, the beaver is a common sight in the state. But these mammals also serve a specific purpose in helping the environment. Their habitat includes rivers, streams, and lakes where they build intricate dams. These dams slow down water flow which creates floodplains and ponds. These new floodplains and ponds serve as habitats for other animals. Also, beaver dams cut down on excessive soil erosion that can harm the environment.
Where to Find the Top Wild Animals in Oregon
A lot of the wildlife in Oregon make their home near the Willamette River. Some of the mammals visitors can see on this river include beavers, black-tailed deer, minks, and otters. A variety of fish are native to the Willamette River including rainbow trout, walleye, crappie, and catfish among many others.
The desert region of Oregon is home to a lot of well-known wild animals as well. A few of the mammals living there include mule deer, cottontail rabbits, elks, red foxes, and cougars. Some of the birds that inhabit the desert include yellow warblers, sage grouse, quail, swallows, and western meadowlarks. Desert rodents include the Ord’s kangaroo rat, canyon mouse, and the California vole.
You may spot some of these animals as you hike one of the many breathtaking mountains of Oregon. Some recommended locations in Oregon to observe wildlife include:
- Silver Falls State Park
- Oswald West State Park
- Sarah Helmick State Park
- Champoeg State Park
- Harris Beach State Park
- Clearwater Park
Where to Visit Zoos in Oregon
Visiting zoos in the state of Oregon is a great way to see native wildlife and other strange and interesting animals.
The Most Dangerous Animals in Oregon Today
Just like any other state, Oregon has its share of dangerous wildlife and fierce predators. Anyone visiting the state should be aware of them and remember to treat all animals with respect. Check out the most dangerous animals in Oregon today.
- Mountain lions also called cougars are found throughout the state of Oregon but are especially plentiful in the Blue Mountains. These agile predators grow to three feet tall and males can weigh up to 220 pounds. Mountain lions are apt to move away from humans and hide to avoid an encounter. But they can become aggressive especially when humans approach their cubs or their den. These are strong, fast animals with the power to seriously injure a human. However, death is the rarest result of an encounter with a mountain lion. In fact, only one death due to a mountain lion attack has been recorded in the past 20 years.
- Western rattlesnakes are also on the list of dangerous animals living in Oregon. They are venomous and can grow as long as five feet. As predators, their venom is powerful enough to kill their prey of rodents and amphibians. But it is not deadly to most healthy humans. In some cases, the snake doesn’t release venom when it bites a human. This is a strange occurrence called a dry bite. This snake knows it can’t eat a human, so it doesn’t want to waste its venom. Makes good sense! However, this snake’s bite is painful and does require medical treatment.
- Black widow spiders are also dangerous animals living in Oregon. These are venomous spiders that live around people in the basements or garages of homes. A bite from this spider can affect a person’s nervous system causing fever, tremors, sweating and other symptoms. Fortunately, the amount of venom released isn’t enough to kill a human, but a black widow spider bite does require medical attention. In 2018, there were a little over 1,000 black widow spider bites reported with no resulting deaths. Bites from this spider usually occur when someone reaches into a dark corner of a basement or garage and accidently disturbs the spider’s web. Otherwise, this arachnid stays hidden from view most of the time.
Endangered Animals in Oregon
Oregon endangered (or vulnerable) animals include:
- Oregon silverspot butterfly – Since 1980, there’s been a decrease in the population of this rust brown butterfly with its distinctive silver spots. Its population has decreased due to loss of habitat.
- Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly – This black butterfly has a memorable orange and white checkered pattern on its wings. Its population has been decreasing due to loss of habitat.
- Short-tailed Albatross (Vulnerable) – This seabird with the strange, curved beak and huge wingspan is categorized as vulnerable. These birds become entangled in commercial fishing nets and die as a result. This has greatly decreased their population.
- Lost River Sucker – This fish was first categorized as endangered in 1988. Water pollution and loss of habitat are both reasons for the decrease in population.
- Oregon Giant Earthworm – One of the rarest earthworms, the Oregon Giant earthworm is usually found in the Willamette Valley. Habitat loss is the reason for their decrease in population.
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Oregonian Animals List
Animals in Oregon FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What kind of animals does Oregon have?
Oregon has a variety of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Some of its most well-known animals include elk, beavers, black bear, mountain lions, otters, hoary bats, Pacific shrew, brush rabbits, western toads, coastal tailed frogs, western painted turtles and western rattlesnakes and quail.
The burrowing owl is another notable wild animal in Oregon. Oftentimes, these owls live in burrows and tunnels created by ground squirrels. Of course, if none are available, these owls are experts at burrowing their own tunnels. These owls are unique in that they move around during the daytime.
What kind of dangerous animals live in Oregon?
Dangerous animals living in Oregon include mountain lions, western rattlesnakes, and black widow spiders. Fortunately, death is the rarest result of a human’s encounter with any of these animals.
What spiders are in Oregon?
Oregon is home to dozens of spider species, with a difference in species between its coastal regions and the eastern half of the state. Spiders in the state include mouse spiders, western black widows, giant crab spiders, giant house spiders, and long-palped ant mimic sac spiders.
What is the most common animal in Oregon?
The most common animal living in Oregon is the American beaver. Beavers are the biggest rodents in North America. Scientists estimate the population of the beaver in Oregon at between 10 and 50 million.
Do sharks live off the coast of Oregon?
Yes, there are sharks off the Oregon Coast. Shark attacks are very rare, but they do happen. Check out 7 Oregon areas with the most shark attacks.