Discover The 10 Largest Animals In Louisiana, and Where You’ll Find Them

Written by Hannah Ward
Updated: July 18, 2023
© Pankratov
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Louisiana is a fascinating and diverse state situated along the Gulf of Mexico. It has a vast range of habitats with rich uplands, coastal marshes, and barrier islands. However, it is perhaps best known for its many swamps and wetlands – many of which are located within the alluvial region that was created by the mighty Mississippi River. These diverse habitats are home to thousands of different animals, both large and small. But just how big can they get? Join us as we discover 10 of the largest animals in Louisiana!

Of all of Louisiana’s animals, this is a list of the top 10!

1. Wood Stork

wood stork flying
Wood storks are huge birds with a 6-foot wingspan

©Breck P Kent/

One of the biggest birds and largest animals in Louisiana is the wood stork, which stands approximately 3 to 4 feet tall and has a wingspan of 5.5 to 6 feet. Wood storks typically have white bodies with black edges to their wings and tail. They have bald heads and necks with dark grey scaly skin. Wood storks feed mainly on fish, crabs, frogs, and insects. They are wading birds and live in wetlands across the Americas. However, they need the water to be fairly shallow so that they can forage successfully. In Louisiana, Wood storks commonly live in the southwest region. Here they inhabit bayous and crayfish ponds – particularly in the Atchafalaya Basin.

2. Eastern Hercules Beetle

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Eastern Hercules beetles are around 2.5 inches long, and males have large horns.


With green, tan, or grey bodies and black markings, eastern Hercules beetles certainly have a distinctive appearance. They are typically up to 2.5 inches long, with males being larger than females. As they are a species of rhinoceros beetle, males also have large, forward-pointing horns. These use their horns for fighting against other males for the right to breed with the females – much like male deer use their antlers. Eastern Hercules beetles live in forests across the eastern part of the United States. As adults they eat tree sap and rotting fruit. While as larvae, they inhabit and eat dead and decaying deciduous trees. Eastern Hercules beetles are generally found in any suitable forest in Louisiana.

3. Bull Shark

Bull shark in Caribbean sea.
Louisiana rivers are home to deadly bull sharks, which can weigh 500 pounds.

©Carlos Grillo/

One of the largest animals in Louisiana is undoubtedly the bull shark. Reaching up to 13 feet long and usually weighing up to 500 pounds, bull sharks are large, aggressive sharks with a notorious reputation. Generally agreed to be one of the most dangerous sharks in the world along with the great white, bull sharks are famed for their part in the deadly Jersey Shore attacks which were the inspiration for Jaws. One of these attacks took place in a creek which is something that bull sharks are famous for – their ability to tolerate fresh and brackish water. In fact, this is why they are particularly common around Louisiana – they don’t just swim in its coastal waters, but also miles upriver and even in the bayous too!

4. Louisiana Black Bear

Louisiana black bears are one of the largest mammals in the state, reaching approximately 550 pounds.

©DaBler / Creative Commons

One of the largest animals in Louisiana, and the largest land mammal in the state, is the Louisiana black bear, a subspecies of the American black bear. Capable of reaching 550 pounds, they are physically very similar to the main species, albeit with a slightly longer and narrower head. Although black bears usually live in forest regions with thick vegetation, Louisiana black bears are noted for their ability to live in habitats outside of what is considered “typical”. Currently, they often inhabit areas in the Atchafalaya Basin and near Tensas River. Like American black bears, Louisiana black bears are omnivorous and eat a range of grass, nuts, seeds, insects, and white-tailed deer fawns.

5. Eastern Lubber

Animals With Exoskeletons-Grasshopper
Eastern lubbers can reach 3 inches long.


One of the largest insects in Louisiana is the eastern lubber grasshopper, or the “Devil’s Horse”. Eastern lubbers are 2.5 to 3 inches long and can be black with red and yellow stripes or orange with black markings. They also have wings that can be up to half the length of their bodies and are often too small for flight. Eastern lubbers prefer wet pastures and woodlands where they feed on a wide range of plants. In Louisiana, they are most often found in the southern region of the state.

6. Louisiana Pine Snake

Louisiana Pinesnake
Louisiana Pine Snakes are constrictors that squeeze their prey in order to subdue it.

©Daniel Saenz / public domain – License

One of the longest snakes in the state is the Louisiana pine snake, which can reach 5.8 feet. It is typically a yellowish color and has a range of dark brown spots and blotches on its body. Louisiana pine snakes are not venomous and kill by constriction. Their main diet consists of Baird’s pocket gophers, but they also eat rodents, rabbits, frogs, and birds. Louisiana pine snakes are native to Louisiana and Texas where they typically live in pine forests. Louisiana pine snakes rely heavily on the burrow systems of Baird’s pocket gophers, which the snakes frequently use. Unfortunately, these snakes are endangered and are one of the rarest snakes in the whole of North America. In Louisiana they are currently only in Bienville Parish, Fort Polk, and around Peason Ridge.

7. Whooping Crane

one of the largest animals in Louisiana is the whooping crane which stands up to 5ft 3in tall
Whooping cranes are some of the tallest birds in North America, standing approximately 5 feet tall.

©William Cushman/

Another large bird in the state is the whooping crane, which has a massive wingspan of 6 feet, 7 inches to 7 feet, 7 inches. They are huge white birds with a red patch on the top of their heads and long, dark legs. Whooping cranes are also incredibly tall and stand between 4 feet and 5 feet, 3 inches high. They are well known for their loud and distinctive whooping calls which can be heard from several miles away.

Whooping cranes are omnivorous and eat a range of aquatic vegetation, insects, fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and birds. They are an endangered species and were once widespread across North America before they were hunted almost to extinction. They have recovered somewhat, and their population is now estimated to be more than 800 birds. Whooping cranes inhabit wetlands, mudflats, and wet prairies. Currently, approximately 80 of these birds are in White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area.

8. Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Discover The 12 Largest Venomous Snakes in the World! Poster Image
Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes can reach 8 feet long and weigh up to 34 pounds.

©Chase D’animulls/

The largest and heaviest snake in Louisiana is the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, which reaches a maximum of 8 feet long and 34 pounds. It is typically a brown or yellowish-brown color overlaid with dark brown or black diamond markings. Eastern diamondbacks are one of the most dangerous of all venomous snakes in North America. This is because of the large amount of highly potent venom that they contain and the long fangs that they possess to inject it with. They are ambush predators and prey on small mammals and birds.

Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes are endemic to the southeastern region of the US where they live in pine forests, sandhills, swamps, and prairies. They also often inhabit the burrows made by desert tortoises and gophers. In Louisiana they typically inhabit the most southeastern regions.

9. Bottlenose Dolphin

one of the largest aniamls in Louisiana is the bottlenose dolphin which is also the largest mammal in the state
Bottlenose dolphins often come within 150 feet of the shore in Louisiana.


Reaching 13 feet long and averaging 660 pounds, bottlenose dolphins are the largest mammals and one of the largest animals in Louisiana. These fascinating animals are highly intelligent and have incredible memories. In fact, scientists have discovered that they can recognize their mate even after 20 years apart! Bottlenose dolphins are highly social animals, and they live in large groups known as pods. They inhabit warm and temperate waters almost everywhere in the world and regularly frequent the waters around Louisiana. They can often be observed as close as 150 feet to the shore. Some of the best places to see them are Barataria Bay and Grand Isle.

10. American Alligator

the largest animal in Louisiana is the American alligator
There are around 2 million alligators in Louisiana and the largest was 19 feet long.

© Pankratov

The largest animal in Louisiana is the state reptile – the American alligator. With its many swamps and wetlands, the state is the perfect habitat for them. Therefore, it’s no surprise that there are around 2 million of them in the state alone, which is the largest population of alligators in the entire United States. American alligators typically reach 11 to 16 feet long. However, the largest ever found in Louisiana was an immense 19 feet 2 inches long and weighed an estimated 2,000 pounds. Although alligators live all over the state, the Atchafalaya Basin is one of the best places to see them.

Summary of the 10 Largest Animals In Louisiana, and Where You’ll Find Them

1Wood Stork
2Eastern Hercules Beetle
3Bull Shark
4Louisiana Black Bear
5Eastern Lubber
6Louisiana Pine Snake
7Whooping Crane
8Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
9Bottlenose Dolphin
10American Alligator

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About the Author

I have been writing professionally for several years with a focus on animals and wildlife. I love spending time in the outdoors and when not writing I can be found on the farm surrounded by horses, dogs, sheep, and pigs.

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