Discover The 7 Largest Animals In Vermont, and Where You’ll Find Them

Written by Kyle Glatz
Published: September 9, 2022
© iStock.com/RONSAN4D
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Vermont is often considered one of the most beautiful states for its mountainous areas covered in beautiful foliage. Not only does it have amazing hiking trails to help people experience nature, it also has many protected areas. Of course, having all these wild areas means that many different kinds of animals call this place home, including a few large, dangerous species. In this article, we’ll show you seven of the largest animals in Vermont and tell you where to find them.

What Are The 7 Largest Animals in Vermont?

The largest animals in Vermont are moose and black bears, but they’re not the only ones we want to talk about. Instead, we’ll focus on animals from different groups like mammals, amphibians, and insects. That way, we get a better overview of the various sorts of creatures that live in this part of the country and how large they get.  

1. Lake Sturgeon

sturgeon in aquarium
The lake sturgeon is endangered in Vermont.

©Geermy/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeLocation
Acipenser fulvescens6-7 feet longSolely in Lake Champlain and its tributaries.

The lake sturgeon is the largest fish in the state, measuring between 6 and 7 feet long and weighing several hundred pounds in some cases. Unfortunately, they are not very widespread throughout the state. If you want to see one of these endangered creatures, it’s only in one spot: Lake Champlain and its immediate tributaries.

Lake sturgeon are known for their spade-shaped head, long bodies, small dorsal fin near their tail, and dark coloring on their dorsal side.  

2. Trumpeter Swan

Trumpeter Swan at Crex Meadows
Trumpeter swans are the largest birds native to Vermont.

©Florence-Joseph McGinn/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeLocation
Cygnus buccinator6-8.1 feet wingspanTypically found near lakes, ponds, and other wetlands in northwestern Vermont.

The trumpeter swan is one of the largest animals in Vermont, and it’s the largest waterfowl in the entire country. These swans are large white creatures with black bills that are easily spotted in a crowd. These birds have a wingspan that reaches upwards of 8 feet in length, and that’s one of the largest of any bird in the state.

These birds are not always seen throughout the state. Instead, they are mostly found in the northwestern portion of Vermont near lakes, ponds, and other wetlands.

3. Moose

The moose mostly lives in the northeastern part of Vermont.

©Donna Dewhurst / Public Domain

Scientific NameSizeLocation
Alces alces7-10 feet in lengthFound in central and eastern Vermont, especially in the northeast near forested areas by ponds and lakes.

Moose are the largest animals in Vermont, and they are among some of the biggest mammals in the eastern U.S. A moose can measure 10 feet in length, stand between 4 and 7 feet tall, and weigh over 1,000 pounds. It can charge and kill humans with ease, but that is not a common occurrence.

They mostly live in the northeastern part of the state where they thrive in forested habitats that are located near water. These habitats are close to many different bodies of water including lakes, streams, ponds, and others. It is imperative to stay clear of these creatures and watch for them on the roads. After all, a moose versus car collision is never a good thing.  

4. Eastern Rat Snake

Black Rat snake in Virginia's Caledon State Park. These are large, non-venomous snakes between 3.5 and 7 feet (one and two meters) long.
Black Rat snakes are large, non-venomous snakes between 3.5 and 6 feet long.

©Realest Nature/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeLocation
Pantherophis alleghaniensis5-6 feet longFound throughout the state in outbuildings, forests, fields, and rocky areas.

The eastern rat snake is the longest snake that lives in Vermont, measuring about 5 to 6 feet in length, with rare specimens ranging over 7 feet. It is usually black with a light-colored belly, but several morphs of its color exist. Eastern rat snakes live in a variety of places throughout the state.

However, this species has the most confirmed sightings in the western central portion of Vermont. They are frequently seen in and around homes, buildings, forests, and fields. They travel to find prey like birds, eggs, and rodents. If you encounter one of these snakes, it’s best to leave it alone.

They aren’t venomous, but they’re not afraid to release their musk or bite if the situation calls for it.

5. Common Mudpuppy

Red River Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) in a rocky stream.
The common mudpuppy is a nocturnal amphibian.
Scientific NameSizeLocation
Necturus maculosus8-17 inchesRarely seen in the state, but they have been found in ponds, lakes, and rivers throughout the state. 

Despite being a rare creature in Vermont, the common mudpuppy has a range that includes all but the northeastern portions of the state. It lives in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water, and is a nocturnal creature, so it is even harder to find.

Common mudpuppies may not be the largest animals in Vermont, but they’re still the largest amphibian in the area. They usually live beneath some kind of debris on the bottom of a body of water, like logs. That keeps them safe from their numerous predators.

6. Cecropia Moth 

A cecropia moth is sitting on a huge maple leaf. The Cecropia moth is the largest and heaviest moth in North America.
The Cecropia moth is the largest and heaviest moth in Vermont.

©Cathy Keifer/Shutterstock.com

Scientific NameSizeLocation
Hyalophora cecropia5-7 inchesFound in deciduous hardwood forests, suburban, and urban areas.

The Cecropia moth is a large silk moth with gorgeous colors integrated into its body and wings. It is usually found in deciduous woodlands along with urban and suburban areas. This moth is known for its especially large wingspan which measures between 5 and 7 inches, making it one of the largest flying insects in the country.

They’re not especially common in Vermont, but they have been found in every county in the state. Cecropia moths have reddish bodies and wings that are patterned with stripes of red, tan, white, and potentially other colors.

7. Dark Fishing Spider

dark fishing spider
The dark fishing spider is the biggest spider in Vermont.

©iStock.com/JasonOndreicka

Scientific NameSizeLocation
Dolomedes Tenebrosus3-4.5 inchesLives in wooded areas near water and in structures in those areas.

The dark fishing spider is the biggest spider in Vermont. It is known for hunting aquatic insects, tadpoles, and even small fish. These spiders can run across the water and dive below the water’s surface.

They’re often spotted in wooded areas and fields near water. Dark fishing spiders are also seen on docks and boats as well. Although they’re scary to run into, they’re not harmful to people. Their bite will cause pain but little else.

We’ve looked at a variety of the largest animals in Vermont. Most of them are hard to find while others are not the type of creature you can approach. However, it’s always helpful to be aware of the animals that share the land with you. Make sure you give wild animals of all kinds the proper respect when you encounter them. Sometimes, that means you need to leave the area to remain safe.  

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The Featured Image

What do moose eat
Bull moose (Alces alces) feeds on fall foliage (Dwarf Birch) in the Denali Nat'l Park, Alaska.
© iStock.com/RONSAN4D

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About the Author

I'm a freelance writer with 8 years of experience. I've written in a variety of niches such as video games, animals, and managed service providers. I graduated from Rowan University in 2014 with degrees in English and Education. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games, reading, and writing for fun.

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