Discover the 8 Official State Animals of Alabama

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: May 7, 2023
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Symbolism is important to every state’s sense of individuality in the United States. For that reason, states assign several symbols that best define their region. Sometimes, that includes a phrase that encapsulates the residents’ beliefs or even different types of rocks. Frequently, states will even claim official animals that live in their state or have influenced them in some way. Find out about the 8 official state animals of Alabama and learn why they’re so revered!

1. Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle

Northern Red-Bellied Cooter (Pseudemys rubriventris)

Preservation efforts are helping the population of this turtle rebound.


The first creature on the list of official state animals of Alabama is the Alabama red-bellied turtle. This turtle is the official reptile in the state. They can measure anywhere between 8 and 14 inches long, and they are often found in the southwestern portion of the state.

It’s easy to identify these turtles according to their red bellies and the red edges of their shells when viewed from above. These turtles are endangered, but people are undertaking efforts to save them.

2. American Black Bear

American black bear

Black bears can be dangerous mammals.

©Ghost Bear/

The state legislature designated the American black bear as the state mammal in 2006. These bears are moderately sized, measuring between 4 feet and 6 feet long and weighing from 90 to 600 pounds at their largest. The biggest American black bear ever caught in Alabama weighed about 315 pounds.

These bears are not the most dangerous species, but they do pose a threat to people. about one fatal black bear attack occurs per year in North America. Typically, these animals are skittish, but they can attack for several reasons. For example, cornering a black bear or getting between a mother bear and her cubs can make the bears attack.

Learning how to stay safe in places with a high population of bears is necessary to ensure safe hiking and camping. Oftentimes, that includes purposefully making noise, properly storing food, and learning to keep one’s distance and respect the wild animals.

3. Atlantic Tarpon

The Atlantic tarpon is the state saltwater fish of Alabama

The Atlantic tarpon is a sizable saltwater fish.


The Atlantic tarpon is the state saltwater fish of Alabama. Not every state has access to saltwater areas to declare a state saltwater fish, but Alabama is right on the Gulf Coast. These ray-finned fish can get quite large. The biggest members of the species ever seen measured 8 feet 2 inches long and weighed 355 pounds. However, these fish rarely measure over 100 pounds.

These fish live near the coastal waters and rivers in Alabama and other states along the Gulf Coast.

4. Yellowhammer

Northern Flicker

The northern flicker goes by many names, including Yellowhammer.

©Fiona M. Donnelly/

The yellowhammer goes by many names, including the northern flicker. These woodpeckers are known for their diverse and imitable calls. The bird became the state bird of Alabama in 1927. Apparently, a company of Civil War soldiers showed up at a battle wearing uniforms with yellow cloth at the sleeves and coattails, resembling the birds.

5. Wild Turkey

Wild turkey is an official state animal of Alabama.

Turkeys can see better than humans.

© Winkler

The wild turkey is an official state animal of Alabama. Specifically, it’s the official game bird of the state. The Eastern wild turkey received this honor in 1980. This creature is known for its large size, weighing upwards of 24 pounds and growing about 4 feet long at its greatest measure.

At first glance, this may seem like an unusual creature to name as the official game bird of a state. However, the state of Alabama has a very high population of turkeys compared to other states. Officials estimate that over 300,000 of these birds live throughout the state. The omnivorous creatures live throughout open forests and similar areas where they can find cover and safety.

6. Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass on ice

Largemouth bass are some of the most prized freshwater fish in Alabama.


Alabama’s official state animal in the category of freshwater fish is the largemouth bass. These fish are some of the most popular fish to catch in many parts of the United States. They are somewhat easy to catch, sizable, and look great in pictures when an angler holds them by their large mouths.

Alabama is a very popular place for people to go to catch these fish. The state has many great places to catch largemouth bass, and the biggest one ever caught in the state was 16 pounds 8 ounces.

These freshwater fish like to live near man-made structures, below docks, along rocky shorelines, and more. They are a ubiquitous sight in the lakes and rivers of the South.

7. Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly is the official insect of Alabama

One of the most well-known types of


, the monarch, is recognized for its distinct color patterns.


The monarch butterfly is the official insect of Alabama. These beautiful insects find their way to Alabama in the spring and fall when they migrate through the area. Monarch butterflies have black, orange, and white wings. Also, they’re rather somewhat large butterflies with a maximum wingspan of about 4 inches.

Unfortunately, migratory monarch butterflies are an endangered species. That means it is becoming increasingly rare to find in Alabama.

8. Red Hills Salamander

Phaeognathus hubrichii

The Red Hills


lives in burrows.

©United States Geographical Survey / public domain – License

The Red Hills salamander is a long amphibian that is endemic to Alabama. These creatures can grow between 8 to 10 inches in length! They’re common in the south-central part of the state, near the Alabama River and the Conecuh River.

They’re dark brown amphibians that burrow into the sandy loam to stay safe. In addition to being one of the official state animals of Alabama, they are an endangered species.  

Alabama’s various official state animals range from incredibly common to those with a storied past. These eight symbols of the state have been collected over a long time, and the list of them could continue to grow in the future.  

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Menno Schaefer/

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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