Discover the 4 Official State Animals of Minnesota

Written by Niccoy Walker
Updated: October 11, 2023
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4 Official State Animal of Minnesota
Minnesotans agree that these four amazing animals represent their state well.

While state symbols may seem trivial, residents take pride in the flora and fauna that represent their hometown. It’s funny to think that at one time, locals engaged in heated debates over what fruit or amphibian best depicts the region. Take Minnesota, for instance. The Assembly has yet to decide on an official state animal, but their state muffin was designated in 1988 (it’s blueberry, by the way). If you’re curious about the other official symbols, check out the four official state animals of Minnesota, including five proposed options. 

Minnesota hasn’t officially decided on a state animal, but they do have a state bee, bird, butterfly, and fish.

1. Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee – State Bee

Rusty patched bumblebee

Their population is currently on the decline, with threats including increased development (residential, commercial, industrial), and climate change.


The rusty-patched bumble bee is a species endemic to North America, particularly the Upper Midwest and the East. They can be identified by the reddish-brown patch on their abdomen. Their numbers have declined 87% in their range, placing them in the “critically endangered” category. These large bumblebees build their nests underground, usually in old rodent burrows, where they can house over two thousand individuals.

Rusty-patched bumble bees became the state bee of Minnesota in 2019 to raise awareness about pollinators in the state’s ecosystem and to preserve their habitats. You can find them in Minnesota’s grasslands and prairies.

2. The Loon – State Bird

Birds that look like ducks: Common Loon


common loon

is an aquatic diving bird native to North America. They became the state bird in 1961 due to their abundant populations.


Loons are aquatic diving birds native to North America and Europe. These appear like ducks, but they belong to different families. The common loon is a large black and white loon with red eyes. They can grow up to three feet long and feature a five-foot wingspan. And they are somewhat clumsy on their feet but feature swift flying capabilities. Loons can also dive underwater up to 90 feet. But they are best known around the state for their creepy calls and wails. In 1961, the common loon became the state bird of Minnesota due to its abundant populations on northern lakes during the summer months.

3. The Monarch – State Butterfly

A fourth-grade class in Mahtomedi nominated the Monarch as a state symbol. And it was designated as Minnesota’s state


in April 2000.

©Media Marketing/

The Monarch butterfly is one of North America’s most easily recognizable species, with its bright orange, black, and white wings. Monarchs are milkweed butterflies, meaning they lay their eggs on milkweeds. These butterflies are unique because they are one of the few that migrate north to south, similar to birds. Monarchs are summer butterflies of Minnesota, where around four generations will be born during this short time. Only the last generation will make its way to Mexico during the fall. A fourth-grade class in Mahtomedi nominated the Monarch as a state symbol. And it was designated as Minnesota’s state butterfly in April 2000.

4. The Walleye – State Fish

Walleye fish in the St-Lawrence River

Walleye fish

became the official Minnesota state fish in 1965. They are a popular game fish in the clear lakes of northern forests.

©RLS Photo/

The walleye is a freshwater fish native to the Northern United States and Canada. It is a popular game fish in Minnesota and can be found throughout the state’s lakes and rivers. However, they are most prevalent in the cold, clear lakes in northern forests. They also prefer deep water, where they stay during the day. They have pearlescent eyes that are sensitive to bright light and perform better in low-light conditions. At night, you can find them in more shallow waters. 

The average walleye measures between 15 and 20 inches in length and weighs less than three pounds. However, they have the potential to grow up to 42 inches long and weigh nearly 30 pounds. The largest walleye ever caught in Minnesota was 17 pounds and eight ounces. The walleye became the official Minnesota state fish in 1965.

5 Proposed Minnesota Animal Symbols

Proposed state animals are those who have not officially been adopted by the Minnesota legislature. 

  • State amphibian – northern leopard frog
  • State animal or state mammal – white-tailed deer, black bear, eastern timber wolf
  • State reptile – Blanding’s turtle

Other State Symbols of Minnesota

Check out these other Minnesota state symbols.

  • State drink – milk
  • State fruit – Honeycrisp apple
  • State flower – pink lady’s slipper
  • State grain – wild rice
  • State gemstone – agate
  • State sport – ice hockey
  • State muffin – blueberry
  • State mushroom – morel
  • State tree – Norway pine
  • State soil – Lester

Summary of the 4 Official State Animals of Minnesota

Official TitleAnimal
1State BeeRusty-Patched Bumble Bee
2State BirdThe Loon
3State ButterflyThe Monarch
4State FishThe Walleye

The photo featured at the top of this post is © David Byron Keener/

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About the Author

Niccoy is a professional writer for A-Z Animals and her primary focus is on birds, travel, and interesting facts of all kinds. Niccoy has been writing and researching about travel, nature, wildlife, and business for several years and holds a business degree from Florida State College. A resident of Florida, Niccoy enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and spending time at the beach.

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