Animals In Illinois (A To Z Illinoisan Animals Guide!)

Illinois is home to amazing wildlife within its cities, prairies, Great Plains, and the Eastern Temperate Forest.

Almost sixty known species of animals reside within Illinois borders, ranging from large animals like black bears, cougars, and coyotes to the smallest Pygmy shrews and the Western harvest mouse.

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What is Illinois State Animal?

The state animal of Illinois is the white-tailed deer which is frequently spotted everywhere in the state. It was selected by school children as the official state animal of Illinois in 1980.

The animal gets its name from its white underside and raised tail.



The fauna of Illinois consists of a variety of animals. Since the year 1900, around 60 different species of animals have lived inside the state’s borders, from large animals like coyotes, black bears, and cougars to the smallest mammals such as the western harvest mouse and the pygmy shrew. 


Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois mammals.

Are There Bears in Illinois?

Illinois has ample habitat for bears with its vast acres of natural forests sprawling at more than 300,000 acres. Unfortunately, there are no residential populations of bears in the state; no black bears, no grizzly bears, and polar bears, but there is potential for existing populations from Missouri and Wisconsin to move into the state.

Are There Wolves in Illinois?

There have been no breeding populations of wolves in Illinois, but chances are bright for wandering ones to move inside while looking for new territory. Therefore, there have been numerous sightings of wolves in Illinois.

Are There Wolverines in Illinois?

There have been multiple sightings of wolverines in recent years, but from a breeding standpoint, there are no wolverines in Illinois. The last wolverine sighting in Illinois was back in March this year, and since then the animal has been fitted with a GPS tracker.

Are There Badgers in Illinois?

Badgers are lesser-known creatures and are not seen as often as other mammals in Illinois, though they occupy two-thirds of the state. You may find them in pastures, brushy areas, alfalfa fields, roadsides, and along railroad tracks.

Are There Wild Hedgehogs in Illinois?

Illinois has no wild hedgehogs.

Are There Otters in Illinois?

Otters are a common sight across all counties of Illinois. They rapidly lost their population back in the 80s, when scientists claimed there were only a hundred left in Illinois rivers. Now after state intervention and control of exploitation and trapping of otters, the state has around 20000 otters.

Are There Coyotes in Illinois?

Are There Coywolves in Illinois? Yes, coyotes are abundant in most parts of Illinois state. They have been commonly found in the western, southern, and southeastern parts of the state.

Are There Bats in Illinois?

Yes, there are 13 species of bats found in Illinois which include big brown bat, silvered haired bat, eastern red bat, and little brown bat. All bats in the state are protected under the wildlife act and could not be hunted or shot.

Are Weasels in Illinois?

Yes, weasels are found in Illinois, especially the white-tailed weasels that are present statewide. They are nocturnal carnivores and are found in bushy areas, grasslands, and roadsides. They live inside the burrows and crevices found in the ground.

Are There Moose in Illinois?

Yes, moose have long been living in Illinois but never abundant. They are found in the northern half of the state.

Are There Mule Deer in Illinois?

In northern counties of the Illinois, mule deer are found in rocky mountain areas. They are not abundant and state departments are working to regulate the hunting and conservation of these deer.

Are There Elk in Illinois?

Elks were found throughout Illinois by the early 1800, but today there are no wild Elks in the state. Landowners and farmers have kept some elks in captivity.

Are There Buffalo in Illinois?

No, buffaloes have not been spotted in Illinois since 1800. However, Bison are abundantly present on commercial farms and public land.



Illinois is the home of a number of rodents that include southern flying squirrel, pocket gophers, deer mice, prairie volve, house mice, meadow jumping mice, American beaver, and many more.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois rodents.

Are There Porcupines in Illinois?

You will rarely see a porcupine in Illinois. It is reported that porcupines have lived in the state since the early 1800. After that, deforestation destroyed their habitat and porcupines are no more in Illinois.

Are There Beavers in Illinois?

Yes, beavers can be found throughout Illinois state. In early 1900, they were hunted to extinction for their pellets and in 1950 their population was restored by movement from other states.

Are There Chipmunks in Illinois?

Chipmunks are present throughout Illinois, except in the southeastern part. They are not protected by the wildlife department of the state and can be hunted without a permit.

Are There Squirrels in Illinois?

Yes, Illinois is home to three species of squirrels, and the most common is the thirteen-line ground squirrel.

Are There Prairie Dogs in Illinois?

Prairie dogs are cute but not found in Illinois. They are sometimes confused by the thirteen-lined ground squirrels by people.

Are There Groundhogs in Illinois?

Groundhogs also known as woodchucks are common throughout Illinois. They are the largest rodents found in the southern and western parts of the state.

Are There Gophers in Illinois?

Gophers are present in Illinois, especially in the central one-third of the state. They are most actively seen in the spring and fall when the soil has high moisture. They are usually found in the Mississippi River and south of the Illinois River.

Big Cats

What Big Cats Live in Illinois? The only big cat native to Illinois is Bobcat.

According to scientific wildlife management, there are no cougars, pumas, and black panthers in Illinois, but some residents have found individual cougars crossing their way while traveling to other states.

Most of the big cats have been eliminated from the state due to the destruction of their habitat.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois big cats.

Are There Bobcats in Illinois?

Yes, Bobcats are the only native cats of Illinois according to wildlife management. Bobcats are smaller than cougars.

Are There Mountain Lions in Illinois?

No, there are no mountain lions in Illinois. Some sight reporting by the residents may be due to mistaken identification with other cats.

Are There Panthers in Illinois?

No, there are no panthers in Illinois.

Insects And Other Invertebrates


Illinois state is the home of numerous insects and invertebrates, ranging from wasps to earthworms.

Due to numerous species and diverse habitats, they make up a lion’s share of animals in the state.

Insects and invertebrates of Illinois include ticks, beetles, moths, wasps, centipedes, millipedes, dragonflies, grasshopper, roundworms, goblet worms, horsehair worms, etc.

There are many species of spiders and most of them are not poisonous like jumping spiders, funnel web spiders, wolf spiders, and orb weaver spiders.

However, are there any poisonous spiders in Illinois? Yes, two species named brown recluse and black widow are poisonous spiders found in this state.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois insects and other invertebrates.

Are there Botflies in Illinois?

Yes, there is a prevalence of botflies in different states of America including Illinois. There are also known as warble flies and their larvae are the internal parasites of different animals including horses and deer.

Are there Termites in Illinois?

Yes, termites are found in Illinois. There are nearly 40 species of termites found in America, however, the eastern subterranean termite is common here in Illinois.

Are there Fire Ants in Illinois?

Fire ants are not native to Illinois, but some reporters have shown the presence of these ants on the upper tip of the state.

Are there Ticks in Illinois?

Yes, 15 species of ticks are reported to be found in Illinois. The most common species include deer tick, lone star tick, winter tick, brown dog tick, and American dog tick.

Are there Mosquitoes in Illinois?

There are several types of mosquitoes in Illinois including tree hole mosquito, house mosquito, and Asian tiger mosquito. They vary in their breeding season and the diseases they carry. Mosquito season in Illinois ranges from April to October.

Are there Cicadas in Illinois?

Large-winged insects called cicada are found in Illinois. Two species, dog cicada, and periodical cicada are common in Illinois. Periodical cicada lay down dormant for 17 years and is known to be the longest-living insect.

Are there Tarantulas in Illinois?

Tarantulas are large spiders with hairy bodies, which mostly give a creepy look to most people. Tarantulas are not native to Illinois.

Are there Brown Recluse Spiders in Illinois?

Yes, Recluse brown spiders are common in Illinois. They are one of the poisonous spiders found in America. The venom of a brown recluse destroys the walls of red blood cells; however, bites rarely cause death in humans.

Are there Black Widow Spiders in Illinois?

Yes, Black Widow spiders are found in Illinois. They are poisonous; however, the bite of Black Widow is rarely fatal. Symptoms include severe pain and swelling around the bite, muscle spasms, and achiness.

Reptiles And Amphibians

There are several species of reptiles and amphibians native to Illinois including lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, skinks, race runners, salamanders, and turtles.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois reptiles and amphibians.

Are there Alligators in Illinois?

No, there are no alligators in Illinois according to wildlife management. But are there Alligator Snapping Turtles in Illinois? Yes, Alligator snapping turtle is found in the fresh waters of Illinois and is one of the largest turtle species in the area.

Are There Lizards in Illinois?

Yes, there are eight species of lizards found in Illinois state. Eastern collared lizard, Mediterranean gecko, broad-headed skink, and little brown skink are the common species.

Are There Poisonous Snakes in Illinois?

There are approximately 40 species of snakes found in Illinois. Four of them can be called poisonous snakes that including Copperhead, Cottonmouth Water Moccasin, Timber Rattlesnake, and Eastern Massasauga.

Are There Rattlesnakes in Illinois?

Yes, there is one species of rattlesnakes found in Illinois called the Timber Rattlesnake. It is considered the most poisonous snake in the state.

Are There Copperheads in Illinois?

Yes, Copperhead snakes are one of the venomous snakes of Illinois.

Are there any poisonous frogs in Illinois?

Pickerel frogs are the only poisonous frogs in Illinois state. Their poison can be fatal for most animals. It can produce severe irritation when handled by humans.

Are there leeches in Illinois?

According to the Illinois department of natural resources, leeches are native to Illinois.


There are 450 species of birds found in Illinois, according to the Illinois Ornithological Records Committee.

Most common birds found in the state include Blue Jay, House Finch, Black Capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, Purple Martin, House wren, gray catbird, etc.

Some of the birds can be seen around the year and others in spring and summer. Some birds also fall and winter birds.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois birds.

Are there pelicans in Illinois?

Yes, you can find white pelicans in Illinois. During their migration to nesting areas, pelicans stay in Illinois during March. Some people reported that white pelicans have chosen southwest Illinois as their permanent homes.

Are there ravens in Illinois?

Ravens are rarely found in Illinois. However, crows are permanent residents of Illinois.

Are there bluebirds in Illinois?

The Eastern bluebird is a common specie of bird found throughout Illinois. They usually come to Illinois during their breeding season, which starts in February and ends in March. They can be seen in fields, around the roads, in orchards, and in woodlands.

Are there parrots in Illinois?

Parrots are not commonly found in Illinois. Monk parakeets were spotted in the northern and western suburbs.

Are there eagles in Illinois?

Yes, eagles spend their winter in Illinois each year. Most commonly, you can see bald eagles in their natural habitats. It is reported that the population of eagles is growing in Illinois.

Are there owls in Illinois?

Yes, barred owls and short-ear owls are found in Illinois. They can be seen at dusk in the forested area and in urban areas with a high number of trees.

Are there vultures in Illinois?

Yes, vultures are the summer migrants of Illinois. Two species of vultures found in the state are Turkey vultures and Black vultures. Turkey’s vultures can be identified by their red bald heads.

Are there woodpeckers in Illinois?

Yes, woodpeckers are found throughout Illinois. Northern flickers and red-headed are two common migratory woodpecker species, but individual birds can be seen throughout the years.

Are there hawks in Illinois?

Illinois state is the home of 9 different species of hawks that include the Red-Tailed Hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Harrier, Red-Shouldered Hawk, Sharp-Shinned Hawk, Broad-Winged Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Goshawks, and Swanson’s Hawk. The red-tailed hawk is the most common one.

Are there falcons in Illinois?

Yes, 3 species of falcons are there in Illinois which include Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrel, and Merlin. Peregrine falcon is the most common species.


Illinois is full of lakes and has around 189 species of fish. The waters of the Illinois state are brimming with bass, catfish, bluegill, wall eye, and a variety of other species.

Due to easy access to water and a large population of fish, there are many opportunities for fishing and enjoying the serene environment.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Illinois fishes.

Are there armadillos in Illinois?

Yes, Illinois is the home of a few hundred armadillos. According to Illinois natural history survey, It is recognized as a new species in Illinois. Armadillos are mostly found in the western half of the state.

Is there gar in Illinois?

Yes, there are four types of gars found in Illinois that include spotted, long nose, short nose, and alligator gars. These are not very commonly found in Illinois because they need 11+ years to get mature to reproduce.

Are there sharks in the Illinois river?

Sharks are very rare in the rivers of Illinois. Back in 1937 two bull sharks were captured by fishermen in the Mississippi River. Bull sharks can live in both salt and fresh water. However, sharks are not native to Illinois.

Are there crayfish(shellfish) in Illinois?

Yes, red swamp crayfish are native to Illinois. They are found in the southern and western tip of the state, however, invasive to the areas out of their range.

Illinois Dangerous Animals

When there is a huge population of animals in a state, some of them can be dangerous too! Scorpions came to mind first when we think about dangerous animals. Are there scorpions in Illinois? Yes, many species of scorpion are found in Illinois.

Here is a list of dangerous animals found in Illinois.

  • Timber Rattlesnake
  • Brown recluse spider
  • Black Widow spider
  • Striped bark scorpion

What is the animal that causes the most deaths in Illinois state? Black widow spider and timber rattlesnake are believed to cause most deaths in Illinois.

How to get an exotic animal license in Illinois?

To get the exotic animal license in Illinois, you need to apply to the local Illinois department of natural resources by filling out a form.

Zoos In Illinois

What animals can you hunt in Illinois?

Anyone who wants to hunt in Illinois needs to first complete the hunter’s safety education and have a hunting license.

Here is a list of animals you can hunt in Illinois.

  • Badger
  • Beaver
  • Bobcat
  • Coyote
  • Gray fox
  • Mink
  • Muskrat
  • Opossum
  • Raccoon
  • Red fox
  • River otter
  • Striped skunk
  • Weasels
  • Woodchuck

Are there any national parks in Illinois?

No, Illinois is one of the American states that does not have national parks. However, there are 5 national park sites run by the National Park Service in the state.

Are there any Indian reservations in Illinois?

No, there are no more state-recognized Indian tribes in Illinois. They have not been extinct, but were forced to Indian reservations In Oklahoma by the American government.

Are there any travel restrictions in Illinois?

There are no bans on traveling in the state. However, citizens who are 5 years of age or old should be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccines. After traveling from the counties with higher prevalence, quarantine for 5 days is advised.  

Final Words

Illinois is the home of hundreds of species of animals that include a variety of insects, birds, reptiles, and fishes. While traveling through the wild areas and parks of the states, you can witness the diversity of animals this state has.

Preserving the habitat of these animals and keeping their welfare in mind is a prerequisite to maintain this biodiversity.

SmallPetsX.Com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim to help small pet owners understand their pets a little better so that they can provide their pets with the life they deserve. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.

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