According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation -- responsible for protecting New York State's wild animal and plant populations -- native New York animals include the bald eagle, black bear, blue jay, bob cat, eastern chipmunk, gray squirrel, Indiana bat, mute swan, osprey, otter, raccoon, red fox, timber rattlesnake and white-tailed deer.
New York State Animals
Each of the states within the US has an official state animal and an official state bird that represent the state.
The official New York state animal is the beaver. The beaver was name the New York state animal in 1975. It was chosen because of the importance that beavers held for early settlers in the area; fur trade and traders settled in the Albany area in the 1600s and established New York as one of the pivotal settlements in America's early history.
The official New York state bird is the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis). The official state freshwater fish is the brook trout and the saltwater counterpart is the striped bass. The state reptile is the snapping turtle and the state insect is the nine-spotted ladybug.
Each of these state animals are native to the area and play an important part in the state's history, culture and environments.
New York State Mammals
Mammals are warm-blooded animals -- meaning they do not rely on an outside source for heat -- with fur. These animals are also capable of giving birth to offspring. Some mammals are carnivorous: black bear, long-tailed weasel, Canada lynx, red fox and river otter.
Other mammals are herbivorous: whitetail deer, moose and beaver. New York has two aerial mammals – little brown bat and Indiana bat – and marine mammals in the Atlantic Ocean near New York's shoreline. New York's marine mammals include sperm whales, blue whales and humpback whales.
The Allegheny wood rat is the only endangered land mammal in New York.
New York's bird species include sea birds and arboreal birds. Arboreal birds – species that usually nest in forests – in New York include the American woodcock, red-headed woodpeckers, sedge wren, and whip-poor-will. Among New York's freshwater wetlands birds are the great blue heron, double-breasted cormorant, and the Canada goose, while the Empire State's seabird population features least terns, seaside sparrows and piping plovers.
The state's carnivorous birds of prey species include the golden eagle, osprey and peregrine falcon. According to the New York State Ornithological Association, New York has more than 467 recorded bird species, as of 2011.
Amphibians and Reptiles
Amphibians and reptiles are two cold-blooded animal classes that depend on oxygen to breathe. These animals rely on an outside source to heat their bodies; the outside source is usually the sun or locations with warm temperatures.
Both amphibians and reptiles lay eggs. However, reptiles have thick, scaly skin and toe claws, while amphibians have moist, glandular skin and no claws on their toes. New York's amphibian species include the eastern tiger salamander, northern cricket frog, bullfrog and eastern hellbender – New York's largest amphibian at nearly 3 feet long.
Most of New York's reptiles are turtles – Atlantic Ridley sea turtle and eastern mud turtle – or snakes – timber rattlesnake, common garter snake and copperhead.
New York's freshwater fish live in the state's lakes – Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes – and rivers – Hudson River, St. Lawrence River and Susquehanna River. All fish are cold-blooded and have gills to breath in their aquatic environment.
New York's fish species include:
Most of New York's endangered animal species are fish, which may be attributed to overfishing and loss of habitat. Some of New York's endangered fish species are the pugnose shiner, round whitefish, bluebreast darter and deepwater sculpin.
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: Allegheny Woodrat
- New York State Ornithological Association: Breeding Bird Atlas
- State University of New York College of Environment Science and Forestry: Snakes of New York
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: Endangered and Threatened Fishes of New York
- New York State Library: New York State Animal
- State Symbols USA: Symbols of New York
About the Author
Skip Davis has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has appeared in "Southern Literary Magazine," on various websites and in graphic panels at the Jackson Zoological Park in Jackson, Miss. Currently living in Southern California, Davis received his Bachelor of Arts in theater at Belhaven College.