Lions, tigers, and bears-oh my!!  Frogs, turtles, spiders-eek!  Birds, butterflies, worms-How fun!  Let’s go see what creatures we can find in our backyards!

A northern saw whet owl starring at camera.
13-lined Ground Squirrel
Sometimes called "Federation Squirrels" because the pattern on their back looks like stars and stripes.
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Gypsy moth
When Gypsy moths have an "outbreak," the caterpillars defoliate trees (eat all the leaves).
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sea lamprey in an aquarium with their mouths attached to the aquarium glass
Sea lampreys are members of an ancient family of "jawless fishes" that were around before the dinosaurs.
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a huge pile of zebra mussel shells
These invasive critters remove incredible amounts of food from the water.
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The American Bald Eagle
We all know the bald eagle as a national symbol with its distinctive "bald" white head.
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American Goldfinch on a branch
The male goldfinch, easily recognized in the summer by its yellow body and black wings.
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an American Kestrel perching on a branch
This small falcon is sometimes called the "sparrow hawk."
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American Toad
Learn facts about the American Toad.
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American Tree Sparrow on a tree branch
Sparrows are common winter residents of southern Wisconsin.
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White pelicans on edge of water
Believe it or not, these once-scarce pouched birds are now appearing in ever-growing numbers in Wisconsin.
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Aphids on milkweed
Aphids come in a variety of colors - yellow, red, black, etc.
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illustration of an aquatic sowbug
The isopod is a scavenger that uses its seven pairs of legs to move around.
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a group of aquatic springtails
Just like people at a mall, these tiny wingless insect-like creatures mill around in huge numbers.
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illustration of backswimmer as seen from above
The name of this critter describes it perfectly.
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Barred Owl
Whoooo is this owl with such a strange name? Let's find out.
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Brown Bat
Bats belong to a special group of flying mammals called Chiroptera.
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Little bat on a hand
Here's the scoop on Wisconsin's bats.
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Beaver
The beaver holds the title for being the largest rodent in North America.
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Black Bear
It is rare that you will come in contact with a bear unless you are near bear country.
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Black-capped Chickadee
Chick-a-dee-dee, chick-a-dee-dee-dee.
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Blanchard's cricket frog in the mud
Learn more about the Blanchard's Cricket Frog.
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Blanding's Turtle on a log
Wildlife watching at a wetland area is a fun summer time activity.
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Blue jay in tree
Everyone knows the blue jay and its angry "ki-ki-ki" or "j-j-j" call.
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Blue-spotted salamander on a rock
This colorful critter is one of three Wisconsin species of mole salamanders.
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illustration of a bluegill by Virgil Beck
Bluegill are the most common sunfish in Wisconsin.
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Bobcat
What has a stubby "bobbed" tail, sideburns, spiky ear hair and gets called lots of names?
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Bobolink
This colorful bird is well suited to life in the prairie. Its tan, black and white markings hide it well in the yellow-tan grasses.
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Boreal chorus frog
Learn more about the Boreal Chorus Frog.
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front end of a bristle worm
These tiny, uncommon animals have pairs of bristles on each segment. They are sometimes called feather duster worms!
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illustration of a brook trout by Virgil Beck
This brightly colored fish is Wisconsin's only native stream trout.
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illustration of a brown bullhead by Virgil Beck
The bullhead is an interesting, smooth-skinned fish.
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Butler's Gartersnake
The Butler's gartersnake is very hard to tell apart from its cousin, the plains gartersnake.
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Monarch butterfly on Black-Eyed Susans
Butterflies are beautiful to watch fluttering about.
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Monarch butterfly on flower
You'll want to get a closer look to enjoy their beauty and observe their activities.
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illustration of a caddisfly larva inside its case of sand particles
The caddisfly lives only a short time as an adult but may spend several years as a larva.
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Canada Goose
Hundreds of thousands of Canada geese (not "Canadian" geese) pass through Wisconsin in their famous V-formations, honking up a storm.
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Lynx
You'll probably never see a lynx in the wild. They are uncommon in Wisconsin and pretty secretive.
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illustration of chinook salmon by Virgil Beck
You may know this fish by another name such as king salmon, spring salmon, blackmouth, tschawytscha, chin, king, magnum, or shaker.
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Chipmunk
Sometimes called "chipppie" or "chipping squirrel."
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Cicada on a twig
It's a short season in the sun for this buzzing insect.
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illustration of coho salmon by Virgil Beck
The coho salmon has many different names.
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eastern gartersnake
The common gartersnake is, well, common.
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The Common Loon
That eerie sound you hear is not a ghost haunting a northern lake.
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Common Redpoll
In flight and behavior these birds resemble goldfinches or siskins.
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Common Watersnake
You're sitting on a dock, minding your own business, when you notice a snake swimming by in the water.
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Common Yellowthroat
Keep an eye and ear out for this black-masked yellow-throated male bird.
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Cope's Gray Tree frog hanging on to a leaf
There aren't many differences between this and the gray treefrog.
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Cottontail Rabbit
If you like to play freeze tag, you might want to take a few lessons from the cottontail rabbit.
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Coyote
The coyote is a smart and highly adaptable animal.
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illustration of black crappie by Virgil Beck
Beware of the trademark spiny-rays on the dorsal fin of this sunfish - ouch!
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Crawling Water Beetle, Photo Credit: Robert Webster
This beetle lives among plants in shallow water.
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prairie crayfish in an observation container
One of the most interesting of the aquatic animals.
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Bats flying
One person's creepy critter is another person's favorite animal.....
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illustration of two copepods
The copepod is a small crustacean that looks like a swimming apostrophe mark (').
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Damselfly illustration
The damselfly is closely related to the dragonfly.
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Dark-eyed Junco in tree
The dark-eyed junco is sometimes known as the "snowbird."
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DeKay's Brownsnake
You can find this snake in oak savannas, prairies, marshes, old field, and under trash in vacant city lots.
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Badger
If you live in Wisconsin, you may already be a badger—a badger football fan that is.
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illustration of a dobsonfly larvae with many legs
Trout and other fish find the young of these insects delicious.
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Downy Woodpecker
You can spot this critter as it hops along tree trunks looking for food.
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Hine's Emerald Dragonfly on a twig
Dragonflies are a spectacular and colorful group of insects.
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Earthworm
Want to watch an earth-moving, dirt munching, soil making machine?
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Eastern Bluebird
The bluebird is one of a birdwatcher's favorite bird
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Eastern Foxsnake
Many people mistake this snake's coloration as a venomous copperhead snake and kill them out of fear.
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Eastern Hog-nosed Snake
This is one interesting snake, and not just because of its sharply upturned nose.
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Eastern Massasauga
Wisconsin Status: endangered
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Eastern Meadowlark
Hark, it's the meadowlark, atop a fencepost, roadside pole, wire or shrub.
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Eastern Musk Turtle
This critter is often known by its nickname, "stinkpot."
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Eastern Newt
These critters can go through three phases beyond the larval stage.
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Eastern Ribbonsnake
This gartersnake resembles other gartersnakes at first glance.
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Elk
Elk are members of the deer family along with moose, caribou, mule deer, and white-tailed deer.
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Emerald Ash Borer on leaf
Once these invaders get into a tree, the tree always dies.
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Evening Grosbeak on a branch
A fairly common winter resident in Wisconsin.
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Fairy shrimp, Photo Credit: Distant Hill Gardens
This graceful animal lives only in temporary ponds, never in pond
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False Map Turtle
Both false and southern map turtles are very wary and will flee at the slightest disturbance.
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Monarch catapillar eating a leaf
Without caterpillars, there wouldn't be any butterflies.
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Butterfly on Black-eyed Susans
Watching butterflies is a fun summer activity and you can invite them to your very own yard.
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Fingernail Clam
This pale tiny clam never gets bigger than a fingernail.
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Sturgeon fish
Any time of year, many fish are moving about in Wisconsin's waters.
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six-spotted fishing spider resting on the top of the water
This water spider has eight legs, no wings, an
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Common Five-Lined Skink
Skinks have very shiny, smooth scales and their colors change as they age.
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Fresh Animal Tracks on Snow
Have you ever tracked someone's footprints in the sand or snow?
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Mussels
How would you like to have a shell, no eyes and catch your food with your nose? No?
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Bobcat
Do you know what makes a mammal a mammal?
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illustration of a giant water bug
This huge insect sometimes grows to be two or more inches in length.
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Goshawk
These hawks rely on speed and cunning to catch their prey.
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Gray (black) Ratsnake
When looking for snakes, you might not think to look up.
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Gray Squirrel
Have you ever watched a gray squirrel get to a "squirrel-proof" bird feeder?
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Gray Treefrog
Learn more about the Gray Treefrog
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Majestic Great Blue Heron
Have you ever seen groups of huge nests made of large sticks weighing down tall tree tops?
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Greater Prairie Chicken in a field
Other names for this bird include pinneated grouse, prairie hen, and old yellowlegs.
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Green Frog
Learn more about the Green Frog.
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Hairy Woodpecker
Dryobates villosus
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Hines emerald dragonfly on a twig
Wisconsin Status: EndangeredFederal Status: Endangered
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Honey Bee on flower
Wisconsin state insect.
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Horsehair Worm
This unsegmented worm looks just like a horsehair.
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photo of a tiny hydra clinging to algae
The amazing hydra is related to the jellyfish.
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eastern gray treefrog with vocal sac inflated, calling from a marshy area in Milwaukee County
by Dreux J. Watermolen
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Karner Blue Butterfly on leaf
Beauty and grace best describe this federally endangered species.
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illustration of lake trout by Virgil Beck
Lake trout are native to the Great Lakes area, New England, and Canada.
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illustration of largemouth bass by Virgil Beck
This brainy fish is the largest of the sunfish family, and has a mighty cavernous jaw.
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Leech
Can you imagine one of your friends clinging onto you, sucking your blood?
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Butterfly drinking from flower
Butterflies begin as eggs, transform into a larvae or caterpillar stage, then a pupa, and finally a winged adult.
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Five-Lined Skink
Lizards in Wisconsin? Yep.
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Luna moth resting on a tree branch
If you see a fluorescent green, large moth in the moonlight, it's
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photo of mayfly nymph
The mayfly and damselfly nymphs look almost like twins, but look closely at their gills.
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Meadow Vole
Voles are easy to find by their "runways" that are lined with grass and other material from where they were digging.
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an illustration of a midge or bloodworm larvae
Young midges can be found in all sorts of water; some live in hot
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Birds migrating flying over water
Images of birds that migrate.
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Milksnake
Legend has it that this snake sneaks into barns and sucks milk from cows.
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Milkweed beetle
There are several types of beetles that feed on milkweed.
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Mink
Sleek with thick, chocolate brown fur, minks are related to the badger and skunk.
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Mink Frog, Image Credit: Bob Hay
Learn more about the Mink Frog.
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Monarch Butterfly on Black-eyed Susans
What's small, has orange wings with black veins and flies to Mexico for the winter?
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Monarch caterpillar on milkweed
Can you find the monarch caterpillar on the leaf?
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Moose
How do you get a 900 pound moose to stand still and let you put a radio-collar on her?
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an Asian mosquito biting someone's skin
This interesting insect goes through four distinct stages.
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Perched Mourning Dove
The mourning dove was named the state symbol of peace in 1971.
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photo of mudpuppy taken from above
You'll never walk this critter on a leash because the mudpuppy isn't a dog and it doesn't live on land.
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Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle
The multicolored Asian lady beetles look like common "ladybugs."
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illustration of muskellunge by Virgil Beck
Meet the muskellunge—a lean, mean fightin' machine.
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Muskrat in grass
The name comes from the musky odor that this small mammal gives off.
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Freshwater mussels on rock in water
Winged mapleleaf, rock-pocketbook, monkeyface—sounds like World Wrestling Federation wrestlers?
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North American (Blue) Racer
This sleek and slender snake is one of North America's fastest snakes.
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Male and Female Nothern Cardinals
The scarlet male cardinal needs no introduction, but the female is less obvious.
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The Flying Squirrel
It's small, furry, and "flies" from tree to tree.
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Leopard Frog
Learn more about the Leopard Frog.
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Northern Map Turtle
The females of this species have large broad heads and jaws adapted for cracking mollusk and crayfish shells. Ouch!
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illustration of northern pike by Virgil Beck
This is Wisconsin's second largest predator fish.
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Northern Ring-necked Snake
This snake looks like the prairie ring-necked snake in size and color. The difference is in the belly.
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Oposum walking
Have you ever heard of "playing 'possum"?
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a snail with an elongate shell held in a person's hand
Think how hard it would be to carry your house on your back!
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Ornate Box Turtle
The ornate box turtle is an endangered species in Wisconsin.
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Osprey with carp, Image Credit: Joe Riederer
The Osprey is also known as the fish hawk.
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Ovenbird
This warbler can be found hopping on the floor of Wisconsin's mature forests.
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Painted Turtle
The painted turtle is the most common turtle in Wisconsin.
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Peregrine Falcon
Faster Than A Speeding Bullet?
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illustration of a phantom midge larvae
The phantom midge larva is so clear it's nearly invisible.
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Pickerel Frog
Learn more about the Pickerel Frog.
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Pileated Woodpecker
Have you ever seen oval, 3-4 inch holes bored into the trunks of standing dead trees?
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Pine Grosbeak on a branch
A rare winter resident of southern Wisconsin and uncommon in the north.
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Pine Marten in tree
The pine marten is nocturnal and we don't know much about them.
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Pine Siskin at a feder
This member of the finch family is an uncommon summer resident in northern Wisconsin.
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Plains Gartersnake
All in all, this is a pretty colorful snake.
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Planaria
The planaria or flatworm looks a lot like a garden worm.
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Porcupine on a log eating berries
This mammal is not the sharp-shooter that many people think.
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Prairie Ring-necked Snake
Can you guess where this snake gets its name?
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Prairie Skink
Don't you love saying the word, "skink"?
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illustration of a predaceous diving beetle
This beetle is one of the most common of all aquatic beetles.
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illustration of pumpkinseed by Virgil Beck
This is the number one fish for kids to catch all over Wisconsin!
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Purple Finch
A famous bird expert once described the male purple finch as "a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice."
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photo of a quagga mussel
A quagga mussel feeds all year, even in winter.
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Queensnake
This beautiful snake calls water home.
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young raccoon walking in tall grass
The raccoon is a common backyard "bandit" that is easy to spot.
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illustration of inland Rainbow Trout with bright lateral stripe
Steelhead and rainbow trout are really the same species of fish.
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Red fox in snow
Foxes no doubt got their crafty reputation from the way they look.
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Red-bellied Snake
Have you ever seen a red-bellied snake?
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Red-headed Woodpecker
"Knock, knock, who's there?" The red-headed woodpecker.
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Red-winged Blackbird in Flight
Find any wet or moist habitat in Wisconsin and there you'll find the common red-winged blackbird.
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Ring-necked Pheasant
This ornate game bird is not native to Wisconsin, but is stocked for sport hunting.
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Otter in water
Wild otters are not often seen because they are very secretive.
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Robin
Wisconsin state bird.
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Round Goby
This invader is a bottom dwelling fish with a large head, resembling a tadpole.
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Ruffed Grouse
You're walking in the woods on a nice spring day, when suddenly y
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photo of rusty crayfish
Most alien invaders come from another country, but not this one.
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Graphic of salamander life cycle
A tadpole with gills!
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Sandhill Crane
What is that large stork-like bird flying over Wisconsin's marshes?
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Silhouette of Sandhill Cranes flying, Photo Credit: Joe Riederer
Crane fall staging areas map.
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Scud
Can you tell why the scud is often called the sideswimmer?
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Seed shrimp, Photo Credit: Dann Thombs
This almost microscopic member of the freshwater plankton is a scavenger.
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Six-lined Racerunner
With a name like racerunner, you'd have to be fast. And, as their name suggests, racerunners are very fast.
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Slender Glass Lizard
The name for this lizard is appropriate. When it's caught sometimes its tail breaks into many pieces like glass.
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Smooth Greensnake
This snake is often called the grass snake because of its green color.
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Smooth Softshell Turtle
Softshells are easy to recognize by their long, pointed snouts and scuteless top shells (carapaces).
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eastern gartersnake being held by a person
Did you know that there are as many as 21 kinds of snakes in Wisconsin? Wow, that's a lot!
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Snapping Turtle
This turtle is long on tail, but short on temper.
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photo of a tiny snow flea
What, snow has fleas? Where?
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Snowshoe Hare
This hare changes its coat twice a year, exchanging a thin brown summer coat for a heavy, white winter coat.
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Southern Map Turtle
Check out the carapace (top shell) on the southern map turtle.
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Spider web with dew
Are you afraid of spiders? There's a name for that fear—Arachnophobia.
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Spiny Softshell Turtle
The spiny softshell looks a lot like its relative the smooth softshell.
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Spring Peeper
Learn more about the Spring Peeper.
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stonefly nymph
Stonefly nymphs need to eat all they can because when they become adults they don't eat!
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Skunk in grass
The skunk is a member of the weasel family.
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illustration of lake sturgeon by Virgil Beck
Dinosaur Fish Lurk in Wisconsin Waters
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Firefly on leaf
A story about fireflies by Genny Fannucchi.
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Frog Life Cycle
Baby frogs or toads are called tadpoles.
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Gophersnake
What's that hissing sound? Well, it could be a gophersnake.
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a closeup look at a nematode
The threadworm is commonly found in bottom muck or sand throughout the world.
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Timber Rattlesnake
This species doesn't rank high on many people's favorite animal list.
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Wolf pack
Have you ever heard a wolf howl in the wild? Not many people have.
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American Woodcock aka Timberdoodle
Coming this spring to Wisconsin's woods.
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Trumpeter Swans on ice
Snow-white trumpeter swans are a spectacular sight.
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illustration of tubifex worms
This aquatic angleworm is right at home in mucky water.
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Tundra Swan
Come spring and fall you may have the good fortune to see these large, white birds.
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Two wild turkey in a feild
Tips and tricks to help you when hunting this holiday favorite.
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Turkey Vulture
This large bird species has been around since prehistoric times.
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Adult and Baby Snapping Turtle
Have you ever seen a turtle sunning itself on a log on a warm summer day?
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Tussock Moths on Milkweed
These very hungry caterpillars can be abundant on milkweed.
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Upland Plover
Another name for this bird is upland sandpiper.
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illustration of walleye by Virgil Beck
The walleye is the largest member of the perch family.
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Water Boatman illustration
This insect's body is shaped like a boat, perfect for swimming.
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Water flea or daphnia
Did you ever itch to catch a water flea?
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Water mite
The water mite is a round critter with eight legs and one eye.
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photograph of a water scavenger beetle
Just as you would expect from its name, this large beetle feeds on dead stuff.
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Water Scorpion Nepa
How long can you stand without moving?
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Turtles
You and your family can help protect Wisconsin's turtles and liza
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Western Ribbonsnake
There are less than a half dozen records of this endangered snake being seen in Wisconsin.
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Whirligig Beetle
This beetle zips in wild patterns all around the surface of quiet water.
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White-tailed Deer
The white-tailed deer is one of North America's most abundant big-game animal.
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Whooping Crane
2006 marked the first year that whooping cranes hatched in the wild in the Midwest in over 100 years!
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Wild Turkey
Gobble, Gobble, Gobble.
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Osprey nest with two birds in it
If you can't get outside to see wildlife, bring the wildlife to you!
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Gray wolf in snow
Take a look at these Wisconsin wolf photos taken from the air!
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a tiny fairy shrimp being held in a handful of water
Lake life is plentiful and not all lake creatures are easy to see.
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Male and Female Wood Ducks
The wood duck is often called Wisconsin's most beautiful duck with its bright, multi-colored feathers.
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illustration of yellow perch by Virgil Beck
Perch are found everywhere in Wisconsin and are very popular to catch and eat.
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a wasp-like bee with a two yellow marks on its face on a bright pink flower
This ¼ inch bee is slender and looks somewhat like a wasp.
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