Looking for Animals in Connecticut?
Curious about animals in Connecticut? Connecticut is the third smallest USA state, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have biodiversity. In fact, around 60% of Connecticut is covered by forest with the other 40% consisting of wetlands and coastland.
There are heaps of reptiles, mammals, and amphibians that live in Connecticut, let alone all the hundreds of bird species. You will always find your beavers, badgers, and of course, the magnificent white-tailed deer. Connecticut is simply rich in animal life found on the coasts, wetlands, forests, and other ecosystems.
Let’s look at our top ten:
The sperm whale is unfortunately on the endangered species list; it needs to be protected. The sperm whale is the largest of the toothed whales, growing 70 feet in length. They can weigh 59 tons! The sperm whale doesn’t look much like other whales. It has an enormous square-shaped head which accounts for about a third of its body length. They have stumpy fins and also two small pectoral fins on the side of their bodies.
Even the sperm whale’s blowhole is different to other whales. But their most recognizable trait is their jaw. It contains up to 52 cone-shaped teeth and each weighs a kilo. They spend a lot of their time hunting for prey, diving deep as much as 3 km. They hold their breath for around 2 hours!
The young male sperm whales often are in big groups for about the first 30 years of their life until they go their separate ways. They feed on giant squid. Other foods they eat are fish, crustaceans, and other sharks. The main threats to these magnificent creatures are pollution in the ocean such as fishing gear and nets which injure and kill them. Noise pollution from human activities also impacts their lives.
The robin is Connecticut’s state bird. In fact, they can be seen in many home areas on the lawn, tugging at earthworms from the ground. They are very popular birds, with their warm orange breast, and their cheery songs. People love seeing them because it kind of signifies the end of winter. Even though they are seen a lot in the towns and cities, they are often in the wilds as well – in fact, they can be seen in the wilderness and mountain forest areas as well.
If a robin is lucky to evade danger and being killed or eaten, it can live to be about 14 years old. They eat a lot of fruit in the winter and the fall. These animals in Connecticut look for earthworms in the morning and enjoy eating fruit later on in the day. Unfortunately, people put pesticides on their lawns and this can often cause the beautiful robin to suffer or to disappear from this area.
Black bears are animals in Connecticut that remain present throughout a large part of Connecticut. A lot of the Connecticut bears live in the north-western part of the state. And they’re pretty impressive to see when you do see one. Even if you see one at a long distance foraging in the wood, it’s an unforgettable experience. The black bear has a stock body with short and thick legs. The adult males can weigh 450 pounds and the females 250 pounds. The bear has a glossy black coat which can be brown as well as tan. Sometimes you might notice a white patch on their chest. Black bears have 5 toes and large claws. It has a short tail. The bears like to forage in forestlands where there are coniferous and deciduous trees. They enjoy being in areas where there are swamps, streams, and rock ledges with plenty of vegetation around that supply them with abundant food. They enjoy the wetlands in the spring because then emerging plants make for available foods. They are omnivorous so they eat grasses, fruits, nuts and berries, and will also scavenge on carrion.
Every now and then a bear will prey on small mammals, livestock, and deer. They are intelligent animals with keens senses of hearing and smell. Don’t leave the aromas of food when you are in the wilderness because that attracts bears to it, particularly in times of drought. They are shy, secretive creatures that are fearful of humans. In their home territory a bear will mark trees. They are excellent tree climbers and also strong swimmers. Even though they are not classified as true hibernators, they do what is called denning, where their activity is reduced.
Lots of people still think of still think of coyotes as a nuisance as well as being dangerous. Coyotes go back a long time, and are not native to Connecticut. They are in Connecticut to rather fill a niche that wolves used to fill. Ignorant people want to try and get rid of them. But it is the humans who have taken over their habitat, making them an endangered species. The coyote is a medium sized predator just trying to make a living! He has every right to the land that people want to deny him of. He is a very flexible animal though, adaptable and very intelligent.
He can run fast, up to 40 mph, and he can swim well too. He has excellent hearing, eyesight, and a good sense of smell. They adapt to most kind of habitats. They are used to the urban setting hunting for rodents and generally being active in early morning and late in the day. They can live to about 7 years. Their coat is usually greyish but there are variations. The coyote is a social animal that mates for life. You won’t find them in a pack.
They will range in an area of around 2-10 square miles. This will depend on their food supply. As omnivores, they enjoy berries and acorns, as well as rabbits, chipmunks, and wood chicks; even deer and beaver. Animals in Connecticut: They are capable of taking down a larger prey if it wounded or ill. They live in dens or in fox burrows and under trees. They won’t tolerate foxes near them and see them as competitors, but they do co-exist with bears and bobcats.
Snowshoe hares love the forest areas – they are important prey for many predators such as owls, lynx, and northern goshawks; golden eagles as well. They are active all year round. They get their name from their big hind feet. Their feet support their weight on the snow surface. They blend in well with their surrounding with the fur which changes in color from brown in summer to almost snow-white in winter. If you are in a national park you will find this hare likes to inhabit the spruce forests as well as habitats that are shrubby in riparian areas.
Mostly they are herbivores. In the summertime, they will eat herbaceous plants and new vegetation. In winter they eat buds, twigs, and bark. Sometimes they re-ingest their feces to get all the nutrients that they can find. They are good at escaping their predators because they have excellent hearing. When they hear a predator, they freeze like a statue in their tracks. They play a hugely positive role in the ecosystem.
The American Barn owl
The American barn owl is very different from its European cousin. They might look similar, but barn owls in North America are quite a bit heavier. The male owls in America weigh around 474 grams. The American barn owl can take quite large prey. They prey on meadow vole, cotton rats, ground squirrels, wood rats, and pocket gophers. Whatever rodent is available to them, they will take. They have gorgeous pale heart-shaped faces that look like flat masks.
Their eyes are black and they have feathered ridges above their beaks. The owls are even more beautiful in flight with their rounded, long, and massive wings. In the USA, barn owls are used a lot for pest management control. Sometimes, the owls will migrate south to escape the cold weather. As far as its habitat is concerned, it likes a variety of habitats. It can be open habitats, agricultural fields, and scrub. It is a solitary bird and lives to be about four years old. The American barn owl has superb vision and superb hearing, which makes them formidable predators. They communicate via displays and calls. Their ears are asymmetrical on their head and it is this feature that helps them to localize the noises made by their prey. You might know them by other names such as hissing owl, monkey-faced owl, delicate owl, and others.
Star-nosed moles are mammals, and are cute as well; with hairless noses and only weighing about 75 g. They have stout bodies with heavily built forelimbs. They have broad feet and large claws. The hair is short and dense and coarser than other moles. They like a variety of habitats and they like the soil to be moist such as in coniferous forests, wet meadows, peatlands, and marshes. They also are found along the banks of streams, ponds, and lakes.
They can be found in dry meadows as long as the water is within easy reach. They can live to be about 3 or 4 years. They like to dig networks of tunnels in moist soil for foraging. The loose soil that they dig from the tunnels is pushed to the surface to give a raised ridge. These moles are semiaquatic, which means a lot of their tunnels open under the surface to a stream – they are good swimmers. They are active throughout the winter, even burrowing through the snow and even swimming under the ice of frozen ponds. The star-nosed mole feeds on invertebrates; it will patrol its burrow and search for earthworms that enter through its walls.
If it has access to water, it will prefer to hunt for aquatic prey. Just about half of its diet consists of worms and aquatic prey such as dragonflies, crane flies, beetles, insects, aquatic crustaceans, mollusks, and small fish. They are also preyed on and eaten by owls and hawks. On the ground, domestic dogs and cats will catch them. They play a vital role in the wetland ecosystem, providing oxygen to the roots of plants in compacted soil that get little oxygen.
Many people have mistaken a snake for a piece of timber before in the woods. And if it’s the timber rattlesnake, it would be rattling the tip of its tail at you by now! A timber rattlesnake can strike the distance of half of its body. They are the largest venomous snakes around, growing over six feet long. They have excellent camouflage as well, with their two colors, yellow and black. These colors blend perfectly on the forest floor.
This snake doesn’t chase after its food. It rather lies quietly, waiting to strike. It uses a lot of energy to produce venom needed to kill its food. So it’s not that keen just to strike out any time. The timber rattlesnake doesn’t lay eggs. The babies are born encased in a membrane that they shed immediately. These snakes can live for about 30 years. They make dens with other snake species during the winter, on south-facing slopes inside rock fissures or under rocks.
The timber rattlesnake population has declined because of human activity and persecution. Protection of the snake and its feeding grounds has become a priority. It feeds primarily on mice and other small mammals such as shrews, voles, squirrels, and chipmunks – sometimes birds.
This wild cat, the bobcat was once not protected in Connecticut. They were viewed as a threat to game and agriculture. Fortunately, in 1972, it was reclassified as a protected animal. The bobcat is a stout animal of medium size. It has a short bobbed tail which is about six inches in length. It has tufts of black hair on its pointed ears.
The adults weigh between 18 to 35 pounds and measure about 37 inches in length. Sometimes the tracks of a young bobcat are confused with those of a house cat. A bobcat’s tracks have a round appearance with four round toe pads in both the front and rear prints. There is a fifth toe but it doesn’t leave a print in the ground because it is raised on the foot. Its claws are usually retracted. Bobcats are found in deciduous and coniferous forests.
They like bushy lowlands and swamps and rocky woodlands broken by fields and old roads. Their diets consist of cottontail rabbits, squirrels, woodchucks, mice, voles, even white-tailed deer, birds and reptiles. They are most active after dark and then before dawn again. They are secretive, solitary animals and are not often seen, hunting and traveling under thick cover. They rely on their excellent eyesight and hearing to locate prey. They patiently sit or crouch, watching and listening for prey. Once it is located, it will stalk its prey and then ambush it. They will cover their kill with grass and leaves and revisit the carcass until most of it has been consumed.
Before the settlers arrived in Connecticut, the landscape was forested, suitable for groundhogs. Over time, it has adapted to using fields and forest edges as its habitat and source of food. This animal is also called a groundhog, and is the largest member of the squirrel family. It is medium-sized and designed for digging with hits short strong legs.
It has long, curved claws on its front feet. It has fur that can be dark brown to light. It has a short, bushy tail that looks also flat. It has small, round ears. They enjoy eating succulent plants like clover, dandelion, alfalfa, herbs, garden crops, and grasses. They also enjoy buds, leaves, bark, twigs, flowers, and fruits. They give a shrill whistle when they are alarmed which is followed by a chattering sound. They are outstanding diggers and dig burrow systems which can be as long as 30 feet long and around 5 feet deep. They are mostly seen in the warmer months in early morning or late afternoon. They enjoy sleeping in the sun during the middle of the day on rocks or near their burrow entrance. Even when they are eating, they won’t venture far from their burrow entrance.
They rely on their sense of smell and hearing to give them enough time to escape when they sense danger. Fox, coyote, bears, bobcats, weasels, and mink are their predators. They hibernate for about 4 to 5 months in winter, being nourished from their fat reserves. They come out of hibernation around March. They are good climbers and can climb trees up to 15 feet if they need to escape from an enemy.