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Animals in Iowa

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Welcome to Animals in Iowa!

When it comes to healthcare, infrastructure, and educational opportunity, one of the best places to live and the only state in the United States that comes to mind is Iowa. Iowa is a state in the midwestern region of America.

Read on for more infos on the Animal and Wildlife in Iowa.

Wild Animals in Iowa

Iowa has a variety of wildlife, mostly seen in the forested areas of the state. If you happen to visit Iowa’s forested areas, you will encounter animals like coyotes, white-tailed deer, gray and red foxes along with bobcats. Iowa has beautiful lakes, rivers, and streams which gives a chance for aquatic animals to survive in the state. Animals like otters, turtles, bullfrogs, ospreys, and swans live in the river. Blue-winged teal, mallards, and cranes are species of waterfowl. The shorelines and lakes of Iowa have walleye, catfish, and crappies. Let us tell you about the small native mammals of Iowa, which it is strange but adorable eastern mole, muskrats, otters, and opossums. Other small mammals of Iowa include the short-tailed shrew and the prairie vole.

There are many birds in Iowa, and the most famous among them is the bobolink. Bobolink is one of the rarest birds in the country, with striking black and white coloring. It is a grassland prairie bird with this plumage color, the only North American land bird.

There is an interesting fact about Iowa’s animals that you will often see mountain lions and moose, but they are not the state’s residents. It is assumed that they must cross over from the neighboring states to find their meal. There are other predators in the state, which include bobcats, foxes, and coyotes. Eastern chipmunk, white-footed mouse, eastern squirrel, and deer mouse are the native rodents of Iowa’s state. There are nine bat species in the state that include the little brown bat, known to be the rarest bat species in the United States. 

The Official State Animal of Iowa

American Goldfinch Finch Bird - Free photo on Pixabay

American goldfinch (Spinus tritis) is a lovely yellow bird who lives in marshy areas, woods, orchards, and suburban areas and is Iowa’s state animal. They make their nest in late summer because winter is not their season. They usually feed on insects and seeds.

Where to the Find the Top Wild Animals in Iowa

Well, where to find most of Iowa’s animals at a time. But, don’t worry, and you can enjoy the view of wildlife in Iowa in these places.

  • Pike’s Peak State Park
  • Manawa Lake State Park
  • Goose Lake Wildlife Area
  • Wapsi Flats Wildlife Area

Endangered Animals in Iowa

Some of the species in Iowa state have become less in number. Their population is decreasing day by day, and they are included in the list of endangered species. Some of them are as follows:

• Trumpeter Swan

• Osprey

• Bald Eagle 

• Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

Mountain lions, bears, and wolves were once part of the Iowa state but are no longer its resident population. They used to roam around freely, but now they only come for their prey from neighboring states.

The Most Dangerous Animals in Iowa

While knowing there are many wildlife animals in Iowa, you must get scared of the animal attacks, But there have been very few cases of animals attack, which are minor, Iowa is pretty safe in that sense.  

Snakes in Iowa

If you want to see different species of snakes, then you should surely visit Iowa. There are almost 28 different species of snake in Iowa, But you don’t have to be scared because the majority of the snakes are non-venomous  Non-venomous snake includes brown snake, common garter snakes, and western fox snakes. So there are four different kinds of snake species that you should be concerned about, and if you happen to see any of them, the next step for you is to run.  

Venomous snakes

There are four venomous snakes that need attention while being in contact with them that you need to protect yourself from them. These are 

  1. Coppherheads, 
  2. Massasauga rattlesnakes 
  3. Prairie rattlesnakes
  4. Timber rattlesnakes.

Like other animals in Iowa who do not attack humans, these four venomous snakes also do not attack humans, but if they bite you and you are left untreated, it could be fatal.

Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) : 

Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) | May 10th, 2019 High… | Flickr

Timber rattlesnakes can reach up to 4 feet. They live in marshy and forest areas often. Their bite could be stingy and can be fatal if not properly treated. 

Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix):

Broad-banded Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctu… | Flickr

The venom of the copperhead snake is not dangerous as it does not kill a person, but it can cause a lot of pain that a person may need pain reliever and an immediate treatment  Copperhead is the most common snake in the United States, and they live near the waterways and streams.

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake:

Eastern Massasauga (Pigmy rattlesnake) | Philadelphia Zoo | Pauline  Rosenberg | Flickr

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake is on the list of endangered species, and they have very strong venom, but they do not come in contact with humans, and if they do so, they never attack a human.

Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis): 

Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), paint on tail from… | Flickr

Prairie Rattlesnake has the largest rage in the United States, and their venom is also very dangerous. If he bites any human and that is left untreated, then it could be fatal. Just like Massasauga, it is also threatened by habitat loss.

Other dangerous animals of Iowa include mosquitoes and wood ticks, and they are considered to be more dangerous than any other animal in the whole of Iowa State. The wood ticks and mosquitoes have caused more deaths and illnesses in the state than those venomous snakes and spiders combined.

Iowa State Animals

Let us discuss some of Iowa’s state animals in detail.


Bobolink, m. | Hey, … | Flickr

Bobolink bird is a sign of spring in bird symbolism. The bird’s scientific name is quite difficult to pronounce Dolichonyx oryzivorus. Their color is often light brown with black streaks and stripes. Their appearance is very unusual. The female bobolink looks like a sparrow, and the male’s breeding plumage is on the underside of the body, which can make us identify the male bobolink even when they are flying. In spring, the identification becomes easy because they are the only bird in North America with a paler above and black below. In addition, they can easily crack seeds and nuts because they have conical bills. 

Bobolink eats a lot of worms and bugs. Among all the bugs and worms, their favorite worm is the armyworm. Because of that, they are also named ‘armyworm birds”.

Bobolink keeps changing its location according to its breeding season and winter season. So while in winter, they are found in South America, and in their breeding season, you will see them in the Northern United States.

You can also locate them in rice pastures and hayfields because they are voracious eaters of grains. So, wherever you see tall grass get ready to have a glimpse of bobolink cause they can be found in grasslands and wetlands. Prairie and damp meadows were also places for bobolink, but these places are now uncommon.

Bobolink goes to grassland to make their nest, but to your surprise, they do not build it on ant branches or trees. Instead, they choose to make their nest on the ground. They hope that the tall grass may hide their nests from the predators, and they raise their young ones with ease. They have to make it away from the forest areas because if their nest is close to the forest, then it is more prone to the predator‘s attack. The female bobolink makes the whole nest, so the credit goes to the female bobolink alone  The female bird makes the cup of the nest with stems, and the outer lines are made up of finer blades to protect their eggs. They make their nest in tall grasses, weeds, and shrubs.

Bobolinks are social birds, and they are often seen in flocks. While they fly in flocks, they set up territories that range from one acre to two acres, especially when they come north to nest, Whereas the females do not fly to the nest. Rather, they choose to land at a distance from the nest and then walk to the nest to dodge the predators. They do not want their predators to know the location of their nest to protect their eggs in the nest. The male bobolink will start singing its trademark cheerful and bubbly song for their female partners. They also do some acrobatic feats to impress the female while flying. Before migrating, they roost an hour before dusk and leave an hour after dawn.  

Bobolink feeds on both seeds and insects as they are omnivores. They are especially interested in insects, and their larvae stage during their breeding season because they have to feed their chicks with animal protein for growth which can be found in caterpillars, butterflies, moths, sawflies, cutworms, armyworms, and mayflies. They feed largely on rice, but they also eat the seeds of yarrow, mallow, dandelions, Canadian thistle, and dock.

Bobolink is famous for its herculean migration as it can fly hundreds of miles in a day routinely. They stay in their nest from April to September. However, they take a rest in between while heading to the southeast. During their rest, they feed on grains before heading to the Caribbean. The people of the Caribbean call them ‘Butterbirds” as they become fat and fluffy from all the rice and grains they eat.

Unlike other birds, bobolink prefers to build its nest on the ground. Therefore, there is more chance of the predators attacking their nest. Every year almost 70 percent of the eggs and nestlings are lost because of the attack of the predators. Bobolink has developed many skills to prevent predators from their nests, but some still manage to attack their nests. Among those predators are birds of prey, skunks, snakes, raccoons, and foxes.


The scientific name of the Eastern king snake is Lampropeltis getula. The scientific name for each species is different  Eastern Kingsnake is yellow with a zig-zag pattern of black scales. They weigh up to four pounds with 36 to 48 inches in length. They are also known as chain snakes because of the scale pattern on their body. They can swim and climb trees easily. They eat rodents, birds, lizards, snakes, and bird’s eggs. The grip of these snakes is so strong that they can squeeze their prey to death. You should not be worried about their venom as they are not venomous, but you should be worried about their squeezing. They usually live up to 10 to 15 years.

There are six other species of Kingsnake who look similar in their appearance, but they live in different places. All these species belong to the family of Colubridae. The other six species of Kingsnake are as follows:

  • Common king snake or Eastern kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula)
  • California kingsnake (Lampropeltis California)
  • Speckled Kingsnake (Lampropeltis holbrooki)
  • Desert kingsnake (Lampropeltis Splendida)
  • Black king snake or Eastern black kingsnake (Lampropeltis nigra)
  • Scarlet Kingsnake (Lampropeltis elapsoides)

The eastern, western, and southern parts of the United States are the living places of Kingsnake. They live in different sections of the United States, and some of them live in Mexico  Their each specie looks similar in their appearance, but their habitat differs from specie to specie. They hide under the rocks and tight crevices in the deserts. While in grasslands or forests, they seek shelter in hollow trees and beneath the piles of leaves or sticks. The breeding season of Kingsnake is from March to May. However, they are super active in the summer and spring seasons. They also hatch their eggs in the late summer season. 

Biologist assumes that the population of king snake is more than 100,000 mature adults. Although, the exact population of the Eastern king snake is still not known. One of the interesting facts about king snake is that it is not harmful to humans. When they feel threatened by humans, they play dead. This specie of king snake is known as the desert king. They will play dead until the human goes away so that they can finally escape to save themselves. They are also not venomous. They will choose to hide under rocks or trees rather than confronting the threat.

First, they will shy away from confronting, but they may bite the humans according to the situation. It is not venomous, but it is surely very painful. But its cure does not want any immediate doctor treatment. If you happen to get bitten by a king snake, the first thing is to wash that area with soap and warm water and then put an ointment on it. If the bitten area is still hurting, then putting a block of ice will be a relief to that area, But if nothing works and you start to feel rash in that area, then do consult a doctor.


Mealybug | A mealybug (phenacoccus herreni) on cassava leaf,… | Flickr

Mealybug is an insect of the Hemiptera order. They are tiny bugs and inject plant disease plant toxins. It also transmits plant diseases. They usually feed on plants and affect them. You can see fuzzy white stuff on the plants that are mealybugs. Other species of mealybug feed on plants like mango, papaya, mulberry, sunflower, grapes, pineapple, ferns, gardenias, mulberry, sunflower and orchids etc. 

Male and female mealybug goes from the same phase of egg to nymph. Their bodies are so soft, unlike other insects. They do not have any shells to cover their soft bodies. They are oval in shape and are flat and waxy.

There are 269 genera of mealybugs, but all of them are in the suborder Sternorrhnycha, and the superfamily Coccoidea  United States holds 275 species of mealybug.

Mealybugs also damage the wood, so you will also see them in trees and woods. They can be found in greenhouses, indoor and outdoor plants. They are more likely to make their habitat in moist and warm climates, and when they are outdoors, they choose warm and dry weather.

There are some plants that are harmful and toxic to the mealybugs and other pests as well. These plants are toxic to other animals and children as well. These plants are as follows:

  • Snake Plant
  • Jade Plant
  • Cast Iron Palm
  • Madagascar Dragon Tree
  • Chinese Evergreen

There are some home remedies to get rid of the mealybugs from your plants, and these are as follows:

  • Wash the plants
  • Use rubbing alcohol
  • Use liquid soap spray
  • Use a neem oil spray 
  • Biocontrol 

Summary on Animals in Iowa

Iowa is well known for agriculture because 85 percent of its land is dedicated to agriculture. The most famous crop of Iowa is corn, and this state is well known for its yearly state fair.

YouTube video

Although the state is flat farmland, there are still some gently rolling hills in Iowa. When we talk about the weather of Iowa, we are talking about all the seasons, which means Iowa is hot and humid in summers, harsh and cold in winters.

The tornadoes you grew up watching in the movies are common events in Iowa, along with thunderstorms.  

If you liked this article also have a look at animas in Arkansas and animals in Connecticut.

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