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Meet The 20 Most Popular Animals Of Illinois

Raccoon sniffing around. Image by Henry Dinardo on Unsplash.

Ever wondered what the most popular animals are in all of Illinois? Now is your time to have the answer revealed. I have been pretty curious myself. So let’s jump right in together!

#1 White-tailed Deer

Columbian White-Tailed Deer
White-tailed deer are a very cute looking species with their large ears. Image by Joe Cox via Unsplash

Firstly, the white-tailed deer is one of the most iconic animals in Illinois, commonly found in forests, fields, and even urban areas. Furthermore, with their distinctive white tail and reddish-brown coat, these graceful creatures are frequently spotted throughout the state.

#2 Eastern Gray Squirrel

Eastern Gray Squirrel
Eastern Gray Squirrel hiding away. Image by Johnson Chung via Unsplash

Eastern gray squirrels are ubiquitous in Illinois, thriving in both urban and rural environments. Secondly, these agile rodents are known for their bushy tails and acrobatic antics as they forage for nuts and seeds in parks, woodlands, and neighborhoods.

#3 American Robin

American robin,Turdus migratorius is a migratory songbird of the true thrush genus and Turdidae. Image via depositphotos.

Thirdly, the American robin is a beloved symbol of springtime in Illinois, known for its vibrant orange breast and cheerful song. Additionally, these migratory birds return to the state each year to breed, often nesting in trees and shrubs near residential areas.

#4 American Bullfrog

american bullfrog animals in washington
American bullfrog about to leap. Image by Maddy Weiss via Unsplash

Fourthly, the American bullfrog is a common amphibian found in Illinois ponds, lakes, and marshes. Generally recognizable by their deep croaking calls and green-brown skin, these large frogs are skilled hunters, preying on insects, small fish, and even other frogs.

#5 Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Eastern Cottontail Rabbit in its natural habitat. Image by David Solce via Unsplash

Evidently, Eastern cottontail rabbits are abundant in Illinois, inhabiting a variety of habitats from grasslands to suburban yards; these small mammals are known for their fluffy white tails and brown fur, which provides camouflage against predators.

#6 Mallard Duck

Mallard Duck
Mallard ducks are highly adaptable and can be found in various habitats, from urban ponds to remote marshes, making them one of the most widespread duck species in Illinois. Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Unsplash

Mallard ducks are a familiar sight in Illinois ponds, rivers, and wetlands, especially during the migration season. Furthermore, with their distinctive glossy green heads and quacking calls, these dabbling ducks are popular among birdwatchers and hunters alike.

#7 Red-winged Blackbird

Red-Winged Blackbird
Male red-winged blackbirds defend their territories fiercely during the breeding season, displaying their vibrant red and yellow shoulder patches to attract mates and deter rivals. Image by Sandra Seitamaa

Evidently, the red-winged blackbird is a common sight in Illinois marshes, meadows, and agricultural fields. Male blackbirds are known for their striking red and yellow shoulder patches, which they display during courtship rituals in the spring.

#8 Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal. Image by steve_byland via depositphotos

Explicitly, the northern cardinal is the state bird of Illinois, celebrated for its vibrant red plumage and melodic song; these year-round residents are often spotted in backyards, parks, and woodlands, adding a splash of color to the landscape.

#9 Eastern Chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus). Image via Depositphotos

Eastern chipmunks are energetic rodents found throughout Illinois, scampering through forests and suburban gardens alike. Recognizable by their striped backs and cheek pouches, these small mammals are skilled at storing food for the winter months.

#10 Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern Box Turtle also known as the terrapene carolina. Image via Depositphotos

In the middle of our list of most popular animals in Illinois is the eastern box turtle. It is a terrestrial turtle species native to Illinois, often found in woodlands and grasslands. With their distinctive domed shells and colorful patterns, these reptiles are cherished by wildlife enthusiasts.

#11 Great Blue Heron

great blue heron
A great blue heron takes flight. Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Unsplash

The great blue heron is a majestic wading bird commonly seen in Illinois wetlands, lakes, and rivers. With their long necks and dagger-like bills, these patient hunters stalk fish and amphibians in shallow waters.

#12 American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch. Image via depositphotos.

The American goldfinch, also known as the state bird of Illinois, is a small songbird that frequents gardens, fields, and woodland edges. These colorful birds are known for their bright yellow plumage, especially during the breeding season.

#13 Muskrat

A muskrat. Image by Eric Habisch –, CC BY 4.0,

Muskrats are semi-aquatic rodents found in Illinois marshes, swamps, and along waterways. Additionally, with their waterproof fur and webbed feet, these industrious mammals construct burrows and feed on aquatic plants and roots.

#14 Raccoon

Raccoon hiding behind leaves. Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Unsplash

Raccoons are adaptable mammals found throughout Illinois, thriving in forests, urban areas, and even suburban neighborhoods. Furthermore, recognizable by their distinctive facial masks and ringed tails, these nocturnal omnivores are skilled scavengers.

#15 Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird. Image by Patrice Bouchard via Unsplash

Evidently, the gray catbird is a secretive songbird found in Illinois woodlands, thickets, and suburban gardens. Named for its cat-like calls, this slate-gray bird is often heard but not easily seen among dense vegetation.

#16 Common Snapping Turtle

snapping turtle
Common snapping turtle peeking out of pond water looking for a meal. Image via Depositphotos

The common snapping turtle is a large freshwater turtle species native to Illinois, inhabiting ponds, lakes, and slow-moving rivers. Generally known for their powerful jaws and aggressive demeanor, these reptiles are formidable predators.

#17 Painted Turtle

western painted turtle animals in new jersey
Painted Turtle. Image by Mark Valentine via Unsplash

Painted turtles are colorful freshwater turtles commonly found in Illinois ponds, marshes, and streams. Especially named for their vibrant red and yellow markings on their shells, these turtles are popular among wildlife enthusiasts.

#18 Belted Kingfisher

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher Image by Jessica Kirkpatrick via Unsplash

The belted kingfisher is a striking bird of prey found along Illinois waterways, where it hunts for fish from perches or by hovering over the surface. Additionally, with their distinctive rattling calls and shaggy crests, these birds are unmistakable in flight.

#19 Northern Water Snake

Northern Water Snake
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest of Wisconsin. Image by Wirepec via Depositphotos

Evidently, Northern water snakes are non-venomous reptiles commonly found in Illinois lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Furthermore, with their dark brown bodies and distinctive patterning, these snakes are skilled swimmers and ambush predators.

#20 American Toad

American toad
American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) basking on a rock. Image by Christina Brinza via Unsplash

Lastly, American toads are common amphibians found in Illinois woodlands, gardens, and suburban areas. Generally, recognizable by their warty skin and trilling calls, these nocturnal hunters feed on insects and other small invertebrates.

Curious Raccoon looking up at camera. Image by Chris Ensminger on Unsplash.

In conclusion, these are the most popular animals in Illinois. Furthermore, I have never seen an Box Turtle before, it would be an incredible sighting! I think I may need to visit Illinois soon to see one for myself! If you think there should have been another more popular animal in the top 20, please feel free to let us know in the comments. In other words, can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you for following along with this article – 

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