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!

Owl
Amphibian

Amphibians are cold-blooded, smooth-skinned vertebrates. Most live some of their life in water and some on land. The most common amphibian critter is a frog but there are many others.

    Birds
    A bird is a warm-blooded, egg-laying, winged vertebrate that has a body covered with feathers.
    Fish
    A fish is a cold-blooded animal that lives and breathes underwater. Fish typically have scales, gills, fins, and a streamlined body.
    Insect
    Insects are invertebrates. Their bodies are clearly divided into a head, a thorax, and abdomen. They also have three pairs of jointed legs and usually two pairs of wings.
    A Mammal

    Mammals are warm-blooded vertebrates. Most mammals have fur, start life inside their moms, are born live, and nurse milk from their mothers' bodies.

    Invertebrates
    Here are some more critters without backbones.
    Reptile
    Reptiles are cold-blooded vertebrates. Most lay eggs, have scaled plates and breathe through lungs.
    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
    Sea lampreys are members of an ancient family of "jawless fishes" that were around before the dinosaurs.
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    Zebra Mussel
    These critters remove incredible amounts of food from the water.
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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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    American Kestrel, Image Credit: Joe Riederer
    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 in budding tree
    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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    Aquatic Sowbug or Isopod
    The isopod is a scavenger that uses its seven pairs of legs to move around.
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    Backswimmer illustration
    The name of this critter describes it perfectly.
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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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    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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    Bluegill
    They prefer very warm, quiet, shallow waters under the cover of weed beds and submerged brush.
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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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    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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    Bristle worms, Photo Credit: Prilfish
    These tiny, uncommon animals have pairs of bristles on each segment.
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    Brook trout
    This brightly colored fish is Wisconsin's only native stream trout.
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    Bullhead
    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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    Caddisfly illustration
    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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    Salmon
    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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    Salmon
    The coho salmon has many different names.
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    Common Gartersnake
    The common gartersnake is, well, common.
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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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    Crappie jumping out of water
    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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    Crawfish illustration
    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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    Cyclops or Copepod illustration
    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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    Alderfly nymph illustration
    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 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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    Fisher Spider, Photo Credit: Dave Houston\Department of Conservation
    This water spider has eight legs, no wings and a body which is di
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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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    Giant Water Bug eating a minnow
    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 Treefrog
    Learn more about the Gray Treefrog
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    Green Frog
    Learn more about the Green Frog.
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    Hairy Woodpecker
    The hairy woodpecker is a larger relative of the downy woodpecker.
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    Hines emerald dragonfly on a twig
    Wisconsin Status: EndangeredFederal Status: Endangered
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    Horsehair Worm
    This unsegmented worm looks just like a horsehair.
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    Hydra
    The amazing hydra is related to the jellyfish.
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    Male Banded bullfrog calls for a mate with vocal sac inflated
    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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    Lake Trout drawing
    Lake trout are native to the Great Lakes area, New England, and Canada.
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    Largemouth Bass
    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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    Mayfly Nymph
    The mayfly and damselfly nymphs look almost like twins.
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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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    Midge or Bloodworm larva
    Young midges can be found in all sorts of water; some live in hot springs at temperatures of 124°
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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 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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    Mosquito biting skin illustration
    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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    Mudpuppy, Image Credit: Ohio DNR
    Also known as Waterdog(Necturus maculosus)
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    Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle
    The multicolored Asian lady beetles look like common "ladybugs."
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    Muskellunge
    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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    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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    Northern Pike
    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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    Orb, Gilled, and Pouch Snails illustration
    Think how hard it would be to carry your house on your back! That's what a snail does.
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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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    Phantom Midge larva
    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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    Siskin on branch
    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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    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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    Predaceous Diving Beetle
    This beetle is one of the most common of all aquatic beetles.
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    Pumpkinseed fish
    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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    Sign that says mandatory watercraft inspection ahead
    A quagga mussel feeds all year, even in winter.
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    Queensnake
    This beautiful snake calls water home.
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    Raccoon in tree
    The raccoon is a common backyard "bandit" that is easy to spot.
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    Inland Rainbow Trout
    Steelhead and rainbow trout are really the same species of fish.
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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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    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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    Person holding 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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    Snake
    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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    Snow Flea, Photo Courtesy of Kenneth Christiansen
    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 Frog.
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    Springtail
    Just like people at a mall, these tiny wingless insects mill around in huge numbers.
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    Stonefly on rock
    Can you imagine living your whole adult life and not eating anything!
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    Skunk in grass
    The skunk is a member of the weasel family.
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    Sturgeon
    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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    The American Bald Eagle
    We all know the bald eagle as a national symbol with its distinctive "bald" white head.
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    Barred Owl
    Whoooo is this owl with such a strange name? Let's find out.
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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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    Bobcat
    What has a stubby "bobbed" tail, sideburns, spiky ear hair and gets called lots of names?
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    The Common Loon
    That eerie sound you hear is not a ghost haunting a northern lake.
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    Eastern Bluebird
    The bluebird is one of a birdwatcher's favorite bird
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    The Flying Squirrel
    It's small, furry, and "flies" from tree to tree.
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    Gophersnake
    What's that hissing sound? Well, it could be a gophersnake.
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    Gray Squirrel
    Have you ever watched a gray squirrel get to a "squirrel-proof" bird feeder?
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    Honey Bee on flower
    Wisconsin state insect.
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    Luna Moth
    If you see a fluorescent green, large moth in the moonlight, it's probably a Luna moth.
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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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    Mink
    Sleek with thick, chocolate brown fur, minks are related to the badger and skunk.
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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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    Red fox in snow
    Foxes no doubt got their crafty reputation from the way they look.
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    Otter in water
    Wild otters are not often seen because they are very secretive.
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    Ruffed Grouse
    You're walking in the woods on a nice spring day, when suddenly you hear a drumming sound.
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    Yellow-faced Bee on flower
    This ¼ inch bee is slender and looks somewhat like a wasp.
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    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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    Woodcock, AKA Timberdoodles
    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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    Tubifex Worm
    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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    Walleye
    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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    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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    Water Strider
    The water strider is sometimes called the "Jesus Bug" because it can walk on water.
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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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    Chickadee flying in winter, Photo Credit: Joe Riederer
    Point to and click on any bird to learn more about them and what they're eating at the feeder.
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    Crawfish illustration
    Lake life is plentiful and not all lake creatures are easy to see.
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    Yellow Perch
    Perch are found everywhere in Wisconsin and are very popular to catch and eat.
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