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11 Animals That Live in Meadows

Meadows are a unique environment filled with a diverse number of plants, which makes them a wonderful home for a wide array of creatures. The animals that live in meadows take advantage of this, while also finding protection in the tall grass.

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of animals that live in meadows.

11 Animals That Live In Meadows

One of the reasons that meadows make a wonderful home for some many animals is because they support so many different flora and fauna that wouldn’t be able to thrive in any other type of habitat. Meadows provide a place for animals to gather food, court one another, and nest. If the vegetation is tall enough, it can also provide shelter and cover.

1. Deer

White-tailed Deer grazing
White-tailed Deer grazing | image by Immortel via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Cervidae

Meadows provide both a food source and a place for deer to bed down for a rest, and it is not uncommon to find these creatures in meadows, especially those that border a wooded area. That doesn’t mean that meadows are the exclusive home for deer, however, since they are most often found living in the forests where they have more protection from predators.

There are over 40 species of deer found all over the world, and the moose is even a member of the deer family!

2. Eastern Meadow Voles

Eastern meadow vole
Eastern meadow vole | image by Daderot via Wikimedia Commons

Scientific Name: Microtus pennsylvanicus

Eastern meadow voles are found throughout the meadows and grasslands of North America. These members of the rodent family will wear down paths in the tall vegetation as they travel between their feeding sites and their burrows. Eastern meadow voles are herbivorous, and they feed on various plants, grasses, tubers, and bulbs.

Their bodies measure about 6 inches long and is covered with dark brown fur. The Eastern meadow vole can have a tail that is as long as 2 ½ inches and they have a lifespan of about a year.

3. Foxes

Fox on brown grass field
Fox on brown grass field

Scientific Name: Vulpes vulpes

Foxes are commonly found in meadows where they can feast on the various plants growing in the area, while also creating their underground dens underneath the tall vegetation. Foxes are members of the dog family, but they can retract their claws like cats do.

They can weigh anywhere from a little over a pound to over 21 pounds, depending on the species and gender. While foxes can become problematic when they wreck havoc in your garden, they also provide various benefits. Not only do foxes help to keep the population of rodents under control, but they also disperse seeds.

4. Moles

Mole in the garden
Mole in the garden

Scientific Name: Talpidae

Moles spend most of their lives underground, so they are not as commonly seen as some of the other animals on our list. With that said, however, they do sometimes create their underground burrows in meadows.

Moles consume grubs, earthworms, and insects, all of which are in abundance in a meadow’s soil. In fact, moles can eat 60 to 100 percent of their body weight!

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5. Rabbits

European Rabbit
European rabbit | image by Peter O’Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr | CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific Name: Oryctolagus cuniculus

Meadows are a common home for rabbits, who make underground warrens where they live with other groups of rabbits. Their warrens are not merely a den, but are also an intricate system of underground tunnels.

Rabbits are found throughout North America, Southwestern Europe, Sumatra, Southeast Asia, and Japan. Rabbits are also found in some parts of South America and Africa.

6. Garter Snakes

A garter snake hissing
A garter snake hissing

Scientific Name: Thamnophis

Garter snakes are often found in meadows where they can both bask in the warm sun, while also having the protection of the tall grass and vegetation. These snakes are small to medium in size and are seen as generally harmless to humans and pets.

Garter snakes are active during the months of March to October, and will hibernate the rest of the year. They are also beneficial to the environment and many gardeners think of this reptile as a helpful friend that eats a wide array of pests that can damage their gardens.

7. Butterflies

Carolina satyr
Carolina satyr | image by ALAN SCHMIERER via Flickr

Scientific Name: Rhopalocera

Meadows are typically filled with native plants, which are beneficial to a wide array of butterflies that rely on native plants for food, housing, and a place to lay their eggs. Satyr butterflies (Satyrinae) are one such species that you may find in meadows. The caterpillar of this butterfly feeds on native grasses in the Poaceae family, which are often found growing in meadows all over the world.

8. Weasels

Weasel hiding on wood
A weasel hiding on wood | Image by Trond Giæver Myhre from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Mustela

Weasels are found in meadows, as well as a wide array of other habitats, including woodlands, farmlands, roadsides, and thickets. These small carnivores prey on chipmunks, squirrels, frogs, birds and their eggs, lizards, and insects. They are often considered a pest on farms where they have been known to raid the chicken coop and steal the eggs.

Weasels are unique looking animals with long, fur-covered bodies, prominent snout, and stubby legs. Weasels are most active at night, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come out during the day. With that said, however, they do most of their activities during the hours right before dusk or right before dawn.

9. Shrews

Young Shrew forage on the ground
Young Shrew forage on the ground | Image by RPN from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Soricidae

Shrews are most commonly found in meadows, grasslands, and marshes. These types of areas feature vegetation that attracts a diverse insect population, which is perfect for the shrew since insects make up a large part of their diet. They will also consume vegetable matter, salamanders, worms, smaller rodents, and small snakes.

Shrews are active during both the day and night. Although the shrew simply looks like a mouse with a long nose, these creatures are not rodents at all and is more closely related to moles and hedgehogs.

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10. Common Lizards

Viviparous lizard
Viviparous lizard

Scientific Name: Zootoca vivipara

Common lizards are another animal that you can find in meadows, as well as in damp forests and swamps. These lizards prefer a moist environment and feast on the various insects found in the area, such as crickets, flies, mealworms, grasshoppers, grubs, and earwigs.

The common lizard is viviparous, which means it can lay eggs and also give birth to live young. This is unusual since most lizard species only lay eggs.

11. Spiders

Orb Weaver
Orb Weaver | Image by Frank Dilorenzo from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Araneae

Spiders thrive in meadows because this type of habitat provides everything they need to live a happy life. In a meadow, spiders have an abundance of food from all the insects that are naturally attracted to the area, as well as various homes.

Depending on the species, the spider could make a web between the tall grasses, burrow in the moist ground, or merely crawl along the meadow floor hunting for their prey.