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The 7 Ohio State Animals

Ohio, a land of diverse landscapes and natural wonders, boasts a vibrant array of animal species. Spanning over 44,800 square miles, this Midwestern state offers a rich tapestry of habitats, ranging from expansive forests and wetlands to rolling plains and meandering rivers. An incredible array of wildlife thrives in these diverse ecosystems, with some fortunate enough to be designated as Ohio state animals.

7 Ohio state animals

In this article, you’ll become acquainted with the animals that represent Ohio and learn the reasons why the state’s residents chose these animals to represent the state. 

1. Cardinal

Male northern cardinal
Male northern cardinal | Image by Jack Bulmer from Pixabay
  • Scientific Name: Cardinalis cardinalis
  • Status: Ohio State Bird

The Northern Cardinal is a songbird that graces the landscapes of Ohio with its vibrant presence. Characterized by its orange beak, crest of feathers, and bright red plumage in males, this non-migratory bird became Ohio’s official state bird in 1933. The Cardinal was picked because it’s found all over Ohio and has a unique color that shows the spirit of Ohioans and matches the official state colors. 

Since it pairs for life, this granivorous bird represents fidelity and a strong sense of home, family, and territorial integrity. Its constant presence, even during harsh winters, symbolizes the resilience and fortitude of Ohio’s residents.

2. White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer female
White-tailed Deer female | image by Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Odocoileus virginianus
  • Status: Ohio State Mammal

The White-tailed Deer is a medium-sized deer native to North America, including Ohio, and has been recognized as Ohio’s state mammal since 1988. Ohioans have long depended on this deer for survival, utilizing its meat as nourishment, hides for clothing, and antlers for tools and ceremonies. 

Ohio currently boasts a population of around 600,000 White-tailed Deer, showcasing their impressive ability to thrive and adjust to their surroundings. The lasting presence of these creatures represents Ohio’s abundant natural heritage and the ongoing significance of protecting wildlife.

3. Black Racer Snake

Black racer coiled in grass
Black racer coiled in grass | credit: Everglades National Park
  • Scientific Name: Coluber constrictor
  • Status: Ohio State Reptile

The Black Racer Snake, a nonvenomous species, earned the prestigious title of Ohio’s official state reptile in 1995. This speedy, diurnal creature is prevalent across the state, and its name reflects its swiftness and agility.

The Black Racer is an important creature in Ohio because it helps control pests naturally. By eating small rodents, it plays a vital role in protecting crops and supporting the state’s agriculture. 

Ohio’s decision to adopt the state reptile symbolizes its dedication to preserving biodiversity and understanding the crucial role that every species plays in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

4. Spotted Salamander

Spotted salamander on wet leaves
Spotted salamander on wet leaves | image by Peter Paplanus via Flickr | CC BY 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Ambystoma maculatum
  • Status: Ohio State Amphibian

In 2010, Ohio declared the Spotted Salamander as its official state amphibian. This mole salamander stands out with its vibrant yellow spots.

Found in various locations throughout the state, this species thrives in damp woodlands near swamps, ponds, and creeks. The underground-dwelling nocturnal creature emerges in early spring for breeding, showcasing its unique lifestyle. 

Choosing the Spotted Salamander as Ohio’s state amphibian highlights the state’s appreciation for its rich natural heritage and dedication to its preservation. This creature symbolizes the state’s biodiversity and the crucial role of wetlands in supporting wildlife.

5. American Bullfrog

American bullfrog
American bullfrog by Emerald Beetle from Pixabay
  • Scientific Name: Lithobates catesbeianus
  • Status: Ohio State Frog
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The American Bullfrog, known for its deep, resonating call resembling a bull’s bellow, was named Ohio’s state frog in 2010. These creatures, found in ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams across Ohio, make their presence known from late April to late summer with their distinctive sounds. The bullfrog’s significance to Ohio extends beyond its ecological role. 

Their legs are highly sought after for their exquisite taste, making them a coveted delicacy in fine dining establishments. Additionally, they’re commonly utilized in educational environments to facilitate dissection activities during science lessons.

By naming the American Bullfrog the state frog, Ohio recognizes the value of its amphibian biodiversity as well as the cultural and educational relevance of the amphibians in the state.

6. Ladybug

  • Scientific Name: Coccinella septempunctata
  • Status: Ohio State Insect

The Ladybug, also known as the ladybird beetle, was named Ohio’s official state insect in 1975. Many people of all ages love these beetles for their unique and charming appearance, and they symbolize the hardworking, resilient, and friendly nature of the state’s residents. Found across all 88 counties in the state, the ladybug plays a vital role in Ohio’s ecosystems. 

These voracious predators are a farmer and gardener’s best friend, gobbling up small pests like aphids and providing essential natural pest control. By reducing the need for insecticides, ladybugs contribute significantly to sustainable agricultural practices in the state. The ladybug’s crucial role, combined with its wide distribution and popularity, is why it was chosen as Ohio’s official state insect.

7. Buckeye Chuck

Groundhog alone in grass field
Groundhog alone in grass field | image by Heckrodt Wetland Reserve via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Scientific Name: Marmota monax
  • Status: Ohio State Weather-predicting Groundhog

Since 1979, Buckeye Chuck has been Ohio’s official weather-predicting groundhog, adding excitement to the annual Groundhog Day tradition. In Marion, Ohio, Buckeye Chuck pops out of his burrow on February 2nd to predict if spring is on its way. Legend has it that if Chuck spots his shadow and scurries back, winter will persist for another six weeks. 

If he doesn’t see his shadow, an early spring is expected. Despite being accurate only twice from 2006 to 2015, the ceremony remains a delightful tradition in Ohio. This folklore adds cultural richness to the state and provides a fun and engaging way for Ohioans to engage with local wildlife and seasonal changes.

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About Louise Robles

Louise writes about a wide variety of topics including wildlife, animals, and nature. She's developed a growing interest in animal biology and categorization due to her fascination with how they interact with one another and with their surroundings.