Special Report

Take a Look at the Official Pets and Animals of Every State

Source: wizardofwonders / iStock

1. Alabama
> State pet: N/A
> State mammal(s): Black bear, West Indian manatee, racking horse
> State bird: Northern flicker, eastern wild turkey, willow ptarmigan
> State fish and aquatic life: Largemouth bass, brown shrimp, fighting tarpon

The black bear was designated the official state mammal of Alabama in 1996. The population is small and is concentrated in just two areas, but it has been increasing in recent years. Black bears are omnivores and will eat nuts, berries, insects, and small mammals. They are much smaller than grizzlies — the average weight for males is 150 to 350 pounds and for females is 120 to 250 pounds.

Source: ventdusud / iStock

2. Alaska
> State pet: Alaskan malamute
> State mammal(s): Moose, bowhead whale
> State bird: N/A
> State fish and aquatic life: Bowhead whale, king salmon

The Alaskan malamute is named after the Mahlemut people of Alaska, a native Inuit tribe whose remoteness helped preserve the purity of this ancient dog breed. Malamutes are true working dogs and have been used to pull sleds, hunt seals, and protect people from bears. They have great strength and stamina and can endure the harshest conditions. They are also friendly and loyal and make great pets.

Source: Robertbody / Wikimedia Commons

3. Arizona
> State pet: N/A
> State mammal(s): Ringtail
> State bird: Cactus wren
> State fish and aquatic life: Apache trout

The ringtail became the official state mammal of Arizona in 1986. Although it is called a cat, the ringtail is related to the raccoon and coatimundi and looks like a fox with a striped tail. It is nocturnal and sleeps for most of the day. It can be tamed and kept as a pet and has been used to keep homes free of vermin.

Source: twildlife / iStock

4. Arkansas
> State pet: N/A
> State mammal(s): White-tailed deer
> State bird: Mockingbird
> State fish and aquatic life: N/A

The white-tailed deer has become the official state mammal of 11 states, including Arkansas in 1993. Deer were very plentiful in Arkansas before European settlement, but they were hunted nearly to extinction after. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission established the state’s first deer season in 1916 and created deer refuges in the 1920s. The Arkansas deer population has recovered to more than a million in recent years.

Source: doescher / iStock

5. California
> State pet: Shelter pet
> State mammal(s): Gray whale and California grizzly bear
> State bird: California quail
> State fish and aquatic life: Gray whale, california golden trout and Garibaldi

The grey whale was designated the official state marine mammal of California in 1975. Gray whales have among the longest migrations of any mammal. They spend the summer in the Bering Sea and then travel as much as 7,000 miles to Baja, California, where they mate, before heading back north in the spring. Since they swim close to shore, whale watching has become very popular with tourists. Grey whales were almost hunted to extinction in the 19th and early 20th centuries but recovered because of legal protection. They were removed from the endangered species list in 1994. Unfortunately, they are now threatened by global warming and rising sea temperatures.