Special Report

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

Source: WestwindPhoto / iStock

6. Colorado
> State pet: Shelter dogs and cats
> State mammal(s): Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
> State bird: Lark bunting
> State fish and aquatic life: Greenback cutthroat trout

The Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep became the official state animal of Colorado in 1961. As the name suggests, it has enormous horns, which can grow to more than 4 feet in length, and it is found only in the Rockies. Rams live in all-male groups, and females live with other females and their young. Rams use their horns as weapons to fight for dominance or mating rights and are protected from injury by thick skulls.

Source: ShaneGross / iStock

7. Connecticut
> State pet: N/A
> State mammal(s): Sperm whale
> State bird: American robin
> State fish and aquatic life: Sperm whale, eastern oyster, American shad

The sperm whale became the official state mammal of Connecticut in 1975. Connecticut used to be a center of the whaling industry, but sperm whales were almost hunted to extinction and are now on the endangered species list. They are the largest of the toothed whales and grow up to 70 feet long. Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick was based on a true story of a sperm whale that attacked and sank a whaleship.

Source: HollyAA / iStock

8. Delaware
> State pet: Golden retriever
> State mammal(s): Grey fox
> State bird: Blue hen chicken
> State fish and aquatic life: Channeled whelk, horseshoe crab, weakfish

The golden retriever isn’t just popular in Delaware — it’s the third most popular dog breed in the country, according to the American Kennel Club. Golden retrievers are smart and have a great work ethic. They are often used as guide dogs, in search and rescue, and – as their name suggests – for hunting. Their many other endearing characteristics, including patience and playfulness, make them great pets.

Source: fotoguy22 / iStock

9. Florida
> State pet: N/A
> State mammal(s): Florida panther, dolphin, manatee
> State bird: Mockingbird
> State fish and aquatic life: Horse conch, Atlantic sailfish, largemouth bass

The Florida panther is a unique subspecies of cougar that became the official state mammal in 1982. There were as few as 20 Florida panthers in the wild in the 1970s, but once added to the state’s endangered species list, the population recovered to an estimated 120 to 230 in 2017. They still face many threats, ranging from habitat loss to collisions with vehicles to inbreeding. They also have a natural predator, the alligator, an animal commonly found throughout the state.

Source: NOAA Teacher at Sea Program

10. Georgia
> State pet: Shelter dog
> State mammal(s): Right whale, white-tailed deer
> State bird: Brown thrasher
> State fish and aquatic life: Largemouth bass

The northern right whale is the only great whale native to Georgia waters, and it has been the official state marine mammal since 1985. Unfortunately, its name was given by whalers who viewed it as the easiest whale to hunt, as it swims slowly, close to the surface and floats when killed. Hunting the northern right whale has been banned for many years, but the population is not increasing.

The Georgia state legislature passed in 2016 Senate Bill 168, making shelter dogs the state’s official pet.