Fifty State Animals
2008-9, acrylic on fifty 8 x 8" panels, approx 50 x 100", Studio
Alabama Wild Turkey
The wild turkey was designated official Alabama game bird in 1980. A true native American, the eastern wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris) is the largest & most widely distributed of the six subspecies of wild turkey in North America. The Male can grow up to 4’ tall and weigh well over 20 lbs. Hens may be almost as tall but usually less than 12–14lbs. The wild turkey is also a state symbol of MA, SC, & OK.
Designated the official Alaska Land Mammal in 1998. Moose (Alces alces) are the world's largest member of the deer family, and the Alaska moose (Alces alces gigas) is largest of all moose (males 1,000 - 1,600 lbs). They mostly inhabit northern forests of North America, Europe, & Russia (Europe they are called "elk"). .
Arizona Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake
The Arizona ridge-nosed rattlesnake (Crotalus willardi) was recognized as the official state reptile of in 1986. First known to science in 1905, this small brown snake is of the most primitive rattlesnakes found in the US. .
The mockingbird was recognized as the official state bird of Arkansas in 1929. Northern Mockingbirds have extraordinary vocal abilities - they can sing up to 200 songs, including other birds, insects & amphibian sounds, even mechanical noise. .
Designated the California valley quail as state bird in 1931. Known for hardiness and adaptability, the native bird (Callipepla Californicus) is plump, smaller than a pigeon, with a black plume on its head & a black bib & white stripe under its beak. AKA: CA partridge, Catalina quail, Topknot quail & Valley Quail.
Colorado Rocky Mountain Bighorn
Colorado designated the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep was designated official state animal in 1961. Their massive, curling horns can grow to 50”. With agility & balance, they (Ovis canadensis) are found only in the Rockies in extremely rugged terrain. Their horns aren’t shed annually, but grow in length and circumference throughout the sheep's life (a pair can weigh 30 lbs). Fewer than 45,000 are scattered through the western US and Canada.
Connecticut American Robin
Connecticut designated the American Robin (Turdus migratorius) as state bird in 1943. Also the official state bird of MI and WI. Robins are a true thrush and one of America's favorite songbirds. Migratory robins are watched for each year as the heralder of spring, but many spend the entire winter in NE swamps, roosting in evergreens and feeding on winter berries. .
The lady bug was adopted as the official state bug of Delaware in 1974 thanks to an intensive effort made by the 2nd grade students of the Lulu M. Ross Elementary in Milford, Delaware. Lady bugs help gardeners and farmers by eating tiny insect pests that damage plants. .
In 1982 the students of Florida elected the panther (Felis concolor coryi) as state animal of FL. A large predator (can grow more than 6’ in length), they play an important role in the ecosystem. Florida panthers were persecuted to near-extinction out of fear (folklore refers as "catamounts"). It is on the federal endangered species list, 1967, and the state’s of endangered list in 1973.
Georgia Brown Thrasher
Georgia's governor first proclaimed brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) as state bird in 1935; it was finally recognized by state legislature asstate bird in 1970 (at request of Garden Clubs of Georgia). .
In 1957 Hawaii designated the nene, or Hawaiian goose (Branta sandwicensis) as official state bird. The nene seldom swims and is'nt bothered by predators or the cold, they do not fly much and their wings are weak compared to other geese. The Nene has feet only half as webbed as other geese, and longer toes for climbing on the rocky surfaces. .
Idaho Peregrine Falcon
The amazing peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) was designated official state raptor of Idaho in 2004 (also on state quarter). Idaho recognizes two bird symbols (mountain bluebird is state bird). The Peregrine Falcon was an endangered species due to pesticides, but populations are recovering since ban of DDT in the 1970's and it was removed from the list in 1999.
Illinois Painted Turtle
Designated official state reptile in 2005 after winning 2004 vote of the citizens of IL. Also state reptile of Michigan. .
Indiana designated the northern cardinal (Richmondena Cardinalis Cardinalis) as official state bird in 1933. One of America's favorite backyard birds, cardinals are distinctive in appearance and song. .
Iowa Eastern Goldfinch
IA designated the eastern goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) as state bird in 1933. Also called American goldfinch or wild canary, the eastern goldfinch is found throughout IA and often stays through the winter months
Kansas Tiger Barred Salamander
KS designated the barred tiger salamander (Ambystoma mavortium) as state amphibian in 1994. A large amphibian that can grow to 14’, they are found in wild from sw Canada through west US to northern Mexico.
Kentucky Thoroughbred Horse
The thoroughbred (Equus caballus) was designated official state horse of Kentucky in 1996 (a thoroughbred horse is also featured on the Kentucky state quarter). .
Louisiana Brown Pelican
Designated state bird of Louisiana in 1966. Early European settlers were impressed with the pelican's generous and loving natur toward their young, and the brown pelican has been a symbol of LA ever since. Louisiana's official nickname is "The Pelican State" and the brown pelican appears on LA's state flag, state seal, the official state painting, and is one of three Louisiana symbols displayed on the U.S. mint quarter.
Maine Coon Cat
The Maine coon cat was recognized as the official state cat of Maine in 1985. Well established more than a century ago, they are one of the oldest natural breeds in North America. Though tabby color is most well-known, they come in many colors. .
Maryland Blue Crab
MD designated the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus Rathbun) as official state crustacean in 1989. Its scientific name translates as "beautiful swimmer that is savory." The name honors Mary Jane Rathbun, the scientist who described the species in 1896. The blue crab is native to the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Argentina. The Chesapeake Bay is famous for its blue crabs.
Massachusetts Boston Terrier
The Boston Terrier (Canis familiaris bostenensis) was recognized by the Massachusetts legislature as official state dog in 1979. A cross between an English bulldog and an English terrier, the Boston terrier was the first "purebred" dog developed in America (1869). .
The wolverine has a stout body and short muscular legs with two light chestnut stripes extending along its dark brown sides from the shoulders to the end of a hairy tail. The largest member of the weasel family, up to 35 to 44 inches long, the animal has a vicious disposition and destructive capabilities.
Minnesota Common Loon
The common loon (Gavia immer) was adopted as official state bird symbol of MN in 1961. Loons are known for their cries, wails, and yodels - their eerie, echoing calls are a distinctive feature of MN’s northern lakes. .
Mississippi Red Fox
Mississippi designated the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) as an official mammal symbol of the state in 1997. The red fox is a member of the canidae family (includes wolf, coyote & domestic dog). .
Missouri Fox Trotter
The Missouri Fox Trotter, designated state horse June 4, 2002, were developed in rugged Ozark hills of Missouri during the early 19th century. Bloodlines can be traced from early settlers to Missouri from the neighboring states of KY, IL, TN and AR. The distinguishing characteristic of the fox trotter is its rhythmic gait, in which the horse walks with its front feet and trots with the hind.
Montana Grizzly Bear
MT designated the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) as the official state animal in 1983. They can be found in Glacier National Park and mountains in NW Montana. The largest carnivores in America, an adult can stand 8 feet tall on its hind legs, weigh up to 1,500 pounds, and run at speeds up to 35 miles an hour. .
Nebraska designated the honeybee (Apis mellifica) as official state insect in 1975. Bee pollination is critical to plant and human survival - beeswax and honey are just surplus gifts from this tiny wonder of nature. The honeybee is an official state symbol in 17 states as honeybees play an important role in agriculture. .
Nevada Mountain Bluebird
Nevada designated the mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) as the official state bird in 1967 A member of the thrush family, the mountain bluebird lives in Nevada's high country and sings with a clear, short warble. .
New Hampshire Red Spotted Newt
New Hampshire designated the spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) as official state amphibian in 1985 after a 2 year effort by high school students. Common in New Hampshire, the Union Leader newspaper (April 25, 1985, p. 48) lists the spotted newt as "the perfect symbol for ensuring ecology in New Hampshire, as they exist predominantly in the rain and runoff sodden areas heavily affected by acid rain."
New Jersey Brook Trout
The brook trout, (Salvelinus fontinalis) was declared the official state fish in 1991. Governor James J. Florio signed it January 8, 1992 at Hopatcong Middle School, Hopatcong. .
New Mexico Roadrunner
Designated official state bird in 1949, The roadrunner, aka the chaparral bird, (Geococcyx californianus) inhabits desert and shrubby country in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. .
New York American Beaver
The beaver (Castor canadensis) was adopted as the State animal of New York in 1975. Unique animals with flat tails and lustrous fur, beavers have the ability to change a landscape second only to humans. Beavers prefer to dam streams in shallow valleys, turning much of the flooded area into wetlands (almost half of endangered and threatened species in North America rely on wetlands).
North Carolina Grey Squirrel
The Eastern gray squirrel was designated the official state mammal of North Carolina in 1969. .
North Dakota Western Meadowlark
The western meadowlark (Sturnella Neglecta) was designated official state bird of North Dakota in 1947. The western meadowlark is a familiar songbird of open country across the western two-thirds of the continent. (from WI to TX and west to the Pacific). KS, MT, NE, OR, and WY as state bird. .
Ohio White Tailed Deer
Designated official state animal in 1988. An animal of beauty and power, they can run up to 40 miles per hour, jump 9 foot fences, & swim 13 miles per hour. The white underside of the deer's tail waves when running and is flashed when danger is sensed. Native Americans and settlers relied on the white-tailed deer for buckskin & food.
Oklahoma Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher
OK designated the scissor-tailed flycatcher (Muscivora forficata) as state bird in 1951. Protected by law, it is of great economic value (diet consists almost entirely of non-useful & harmful insect species such as grasshoppers, crickets, & beetles). The songbird's unique tail can be twice as long as its body. OK is the center of it nesting range. .
Oregon Swallowtail Butterfly
The Oregon swallowtail butterfly (Papilio oregonius) was designated as OR’s official state insect in 1979. This strikingly beautiful butterfly is a true native of the Northwest. The OR Swallowtail butterfly can be seen in the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River drainage. .
Pennsylvania Great Dane
The Great Dane was designated the official state dog of PA in 1965. A portrait of William Penn and his Great Dane hangs in the Governor's reception room (Best Friend, by PA artist Violet Oakley). Great Danes were used as a hunting and working breed in frontier Pennsylvania. PA Legislation states that naming an official dog of the Commonwealth would "recognize the steadfast service and loyal devotion of all dogs in PA."
Rhode Island Red
Designated the official state bird of RI in 1954. When the bill was signed into law, then Governor Roberts stated: "The RI red has become a symbol of Rhode Islanders all over the world." .
South Carolina Wolf Spider
South Carolina designated the Carolina wolf spider (Hogna carolinensis) as the official state spider in 2000. It is the largest North American wolf spider. SC is the only state spider. .
South Dakota Coyote
The coyote (Canis latrans) was adopted as SD state animal in 1949. Native to desert southwest, they now range from AK, Canada and the USA, and south to central America. In SD, the coyote (also called prairie wolf) is found in the greatest numbers in the Black Hills and along the Missouri River and its tributaries.
Adopted as TN's wild animal symbol in 1971, the common raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a native to the Americas. Derived from the Algonquian Indian word "aroughcoune," meaning "he who scratches with his hands," They range over entire US except Rockies and desert southwest. They were hunted in earlier times for their water repellent fur. .
Texas Nine Banded Armadillo
TX designated the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) as official state small mammal in 1995. Distant cousin to the sloth and anteater, the nb armadillo is only species in North America. A bony, scaled shell protects the armadillo from predators. Originally native to South America, it now ranges as far north as TX, OK, KS and LA. The other twenty or so armadillo species remain in Central and South America.
Utah Rocky Mountain Elk
The Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis) became the official State animal of Utah in 1971. Called 'wapiti' by the Shawnee Indians, elk are members of the deer family and associate closely with the deer and moose of Utah. Elk once inhabited most of the USA, but are now found only west of the Rocky Mountains. .
Vermont Monarch Butterfly
VT designated the monarch (Danaus plexippus) as official state butterfly in 1987. Caterpillar and butterfly are brilliant in color as a warning (they ingests toxins from the milkweed plant which are poisonous to predators). .
Virginia American Foxhound
Designated by VA American foxhound as official state dog in 1966. Developed in colonial times by landed gentry purely for the sport of hunting foxes. There are several strains (ie: Walker, Goodman, Trigg, July & Penn-Marydel) that differ in appearance but are the same breed. .
WA designated the orca whale (Orcinus orca) as the official marine mammal in 2005 due to the research and persuasion of second graders from the Crescent Harbor Elementary School in Oak Harbor, WA. This symbol is intended to promote orca awareness and to encourage protection of the natural marine habitat. Pods of orcas migrate annually through Puget Sound. It is a significant symbol for the Native American culture.
West Virginia Black Bear
The state Division of Natural Resources conducted a poll to elect a state animal as a symbol for WV in 1954. Students, teachers, and sportsmen chose the black bear as the animal symbol by a large margin. The population lives in all of West Virginia's 55 counties. .
Wisconsin Dairy Cow
The dairy cow (Bos taurus) was designated the state domesticated animal of Wisconsin in 1971. The dairy industry has been important to Wisconsin's economy and heritage. .
Designated official state mammal in 1985, a bull Bison can weigh over 1800 lbs & stand 6’ tall. They roamed the prairie by tens of millions and were a way of life for the plains Indians. Hunted to the brink of extinction, an estimated that 300 - 500 remained when the federal government passed stricter game laws in 1889. Inseparable with American history, no other wild animal has played such a significant role in human affairs.
American Bald Eagle
The American bald eagle (Haliaeetus Leucocephalus) was adopted as the official emblem of the USA in 1782. Chosen because of its beauty, strength, long life, & because it's native to North America. In the wild, one will live 30-35 yrs (50 yrs in captivity). They fly up to 30 miles an hour and can dive at 100 miles an hour. Eagles feed primarily on fish, supplemented by small mammals, waterfowl, and carrion.