Louisiana is home to a wide variety of wild animals that inhabit its wetlands, forests and swamps. It supports mammals such as bears, wolves, coyotes, deer, panthers, otters, foxes, raccoons, rabbits, wild pigs and beavers. There are also many different species of birds, reptiles and amphibians such as blue herons, hawks, eagles, owls, turtles, alligators, snakes, lizards and salamanders.
Louisiana has several state and national parks that serve to protect forests, wetlands, and prairies from human encroachment. There are many rare, endangered and threatened species that live in Louisiana, including alligators, red wolves, brown pelicans, golden eagles, bald eagles and the Florida panther and a variety of mussels, crustaceans, insects, fish and amphibians. Whooping cranes, a species that nearly went extinct in 1941 when only 21 birds remained, have made a successful recovery in Louisiana, according to the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Hunting and trapping of certain species is allowed, but it is regulated and seasonally restricted. Some wild animals that are hunted include deer, waterfowl, rabbits, turkeys, hogs, quail, nutria and alligators. Nutria are human-introduced invasive rodents that cause substantial damage to wetlands by over-consuming vegetation and burrowing. Nutria waste 90 percent of the plants they feed on.