The southern marshes and swamps of Louisiana are the home of a wide variety of animals. White-tailed deer are abundant throughout the state. A few black bears remain in the more remote parts of the swamps; muskrat, mink, and raccoon are also found there. Among the scarce small mammals are the wildcat, gray fox, beaver, otter, and weasel. Common small mammals include the opossum, cottontail, marsh rabbit, and gray squirrel.
Louisiana is the southern terminus of the Central and Mississippi Flyways. More than one-half of the species of birds in North America are resident in the state or spend a portion of their migration there. Species of migratory wildfowl are the most abundant. They include several species of ducks and geese that spend the winter on the tidal marshes along the Gulf Coast. The most common of the state’s water birds include the laughing gull, royal tern, and black skimmer. The state bird, the brown pelican, is on the federal endangered species list. Birds found in the marshes include the marsh wren, seaside sparrow, redwinged blackbird, Wilson snipe, woodcock, and species of sandpipers. Birds such as blue heron, snowy egret, and American egret are protected in wildlife preserves. The upland sections of the state are inhabited by blue jays, brown thrashers, mockingbirds, wood thrushes, yellow-shafted flickers, red cockaded woodpeckers, catbirds, whippoorwills, scarlet tanagers, Baltimore orioles, pine warblers, brown-headed nuthatches, and numerous other birds.
In addition to ducks and geese, the principal game birds of the state are the wild turkey, bobwhite, and mourning dove.
Alligators are common in the Louisiana swamps. Other reptiles in the state include turtles, lizards, and both poisonous and nonpoisonous snakes. The poisonous snakes found in Louisiana are the coral snake, western pygmy rattler, canebrake rattler, copperhead, and water moccasin.
Among the great variety of fish in the waters off the coast are tarpon, pompano, flounder, red snapper, menhaden, redfish, drum, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, sheepshead, goliath grouper, bluefish, and jack. In addition, there are sharks, giant rays, and various kinds of shellfish in the offshore waters. The main freshwater game fish are the largemouth black bass, white crappie, black crappie, barfish, and sunfish. Among the catfish are the blue cat, yellow cat, and paddlefish, or spoonbill cat. The paddlefish, related to the sturgeon, is valued for its roe, which is used to make a form of caviar. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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