What Kind of Animals Live in Massachusetts?


Massachusetts has a temperature deciduous climate and so can support many life forms from insects (Massachusetts' state insect is the 7-spotted ladybug) to birds, from reptiles to land mammals and animals that live in its waters or along its seashore. These life forms include not only humans, but also the flora and fauna they've introduced into the state.


  • Birds that live in Massachusetts include the common loon, the wood duck, the mallard, the northern bobwhite, the sharp-shinned hawk, the sora and the ruby-crowned kinglet. House sparrows, starlings and pigeons are common, as are robins, thrushes, thrashers, the northern mockingbird, the tree swallow, the bank swallow, and the purple martin.


  • Reptiles and amphibians include the common snapping turtle, the eastern box turtle, and the painted and musk turtles. Massachusetts is also the home of the harmless green snake, the hog-nosed snake (also called the puff adder even though it's non-venomous), king snakes and garter snakes. The common tree frog is also found in Massachusetts as are the bullfrog, green frog, pickerel and leopard frog. Salamanders include Eastern newts, dusky salamanders and cave salamanders.


  • Some of the mammals who live in Massachusetts include the Virginia opossum, one of the only marsupials in North America, and the American beaver, which is North America's largest rodent. The white-footed mouse lives in the forest, as does the Eastern cottontail rabbit. Massachusetts is the home to bats like the little brown myotis, the northern myotis and the eastern piperelle. The bobcat lives in coniferous and deciduous forests, swamps, thickets and rocky areas. Coyotes have spread into the suburbs. Also to be found are the common gray fox, the Northern Raccoon, the striped skunk and the long-tailed weasel. The white-tail deer is also common.

Aquatic Animals

  • Animals that live off the Massachusetts coast include the harbor seal, which is seen basking on rocks. The bottle-nosed dolphin often rides the bows of ships. Killer whales, humpback whales, and fin whales also visit the Massachusetts coast. The North Atlantic right whale used to be hunted by Massachusetts whalers. Trout live in the rivers and streams of the state and herring and anchovies live off the coast -- anchovies rarely swim north of Cape Cod. And cod has always been a very important fish for Massachusetts fishing industry.


  • "Simon and Schusters Guide to Insects"; Dr. Ross H. Arnett Jr., et al.;1987
  • "The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fishes, Whales & Dolphins"; Herbert T. Boschung, Jr., et. al.; 1983
  • "Mammals of North America"; Fiona A. Reid; 2006
  • "Trees"; Herbert S. Zim, et. al.; 1956
  • SHG Resources: Guide to Massachusetts Facts on the Web
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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