HomeLocal NewsWhat is Michigan State Animal? A Look Into The Animals

What is Michigan State Animal? A Look Into The Animals

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What is Michigan state animal is a common question you’ll come across when looking for the significance of state animals. 

Michigan is famous because of its rich cultural history, breathtaking landscapes, and rare animals that reveal its effort toward conservation. 

The government of Michigan has several state symbols that showcase its identity, revealing the symbols’ significance towards Michigan’s values and natural heritage. 

Wildlife is essential to the state hence the government has recognized the animals by having them as the state symbols. 

Read ahead as we explore the Michigan state animals and answer a few questions about the symbols.

So, what is Michigan state animal?

Michigan state animal is an official animal symbol representing the state of Michigan. The symbol reveals the diversity in the state and the success of the effort to conserve animals. The white-tailed deer ((Odocoileus virginianus)) is the Michigan state animal. 

Choosing a state animal requires the governor’s and the legislature’s approval as it carries the state’s identity.

The Importance of State Symbols

A state symbol is a significant aspect of a country or state. The symbol defines the state’s ethnicity, cultural diversity, and occupation. This also shows the state’s history, the people, and the nation’s pride.

The symbols signify patriotism toward the state. America has had a tradition where each state adopts a state animal for identity and heritage. By having state symbols like animals, residents can easily connect with the natural environment and follow the state’s history.

Furthermore, the state animals reflect the unique ecosystems in each state. Most people in the state value the state animals as they show the most striking characteristics celebrated by the people and have what they want to preserve for the coming generations.

The state animals are held dear as they have vital roles to play in the state’s culture and history. For example, the white-tailed deer of Michigan is a state animal that has had an impact on the natural landscapes and has existed for centuries.

Let’s look at some of the state animals that have been designated officially by Michigan State and the reasons behind them.

The State Animals In Michigan

Michigan has a variety of animals that fit the state symbol. However, the official ones have played a key role in the history of Michigan and hence acquired the status symbol. We reveal the authorized state animals for Michigan and discuss them in detail.

The white-tailed deer

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) was selected to be the official state animal in the 1990s as it provided for the native Americans and settlers throughout history. The adaptable animal symbolizes Michigan’s natural beauty and the fantastic wildlife.

While in Michigan, you’ll see the animals in the diverse landscapes, parks, and dense forests. Their presence is in every county, and they can live in urban and suburban settlements. The deer is characterized by speed and can run 35-40 miles per hour.

The athletic legs are powerful, and can effortlessly jump over a 9-foot fence. With the ability to jump over high fences, the deer find the Michigan ecosystem the best for its existence since the extensive fields provide the conditions for its survival.

The indigenous communities in Michigan regarded the deer since it played pivotal roles in their lives. The state animal provided meat and had a spiritual advantage. 

During the different ceremonies of indigenous groups like the Odawa and Ojibwe, the deer was incorporated into the myths.

Furthermore, the white-tailed deer was also very resilient due to its ability to adapt to various climatic conditions. 

Even when the European settlers arrived in Michigan, the deer kept soaring and providing for them. The settler’s deer hunting improved, cultivating Michigan’s hunting culture.

Currently, the state of Michigan has developed conservation measures to ensure the deer population doesn’t become extinct due to hunting activities. Through Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR), regulations and rules are made.

The department collaborates with other wildlife experts to ensure the white-tail deer balance well in the ecosystem. 

Through conservation efforts, the department can mitigate human and wildlife conflicts by setting hunting regulations and controlling overpopulation.

The DNR carries out regular education programs and initiatives that address the white-tail deer in Michigan. The efforts ensure that the precious animal remains a key part of the state.

Facts about Michigan’s white-tailed deer

The white-tailed deer is a unique animal found in every corner of Michigan. The deer can live up to 15 years. The deer live in forests, backyards, farmlands, and green spaces. The white-tailed deer has a unique vocal variation where you can notice its grunt, snort, and bleat.

The animal gets its white-tailed name since it raises its tail when startled, revealing the white color. Still, on appearance, during summer, the deer appears reddish brown and gray in the winter.

A fawn features white spots on its coat, which disappear when it’s above four months. The male deer will grow antlers during spring, and the size depends on the diet and age. Mature deer weigh about 100-300 pounds with a body length of five to seven feet.

The white-tailed deer feeds on fruits, nuts, and plants.

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)

Besides the white-tailed deer, the American Robin has secured its place as the Michigan state animal. The bird was designated in 1931 as the state bird. 

The voters were to select between the American Robin and the chickadee, where the Robin reviewed most of the votes.

Despite the win, other people still feel the chickadee should be named the state bird, as it is everywhere in Michigan regardless of the weather. 

The Robin, however, has been alert every time winter ends, and it will be the first bird to show up, revealing a sign of hope into the springtime.

The bird is adaptable, and like the deer, it lives in parks, backyards, forests, and woodlands and often feeds on nuts and worms. The birds are easy to locate as they feature vibrant colors comprising rust-colored breasts with white bellies. The females have muted colors.

Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

The Trout was designated officially in 1965 as the official fish of Michigan. However, confusion led to people demanding to know the exact trout that was being referred to as the state fish. It was clarified in 1988 that the Brook Trout was the official fish.

The type of fish is everywhere in Michigan; you can see it in lakes, rivers, and streams with clear water. They often swim under logs and spring-fed locations. The fish is used to cold water, and in summer, they migrate in search of closer water.

The brook trout is available in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. The fish has a blue-gray appearance, while some are black and brown with green mottling. The silvery white bellies and red spots on the side characterize the fish.

Mastodon (Mammut americanum)

The Mastodon is the recently designated state animal of Michigan. After the campaign led by Professor David P. Thomas, the state of Michigan had to adopt the state fossil. 

It was in 2002 when the efforts of Thomas paid off as Michigan announced the Mastodon as the official state animal.

The Mastodons are now extinct, as they were last seen 10.000 years ago. The Mastodon looked like mammoths and elephants. The animals had straight tusks with different shapes of the body.

If you visit the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, you’ll see the display of the entire skeleton that was discovered in Owosso. Outside Ann Arbor, you’ll see 30 footprints of Mastodon.

Are you still there? You can also check out: When does schools start in Michigan?


  • Is the Wolverine a state animal of Michigan?

No, Wolverine is not a state animal of Michigan, but many people may still regard it as a state animal. However, the DNR website has the White Tail Deer as the official state animal.

  • What is the state animal in Michigan?

The state animal in Michigan is the white-tailed deer available in all the Michigan counties in the urban and suburban locations.

  • Does Michigan have a state bird?

Yes, Michigan has a state bird that has vibrant colors. The bird is known as the American Robin.


What is a Michigan state animal? The Michigan official state animal is the white-tailed deer, which has been significant in the past and and present and will likely be part of the future generations in Michigan. 

The animal has its significance with the indigenous and early settlers of Michigan. The American Robin, Brook Trout, and Mastodon are also designated as the official state animals in Michigan. Also, the Painted Turtle is another state animal that has existed for ages.

Different states regard the state animals in unique ways depending on how they helped the previous generations and how they fit into the modern world. Check the state website to discover more animals designated in the past.

Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper
Jason Cooper is a dedicated news blogger with a zeal for storytelling. Enthusiastically covering current events, he constantly seeks fresh angles and innovative ways to refine his craft and engage his readers.


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