The United States is home to several animals, including 1,154 fish species, 311 reptiles, 100,000 insect species, 295 amphibian species, 800 bird species, and 432 mammal species. A considerable percentage of these animal species can be found in the country’s national parks. The United States had to over 6,770 protected areas or national parks in 2013, which occupy a total area of about 1,006,619sq miles. Some of these animals are widely distributed in the country like the red-tailed hawks, while others like the Florida panther are endangered. Some of the strange animals found in the U.S. include:
Gemsboks, also known as gemsbucks, are huge antelopes that are indigenous to southern parts of Africa, particularly in the Kalahari Desert. Gemsboks were introduced in Tularosa Basin in New Mexico in 1969 to give the hunters bigger prey to chase. Only 93 gemsboks were introduced in New Mexico from 1969 to 1977, and currently, there are over 3,000 gemsboks.
Nutria, also known as Coypu are large semi-aquatic herbivorous rodents that can be found along the wetlands, lakes, and rivers. Originally from South America, these rodents were brought into the country from 1899 to 1930 to create a fur-farm industry. According to the American Fish and Wildlife Service, these rodents can be found in about 16 American states, including Virginia, Texas, and Louisiana.
A lamprey is a jawless fish belonging to the superclass Cyclostomata. Adult lampreys have toothed-funnel-like sucking mouths. They are predatory fishes that attach to other fishes and feed on their body fluids and blood. Lampreys are indigenous to the Atlantic Ocean, and they can be found in several temperate areas except for the ones in Africa. In North America, these creatures can be found in the Great Lakes.
7. Gila Monster
Gila monsters are venomous lizards that are native to Sonora, Mexico, and the southwestern parts of the United States. It is the only poisonous lizard that is indigenous to the U.S., and it is about 2ft long. Gila monsters are slow-moving heavy lizards; therefore, they present little to no threat to human beings. Utah adopted the Gila monster as its state reptile in 2019.
Coatimundi, also known as white-nosed coati, is a coati species belonging to the family Procyonidae. Coatimundis are omnivorous creatures that weigh about 13.2pounds. Their nose-to-tail length is about 3.6ft. Coatimundis inhabit the moist and dry forests in the American continents. These animals can be found in New Mexico and Arizona.
5. Craspedacusta sowerbii
Craspedacusta sowerbiis are freshwater jellyfishes that belong to the phylum Cnidaria. It is a hydromedusan jellyfish, which means that it has a velum (a muscular shell-like structure) on its ventral surface. Even though they are native to the Yangtze basin, China, these jellyfishes can be found in all freshwater bodies on the planet. Craspedacusta sowerbiis can be found in all American states except Hawaii, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Wyoming, and Montana.
4. Crested Caracara
Crested caracaras are birds of prey that belong to the Falconidae family. These birds are not fast-flying hunters like the Falco falcons, they are sluggish and sometimes scavengers. They weigh about 46oz and have a wingspan of approximately 49inches. Crested caracaras can be found in Florida, Arizona, and the southernmost parts of Texas.
Jaguarundis are small wild cats that are indigenous to South America and Southern parts of North America. Even though they share a part of their name with the bigger jaguars, they are not apex predators. At a maximum length of 30inches from tail-to-snout, these creatures can only hunt small rodents. Jaguarondis have long tails and short legs. Jaguarundis are quite common in South, North, and Central America. In the United States, they are found in Texas, where their population is threatened by habitat destruction.
Hellbender is an aquatic giant salamander species that is endemic to central and eastern United States. It is the last living member of the genus Cryptobranchus. They have flat heads and bodies with slimy skin. They are the world’s third-biggest salamanders, which can attain a maximum length of 29inches. They can be found in several American states from northern Georgia to southern New York like Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and Ohio, among others.
Snakefishes are freshwater perciform fishes that are indigenous to Asia and Africa. The snakefish is distinguished by its shiny teeth, big mouth, and dorsal fins. They breathe through their gills; therefore, they can cover short distances on land. Snakefish became popular in the U.S. in 2002 after the northern snakehead was found in Maryland. They became established in River Potomac in 2004. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claims that these creatures have been spotted in 10 American states, including Virginia, Massachusetts, and Florida, among others.