Welcome to Kansas wildlife.
Kansas ranks 13th in terms of total land acreage in the United States. Like most Midwest states, farm land, for both agriculture and grazing constitutes about 88% of the total.
Woodlands and forests account for approximately 10% of Kansas land. However, it’s difficult to demarcate between some agriculture land and woodlands because according to Kansas Forest Service, about 40% of the woodlands/forests get categorized as agroforests that serve as windbreaks, shelterbelts, streamside forests and fence rows for the agriculture industry.
Together those numbers explain the lack of large mammal diversity in the state. In order to make space for agriculture, the large mammal population such as bears, cougars and the famed prairie bison were extirpated from the state by the start of the twentieth century.
Today, no one thinks of Kansas as a wildlife destination to see common headline mammals. On the other hand, Kansas wildlife can be considered very diverse in other wildlife categories such as amphibians, reptiles, birds and insects such as dragonflies and damselflies.
Plentiful fresh water sources from the major rivers and their forks makes herping Kansas quite the adventure. The state supports over one hundred amphibian and reptile species. Almost half of those species (42) are snakes. The Kansas Herp Atlas covers them all.
Additionally they note:
Only five species occur statewide: American Bullfrog, Gopher snake, North American Racer, Ornate Box Turtle, and Snapping Turtle.
So, there’s lots for the wildlife tourist to see in Kansas when they hit the road.
Kansas five National Wildlife Refuges are magnets for migrating waterfowl. Along with the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, they are situated from the center of the state toward the east, making for many birding hot spots for that section of the state.
The video shows nine common migratory birds:
- Purple Martin in bird house
- Common Nighthawk
- Yellow-billed Cuckoo
- Horned Lark
- Lesser Goldfinch
- Orchard Oriole
- Yellow-headed Blackbird
The refuges also are home to the small mammals such as bobcats, opossum, coyotes, badgers, etc.al, that remain in the state.
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism manages the nearby Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, home to larger animals such as bison and elk. Additionally the state hosts over one hundred smaller wildlife areas that are managed for hunting, fishing and general wildlife management.
As the site grows, more information covering the state will be added. Until then, press any of the following buttons to learn more about Kansas wildlife and nature.