Animals You Might Expect To See While Camping in the U.S.

One of the best features of camping outdoors is the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature. Some animals are beautiful, while others can be dangerous. Here are some creatures you may find while travelling through the great outdoors.

Wild animals you might see while camping in the U.S.

The natural environment of the United States has plenty of lush landscapes and rolling rivers that provide ample living space for any creature to call home. Although each biome will naturally host an array of specialized animals, some may exist anywhere you go. Bring your outdoor gear and set up camp for opportunities to see some of the following wildlife:

Rabbits and hares

You can find rabbits and hares almost anywhere in the United States. They can be devouring vegetables in gardens or gnawing on tree bark. If you are lucky enough to see one, you may want to snap a picture because these furry creatures can make a hasty retreat! Rabbits and hares generally avoid interacting with humans, preferring to hang out in bushes or underground tunnels instead.

Foxes, coyotes, and wolves

People generally enjoy seeing these three members of the Canidae family in the wild because they resemble domesticated dogs. Although they may look cute from a distance, don’t get too close because they are considered dangerous and may bite. All three have fur coats, long tails, and sharp teeth. If you’re lucky, you may end up hearing the howl of a wolf in the middle of the night!

Owls, hawks, falcons, eagles, and vultures

The birds of prey roam the sky with ferocity! Also known as raptors, these birds hunt throughout the day or night. Eagles, hawks, and falcons will hunt anything from snakes to small mammals during daylight hours. Vultures will feast on carrion. Owls hunt at night and are known for their hooting. You can watch these birds in action with a good pair of binoculars. Bring night vision for those late-night bird-watching excursions.

Snakes, turtles, tortoises, and alligators

The reptiles are from the reptilia class of animals consisting of snakes, turtles, tortoises, and alligators, to name a few. You will most likely encounter these animals anywhere you go. You must never get close to a snake or alligator because they can bite or inject venom into your blood. Turtles and tortoises, especially snapping turtles, may bite off a finger if you get too close, so observe them from a safe distance! Reptiles are gorgeous from afar but are not very friendly up close.

Raccoons, chipmunks, and squirrels

You may have seen raccoons, squirrels, or chipmunks in your area, but they are also very abundant in nature. Look up toward the trees to find squirrels snacking on nuts. Chipmunks will be somewhere beneath your feet in underground tunnels. Raccoons may raid your campsite if trash bags or unattended food are left sitting around.

Deer and horses

Deer and horses are great runners who enjoy munching on plants. Deer prefer to stay near trees, while horses favour open prairies where they can stretch their legs. Both animals are spectacles to see in nature. Keep a safe distance from these fast animals because they can easily get spooked!

Bears, badgers, and skunks

Bears, badgers, and skunks are fun to watch in documentaries or photos but are much different in person. Bears are large mammals that tend to raid campsites for food. It is a good idea to distance yourself from these large predators because they are very dangerous. Badgers and skunks will spray out foul-smelling fluid if they feel threatened. In either case, you’re better off not meeting them at all!

Bonus! These animals are endemic to certain landscapes and climates

There may be wild animals that appear all over the continental U.S., but there are some that prefer to live only within certain areas. If you plan to visit these areas, you may find yourself face to face with some of these marvellous creatures. Look below for information on these localized animals.


Marine creatures love water and live along the coastlines of the U.S. Many stay in the water, some skitter around rocks, while others call the sand their home. If you’re camping by the beach, keep an eye out for the coastal creatures listed below:

  • Crab
  • Dolphin
  • Pelican
  • Seagull
  • Seal
  • Shark
  • Starfish
  • Whale

Marine life is full of beautiful creatures that live in the waters or along the coast. Steer clear of the more dangerous varieties such as sharks.


The hot zones of the desert also have plenty of wild animals to view. If you wish to camp out in the desert, you will get to see a set of animals unique to that environment. These wild creatures have different adaptations especially suited for arid survival. Here are a few that may catch your eye:

  • Cougar
  • Fire ant
  • Killer bee
  • Rattlesnake
  • Scorpion
  • Tarantula

As always, steer clear of these wild animals for your own safety. Some enjoy the sunlight while others emerge under the cover of darkness. All of them can hurt you and cause excruciating pain.


The grasslands are home to creatures that rely on prairie grasses to survive. Some may burrow underground, while others will stampede in any direction. Here are some animals you may meet in the grasslands:

  • Armadillo
  • Bison
  • Gopher
  • Groundhog
  • Prairie dog
  • Wild turkey

The grasslands are home to many species of wild animals that may appear or even approach you! You can get some decent photos of them if you’re patient.


Nature is full of surprises, and wild animals can be some of the more pleasant ones. You can prepare your group ahead of time by informing them about the types of animals they may encounter, both to inspire awe and keep everyone safe. Try visiting different outdoor areas for the opportunity to see the animals mentioned above.