10 American Animals You Don’t Know

Ringtail Cat

Now isn’t this animal a Disney creation? Big dark eyes, ring tail, nocturnal, and crunches up pesky mice and can be tamed? These little guys were known as “miner’s cats” and early miners did use them as rodent exterminators.

Collared Peccary

This ain’t no oinker! This little pig-like mammal evolved right here in North America. They are cute, territorial, and generally ignore humans. They cannot be domesticated and live in family groups.

Roseate Spoonbill

Here is a South Florida Treasure! (got to represent!) This moderately unattractive bird is by far one of the most beautiful birds! They evolved that unusual proboscis to feed on tiny crustaceans, snails, insects, and various other squishy denizens of the murky mangrove swamps of the Southern United States.

Pronghorn Antelope

Where you aware that the second fastest land mammal in the world lives in North America? The pronghorn inhabits grassy plains and semi-desert environments in the western states.

American Paddlefish

Here is an ancient throwback to the Paleozoic era. (300 -400 million years ago) the Paddlefish has fossil evidence from before the first known dinosaurs left fossils!

Periodic Cicada

Also known as the 17-year cicada, these harmless flying protein bars are a familiar site to those of us who live in the Northern states. (I believe that this past summer was the summer of the cicadas in Chicago.)

Giant Desert Centipede

Okay. There are no animals I am afraid of. But these multi-legged wonders of nature give me a major case of the heebie-jeebies! I saw one at a reptile trade show a few years back. It was propped up in a glass container, devouring a mouse! It was like a train wreck… I couldn’t look away!

Gulf Coast Jaguarondi

The jaguarondi is a unique feline that is native to Central America and has a remnant population living Southern Texas. These reclusive cats are unusual looking, resembling an animal more weasel-like than cat-like. They are beautiful and rare.

Loggerhead Shrike

Also known as a “Butcher Bird” this little flying wonder shows that first impressions count, but aren’t always entirely true. A Shrike is a songbird that kills and impales its victims. Really.

Glass Lizards

These guys are often mistaken for snakes. But, they are simply legless lizards. And no, snakes are not legless lizards! Like many lizards, these little garden predators will “drop” their tails if grabbed or if they feel severely threatened.


Because I so love this species I will place them on this list. Many people smell these Native American animals frequently, but hardly ever see them. There are several species that have evolved the usage of vile bodily fluids to discourage predators or for defense, but none quite so well as the Skunk.