North Dakota January 25, 2019
These 4 Out-Of-Place Creatures Have Been Spotted In North Dakota And You’ll Want To Steer Clear
North Dakota has its fair share of wildlife. Bison, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and even moose are pretty common around here. This state does have the most wildlife refuges out of any other, after all. However, sometimes animals that aren’t commonly seen here wander into the prairie. Sometimes these animals are also a bit dangerous – and you might want to steer clear. Here are four animals that have had recent sightings in North Dakota you should be aware of:
Wolverines are fierce carnivores that are rarely seen around the US but do still roam the country. They weren't seen in North Dakota for nearly 150 years but in 2016 a North Dakotan rancher shot and killed one that was near his livestock. As recently as August of 2018, other people have reported sightings of wolverines in North Dakota but have not disclosed the locations to potentially protect the animals and curious people who may wander too close. Wolverines are known to be excellent hunters and take on prey much larger than themselves, and often are successful in their hunts. It is thought the wolverines seen in North Dakota have come from neighboring states such as Montana.
2. Black bears
Black bear sightings in North Dakota have gone up tremendously in the past few years. In July of 2018 a black bear was seen strolling into the town of Michigan, North Dakota and later was photographed leaning on a resident's truck and was photographed from the passengers inside. Black bears have been seen across the state in various places. Sometimes they are referred to as "cinnamon bears" due to their more brown-colored phase. If you see a black bear, make sure to keep your distance even if it seems calm and friendly. Black bears can weigh up to 550 pounds and have been seen moving rocks weighing up to 300 pounds with ease. These are no teddy bears!
3. Mountain lions
Mountain lion sightings usually cause quite a buzz here in North Dakota, and they aren't all that infrequent these days. Just this month - January of 2019 - a mountain lion was shot and killed within the state's capital city of Bismarck, not far from the city center. It was taken care of by a Game and Fish officer due to its dangerous proximity to residents of the city. Mountain lions, otherwise known as cougars or pumas, have been spotted throughout North Dakota once in a while but it is rare that they get so close to large towns or cities. They often hunt deer and likely wander into North Dakota in search of food or new territory.
4. Gray wolves
Gray wolves are the largest undomesticated canine. It's rare to hear them howling in North Dakota but sightings do happen. As recently as 2017, a wolf was shot near Edinburg, North Dakota. There have been scattered sightings all across the state over the years. According to the ND Game and Fish Department, there are no known breeding populations in the state so any gray wolves that are seen here likely came from other states such as Minnesota. They often hunt deer, elk, and moose, and likely don't want to bother with any human populations. However, they do pose a risk to livestock.
Have you sighted any of these animals in North Dakota? Remember, you should steer clear of any of these should you sight them and it’s not a bad idea to report their location to the North Dakota Game and Fish Department if they seem close to a city or town.
North Dakota is full of all sorts of creatures, some beautiful and majestic like the wild horses of the badlands, and some not so beautiful like
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