Iowa has plenty of creatures and critters that are native to the state, but every now and again there are some surprising sightings that you wouldn't expect. Let's take a look at some of the examples of animals that have wandered into our state.


Photo By Holly Kuchera on Shutterstock

In 2017, after an image was caught on a trail cam, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirmed the first sighting of a fisher in Iowa in 150 years! The fisher is a carnivorous cousin to the weasel, otter, and mink. Fishers hunt porcupines, squirrels, rats, and sometimes even birds. Their hind paws can rotate up to 180 degrees, making them able to come back down a tree trunk headfirst. They are actually one of the few predators that can hunt a porcupine! Honestly, I think they're kind of cute.


Photo by Zachery Perry on Unsplash

In late 2015 there were various moose sightings in the Hawkeye state, mainly in the northern region. It's likely that they made their way down from Northern Minnesota, according to the Iowa DNR. Now, I know moose are large creatures with long legs, but that still seems like quite a trek!

Mountain Lions

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

There have been multiple mountain lion sightings in Iowa in the last two decades, with a confirmed sighting in Des Moines as recently as 2019. One was shot and killed in Sioux City in 2004 after being found in a residential area. The assistant administrator of the Wildlife Division of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Bruce Morrison, said they considered using a tranquilizer, but the anesthesia takes up to 10 minutes and the animal potentially would not have responded well. They, therefore, followed the commission's written policy that calls for the killing of mountain lions if found in a residential area.

I understand that these large cats can potentially be dangerous, but this makes me so sad to hear. Hopefully any future wandering cougars stay clear of residential neighborhoods!


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