Most of Montana’s wildlife actively avoids humans. That said, humans should actively avoid some of Montana’s wildlife – specifically its predators. The Treasure State acts as a hunting ground for carnivores such as mountain lions and wolves, and omnivores like black bears and grizzlies. These animals should be avoided as they have been known to injure and even kill humans, particularly if they feel their offspring are in danger.
When hiking, camping, or fishing in a wilderness area you should always be prepared to defend against a predator attack. Making plenty of noise is usually enough to ward off animals but you may want to carry bear spray, a knife, or a firearm just in case you’re forced to defend yourself. It should go without saying that animals such as bears and wolves are not to be approached; Montana’s predators are fascinating but it is wise to view them at a distance, at a wildlife preserve, or in pictures.
The term “ungulates” probably isn’t one you hear too often but it is used to describe hooved animals. In Montana there are numerous ungulate species, from domestic cows and horses to wild deer and mountain goats. Many of the Treasure State’s ungulates act as prime hunting game and some, like the bison, are spiritually significant to Montana’s Native American tribes.
Because ungulates are so numerous around the state, it is very common to come across them whether you’re in the mountains, the prairie, or even a residential area. Just watch carefully when you’re driving; you don’t want to come across one with your car.
Obviously, “critter” is not a scientific term but it is an inclusive word that helps to describe many different types of animals. On this page there are pictures of reptiles, amphibians, and rodents.
Reptiles and amphibians are both cold-blooded but whereas reptiles have scales, amphibians have skin. Amphibians also start their lives as gilled animals in the water and grow lungs that allow them to survive on land later in life. Rodents – mammals which are classified by a pair of continually growing incisors – are vastly different from both reptiles and amphibians and, in general, are more commonly seen in Montana.
Cormorants and cranes. Falcons and finches. Gulls, hawks, hummingbirds, larks, and loons. Osprey and owls. Pelicans and pigeons. Quails, rails, shrikes, sparrows, storks, swans, and vultures.
There are well over 400 known species of birds in Montana, making the state a birders paradise. In
fact, the Montana Audubon Society has nine chapters around the state working to promote appreciation for bird watching as well conservation of bird ecosystems so that future generations can view this diverse group of winged creatures.