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Fauna in the Pacific Northwest

The lush forests around us are home to many animals—but so are our backyards, city parks and even our city streets! We have some amazing fauna in Clark County, and they’re important to maintaining our local ecosystem. Every animal in the world brings something to the environment that another plant or animal (including you!) relies on. This creates a balance that forms the intricate web of life, where each organism has something to contribute, even if in a very small way.

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How many species live in Washington state? There’s an astonishing variety thanks to our diverse ecosystems. From grizzly bears and tree squirrels to cougars and pygmy rabbits, there are incredible species all around us. There are 470 fish species, 140 mammals, 341 birds, 25 amphibians, 21 reptiles, and around 20,000 invertebrates.

What is fauna?

The word fauna comes from two Greek words: ‘Faunus,’ the name of a Roman god and ‘Fauna,’ the name of a Roman goddess. It is used to describe all the animal life in a particular region.

Earth is one big cycle with animals feeding on plants and other animals. When the animals die, their bodies decompose and provide nutrients to plants, which further boosts their growth. Animal droppings also provide fertilizer to these plants.

Learning about our local fauna and the ecosystem in which they live, helps us make healthy decisions about the place we call home. And that includes you. After all, you are considered fauna!

Fawn in the Woods
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Washington is represented by many different species of wildlife! Our official state mammal is the Olympic marmot. The state marine mammal is the orca. The official state bird is the willow goldfinch. The official state fish is the steelhead trout. Have you ever seen these animals?

Animals in Clark County

There are so many animals in Clark County! From the animals we might see in our backyards and parks, such as bumble bees, scrub jays, and skunks, to the bobcats, trap door spiders, and horned lizards living in the wilderness, we’re surrounded by fantastic wildlife.

To keep wildlife healthy and thriving, we need to do our part to protect their habitat.

Marmot on the Mountains With a Rainbow
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It’s important to know the animals that live around us because it gives us a greater appreciation of our own environment. One of these two animals lives in Clark County and one does not. Which one can you name?

Ostritch Running
Scrub Jay Flying

Invasive animal species in Clark County

Although we have many amazing native animal species in Washington, there are also some invasive species that can cause a lot of environmental damage. Here are some examples.

Stink Bug

Brown marmorated stink bug

This insect will attack fruit and vegetable gardens as well as landscaping plants. In winter, they will congregate in large numbers in homes and other human-made structures. They are often stinky when squished.

Gypsy Moth

Gypsy moth

Increasingly common throughout North American, this moth eats trees and shrubs and can quickly destroy entire forests. In Washington, we carefully survey forests to find any gypsy moth introductions and so far, they haven’t been established here.

Nutria in the Grass

Nutria

These large, aquatic rodents were originally introduced to the United States from South America in the 1930s for fur farming. Nutria cause erosion and damage vegetation.

Field guides for animals in Clark County, Washington

Want to learn more about the animals in Clark County? Check out our animal guides! They’re a fun way to get up close and personal with the creatures you can see in your backyard, local park, or during a weekend trip to a lake.

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