A river otter peeking out of the water looking at the camera

The Most Common Animals at PA Parks

Pennsylvania is home to a diverse landscape with a variety of wildlife nestled into it. The state’s beautiful parks offer perfect places to experience the assorted wildlife that reside here. From 435 bird species to weasels and otters to even elk, the Keystone State is brimming with creatures for you to discover nearly right outside your door – or wherever your closest local park is. Let’s take a look at some of the wildlife a sharp eye is apt to find at PA parks.

River Otters

Though elusive, these water-loving creatures are a staple in Pennsylvania’s waterways. In fact, they exist in every major river system in the state. Otters sometimes live near cities, but typically prefer the wilder terrain of Pennsylvania, so you may need to head to a park that’s farther away depending on where you live. These playful pups (and adults) love to slide down muddy banks or ice and have fun with sticks, stones, food, and more. However, you may have trouble finding them in the wild but if you do, you’ll never forget it! If you can’t spot one in the wild, you might see one riding around on a license plate as Pennsylvania made the river otter a star of some of its custom options starting in 1999.


Did you know that Pennsylvania is home to Elk Country? That’s right! In almost the very middle of the state, you’ll find Elk Country in Benezette, PA. During the 1800s, this native species was entirely wiped out but in 1913 the Pennsylvania Game Commission imported elk from the West to reintroduce them to the state. Today roughly 1,200 elk roam across 10 PA counties. In Benezette, you can enjoy exploring the Elk Country Visitor Center where you can learn about the history of the animals and maybe even spot one in the wild!


Of the 435 species of birds in Pennsylvania, you’re most likely to see a Northern Cardinal or American Robin at your local parks or even in your backyard! These common birds love to visit just outside your window or your birdfeeder for a delicious bite. You also have a high chance of seeing an American Crow, Blue Jay, or Mourning Dove near your home or at your favorite park as these are common birds in the state. Break out the binoculars to try and find other less-populous gems like the Gray Catbird or White-Throated Sparrow.

There are many more kinds of wildlife to enjoy in and around the lush parks of Pennsylvania. No matter the season, you’re sure to discover something special at your local park!