Michigan Wildlife

Michigan offers habitats, including dunes, deciduous forests, coniferous forests, wetlands, and grasslands, for nearly 700 wildlife species.

There are more than 275,000 dunes in Michigan, more than any other state. Michigan dunes run along our coasts and are home to endangered species like the piping plover. Other wildlife you will see in the dunes include gulls, raccoons, skunks, feral cats, and numerous species of native and migrating birds.

The deciduous forests of Michigan are home to bears, turkeys, deer, elk, squirrels, wood ducks, woodcocks, grouse, and other wildlife that can find food from the numerous nuts and acorns provided. Coniferous forests are home to one of the rarest warblers, the Kirtland’s warbler, due to their preference for jack pine trees. Also found here are ravens, bats, wolves, squirrels, snowshoe hares, ruffled grouse, snakes, and deer.

Grasslands in Michigan are dwindling as more land is developed for agriculture, residential, and commercial reasons. Numerous species of birds, from songbirds to sparrows, live in the grasslands. You can also find pheasants, badgers, bats, rodents, snakes, voles, deer, coyotes, and more.

Wetland areas in Michigan include lakes, ponds, rivers, swamps, marshes, bogs, and fens essential for the environment. They act as filters for pollution and host many wildlife species, including waterfowl, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. The wetland areas house everything from bullfrogs to mink, beavers, and muskrats.

Why Are Animals in My  Michigan Home?

Michigan’s climate is on a warming trend, creating survival challenges for local wildlife. As new animal species move in, native animals must decide whether to stay and compete or move on.

Droughts, wildfires, changing sea levels, storms, and warming waters are a few climate issues affecting all types of habitats and wildlife. Insects are more active, spreading diseases through deer and other mammals. Fish can’t reproduce in warmer waters, creating a decline in some species.

Birds that migrate return sooner, hibernation periods are shorter, and there is a surge in reproducing among animals already abundant in Michigan, like squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, rats, mice, voles, and raccoons.

Local factors affecting wildlife in Michigan include the development of residential and commercial properties, also called urban sprawl. As humans invade Michigan’s natural habitats and alter the ecosystem, there are fewer places for wildlife to find food, water, and shelter. To survive, they must search nearby spots like our neighborhoods, properties, and homes.

Climate change and land development lead to increased encounters between humans and wildlife, with both trying to adapt to a new way of living. Unfortunately, as a result, some wildlife may cause damage to homes and properties and pose a threat to the public.

DIY Wildlife Removal

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulations regarding removing nuisance wildlife vary by species and classification. All animals that wreak havoc on your property qualify for removal.

But before you try to get rid of an animal yourself, you must be able to answer the following questions:

  • How is the animal legally classified in Michigan? Endangered? Protected?
  • Is a permit or license required to remove this nuisance wildlife species?
  • What are the legal methods of removal (e.g., live trapping)?
  • What will you do with the animal after removal?
  • Is it legal to transport or relocate live animals? Where can you dispose of a dead animal?
  • Does the animal have offspring? If so, what are the laws regarding the removal of offspring?
  • Does removal of the wildlife require reporting to the Department of Natural Resources?
  • Does the DNR require the animal to be tested for diseases?

For example, all nine species of bats found in Michigan are considered endangered, threatened, or protected and, therefore, cannot be harmed. There are penalties for not following regulations. See the Endangered Species Protection Act 451 for more information.

In addition, certain reptiles and amphibians have legal protections. See the Regulations on the Take of Reptiles and Amphibians Order 224.21.

DNR often recommends calling a nuisance wildlife control company for assistance, like Critter Control, because we know and understand all local, state, and federal regulations for each wildlife species. We have approved equipment to remove animals so that the animal, you, and our experts remain safe.

Nuisance Wildlife Season in Michigan

As you will see, there is some wildlife present all year, giving them ample opportunities to destroy your property. Some seasons make it more challenging to properly deal with nuisance wildlife due to weather, mating, maternity, and local and state regulations.
 

Fall

Temperatures in the fall start to cool down. For reptiles with less outer protection and mammals that hibernate during the winter, this is the season to search for warmer places to shelter. 

Winter

In Michigan, the winter months are when wildlife mate and nest and wait for spring to give birth. This does not mean they can’t be nuisances during this time. Various wildlife will choose an area of your home for shelter.

Spring

As spring arrives, the ground thaws, and trees, plants, and grasses start turning green. Wildlife also becomes more active. Newborn animals are entering the world, and hibernating wildlife awakens with warming temperatures. Outdoor life is alive and active.

Summer

Warm, dry weather is excellent for viewing Michigan wildlife. In summer, newborn wildlife venture out of their nests and learn how to hunt for food. And, in general, many animals have come out of hibernation and are eating and storing for the following winter. The months between May and September are when local wildlife is the most active.

Spring

  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Birds
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Mice
  • Moles
  • Muskrats
  • Opossums
  • Stinging Insects
  • Voles
  • Woodchuck

Summer

  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Snakes
  • Rats
  • Birds
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Moles
  • Muskrats
  • Opossums
  • Stinging Insects
  • Woodchuck

Fall

  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Mice
  • Moles
  • Muskrats
  • Opossums
  • Voles
  • Woodchuck
  • Woodpeckers

Winter

  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Rats
  • Birds
  • Squirrels
  • Mice
  • Muskrats
  • Opossums
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