Wisconsin Habitats and Animals
NORTHERN HIGHLAND and LAKE SUPERIOR LOWLAND
The most northern ecoregion in Wisconsin, the Northern Highland/Lake Superior Lowland area was dominated by northern mesic (of moderate moisture—not wet and not dry) forests in pre-European settlement times. Large areas of barrens habitat were present in the northwest and the northeast. Other habitat types included pine forests, conifer swamps, bogs, boreal forests, large sedge meadows, lowland hardwood forests, and some southern oak forests. This area is peppered with an abundance of lakes.
Animals present include: Red-backed salamanders, mink frogs, wood turtles, Blanding’s turtles, northern prairie skinks, northern ringneck snakes, northern redbellied snakes, northern water snakes, water shrews, starnosed moles, snowshoe hares, least chipmunks, woodland deer mice, northern flying squirrels, woodland jumping mice, porcupines, timber wolves, pine martens, fishers, common loons, ospreys, sharp-tailed grouse, and broad-winged hawks.
The Southwestern Upland area of Wisconsin has not been glaciated recently; thus, it is hilly. Prior to European settlement, this area was dominated by oak savanna. Savanna is a combination of grassland and forest, in which most of the land is covered by grasses and a few shrubs but which also has widely spaced tall trees, usually of one species in a given area. Scattered areas of prairie, oak forest, lowland hardwood forests, and southern mesic forests were also present. A few areas in the northeast consisted of pine forest and pine and oak barrens. Barrens also occurred along two major rivers, the Chippewa and Wisconsin. Wetlands are not common in the Southwestern Upland, though there are some lakes
in a pothole area in St. Croix County. Animals present include: Four-toed salamanders, blue-spotted salamanders, Blanchard’s cricket frogs, chorus frogs, spring peepers, eastern gray treefrogs, pickerel frogs, wood frogs, musk turtles, wood turtles, Blanding’s turtles, map turtles, midland and spiny softshell turtles, six-lined racerunners, bullsnakes, blue racers, black rat snakes, prairie ringneck snakes, timber
rattlesnakes, eastern moles, little brown bats, northern bats, eastern pipistrelles, big brown bats, red bats, 13-lined ground squirrels, prairie voles, pocket gophers, pine voles, great egrets, wild turkeys, northern bobwhites, eastern screech owls, long-eared owls, red-bellied woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, blue-gray gnatcatchers, loggerhead shrikes, Bell’s vireos, lark sparrows, orchard orioles, prothonotary warblers, Louisiana waterthrushes and Kentucky warblers.
The Central Plains were glaciated about 10,000 years ago, and the area was once covered by Glacial Lake
Wisconsin. This area is characterized by extensive areas of very sandy soil. Oak savanna and oak and pine barrens were the primary habitat types prior to European settlement. Other habitat types present included sedge meadows, pine forests, southern oak forests, conifer swamps, prairies, and lowland hardwood forests. Animals present include: Tiger salamanders, bluespotted salamanders, chorus frogs, spring peepers, Cope’s gray treefrogs, eastern gray treefrogs, pickerel frogs, wood frogs, Blanding’s turtles, western slender glass lizards, five-lined skinks, eastern hognose snakes, smooth green snakes, fox snakes, DeKay’s snakes, northern red-bellied snakes, massasauga rattlesnakes, snowshoe hares, 13-lined ground squirrels, Franklin’s ground squirrels, fox squirrels, southern bog lemmings, red-backed voles, meadow jumping mice, porcupines, western harvest mice, wild turkeys, northern bobwhites, common snipes, eastern screech owls, red-bellied woodpeckers, blue-gray gnatcatchers, and clay-colored
LAKE MICHIGAN SHORELAND
The Lake Michigan Shoreland was an extensively forested area prior to European settlement. It was
covered primarily by northern mesic forests. Boreal forests covered northern Door County. Other habitats present included conifer swamps, pine barrens, pine forests, sedge meadows, lowland hardwood forests, southern mesic forests and oak savannas. Animals present include: Spotted salamanders, redbacked salamanders, wood frogs, spring peepers, eastern gray treefrogs, fox snakes, northern water snakes, big brown bats, red bats, snowshoe hares, 13-lined ground squirrels, double-crested cormorants, black-crowned night herons, gadwalls, common snipes, Caspian terns, Forster’s terns, common terns, blue-gray gnatcatchers, golden-winged warblers, cerulean warblers, mourning warblers, and clay-colored sparrows.
SOUTHEASTERN RIDGES AND LOW LANDS
The Southeastern Ridges and Lowlands area of Wisconsin was glaciated most recently about 10,000
years ago, and is fairly flat. This area was dominated by oak savanna and southern mesic forest prior to European settlement. Interspersed in these habitats were patches of prairie, sedge meadow, oak forest, conifer swamp and lowland hardwood forest. This area contains plentiful lakes and other wetlands.
Animals present include: Blue-spotted salamanders, tiger salamanders, central newts, chorus frogs, pickerel frogs, Blanding’s turtles, musk turtles, smooth green snakes, milk snakes, eastern plains garter snakes, DeKay’s snakes, northern water snakes, queensnakes, Butler’s garter snakes, eastern plains garter snakes, Arctic shrews, pygmy shrews, little brown bats, silverhaired bats, big brown bats, red bats, hoary bats, 13-lined ground squirrels, Franklin’s ground squirrels, fox squirrels, southern flying squirrels, meadow jumping mice, great egrets, northern shovelers, redheads, gray partridges, wild turkeys, northern bobwhites, common moorhens, eastern screech owls, long-eared owls, redbellied woodpecker, acadian flycatchers, blue-gray gnatcatchers, cerulean warblers, and orchard orioles.
Taken from http://dnr.wi.gov/files/pdf/pubs/wm/wm0294_a.pdf