Department of Environmental Conservation

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From the Winter 2014 Conservationist for Kids

coyote walking on snow

Photo: DEC - Scott Smith

Wildlife is Everywhere

By Gina Jack

Animals are found wherever there is suitable habitat. Some species have adapted to live near people and may be seen where they were once unfamiliar visitors. Many animals-such as bobcat, fisher, owls and coyotes-are nocturnal (active only at night) or secretive and are noticed only by careful observers.

Wood duck box in a marsh
Wood duck box in a marsh

The area in which an animal normally lives is called its habitat. In their habitat, they find food, water, shelter and enough space to live. Good habitat for one kind of animal may be poor habitat for others. (Deer don't live in the ocean, and whales aren't found in the forest.)

Knowing what kinds of habitat different species prefer helps us to enjoy wildlife. If we want to see wildlife, we can visit their habitat and watch for hem. Lots of people like to watch birds, so it's helpful to know birds are found in grasslands, which prefer forests, and which ones we may see in backyards or on school grounds.

Knowing what kinds of habitat different species prefer also helps us manage wildlife. By making changes to habitat, we can encourage wildlife to live in places where we'd like to have them. We can also discourage wildlife by making changes. If a habitat doesn't meet their needs, they will leave.