Alabama - Flora and fauna



Alabama was once covered by vast forests of pine, which still form the largest proportion of the state's forest growth. Alabama also has an abundance of poplar, cypress, hickory, oak, and various gum trees. Red cedar grows throughout the state; southern white cedar is found in the southwest, hemlock in the north. Other native trees include hackberry, ash, and holly, with species of palmetto and palm in the Gulf Coast region. There are more than 150 shrubs, mountain laurel and rhododendron among them. Cultivated plants include wisteria and camellia, the state flower.

In a state where large herds of bison, elk, bear, and deer once roamed, only the white-tailed deer remains abundant. Other mammals still found are the Florida panther, bobcat, beaver, muskrat, and most species of weasel. The fairly common raccoon, opossum, rabbit, squirrel, and red and gray foxes are also native, while nutria and armadillo have been introduced to the state. Alabama's birds include golden and bald eagles, osprey and various other hawks, yellowhammer or flicker (the state bird), and black and white warblers; game birds include quail, duck, wild turkey, and goose. Freshwater fish such as bream, shad, bass, and sucker are common. Along the Gulf Coast there are seasonal runs of tarpon (the state fish), pompano, redfish, and bonito.

Ninety-seven animals, fish, and birds (including the Alabama beach mouse, gray bat, Alabama red-belly turtle, finback and humback whales, bald eagle, and wood stork), and eighteen plant species were listed as endangered as of August 2003 by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.



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