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North American wildlife

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The Nearctic realm.

North American wildlife is the flora and fauna of the Nearctic region, which consists of most of North America; Greenland, the continental parts of Canada and the United States, and inland Mexico. The region borders the Central and South American wildlife region.

Many North American species, especially in the Arctic and boreal regions, are similar to Eurasian wildlife.


Not all of North America is within the Nearctic realm. The Caribbean, Central America and southern Florida are in the Neotropic region, together with South America.

The Nearctic realm is divided between four bioregions, making up the northern, western, eastern and southern part of the continent.

The north, also known as the Canadian shield, is made up by tundra and boreal forest. The harsh winters put pressure on animals and plants here, limiting the number of species.

The west is contained by the Rocky Mountains. The region has great variations in elevation, temperature and rainfall within rather short distances.

The east makes up the eastern United States, as well as southeastern Canada, and the Canadian Prairie. Much of this region is exploited through farming and human settlement.

The south includes inland Mexico, as well as the desert region of the United States, and Texas.



North America is famous for its many carnivores, especially bears, wolves, foxes, coyotes, lynx, and cougars.

The raccoon, Procyon lotor, is an omnivorous animal spread all across the continent.

They make up keystone species for their ecosystems. Many of them have been endangered, or locally extinct during the 20th century, but are currently recovering.


The American bison, Bison bison, is the heaviest endemic land animal on the continent. It used to be a dominant species of the Great Plains until modern times. At the brink of extinction near 1900, the population is on the rise again.

The mustangs are a population of feral horses (Equus ferus caballus) on the Great Plains, descending from colonists' horses.


The bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, is the national bird of the United States.

Many birds of the continent are migratory, and can only be seen seasonally.


Carnivorous plants[edit]

The Venus flytrap is native to an area of North and South Carolina within a 60-mile radius of Wilmington. Other carnivorous plants can be seen in the area as well. Try Carolina Beach State Park or Croatan National Forest.


See also[edit]

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