Can You Identify These Common Trail Animals?


By: Elizabeth Lavis

6 Min Quiz

Image: Cody Pope via WikiCommons

About This Quiz

When it's time to hit the road and get out on the trail, you're sure to encounter more than just foliage and fresh air. Leaving the city means reconnecting with the amazing animal kingdom.

From adorable tiny chipmunks to powerful and elusive mountain lions, you'll find animals of all shapes and sizes when you hit your favorite trail. Some, like the grizzly bear, are apex predators and should be avoided at all costs. Others, such as river otters, are playful and sweet and might even put on a show for the humans passing through.

This quiz highlights the most common trail animals, from mammals to brightly-colored birds, like blue jays and robins. Some of them, like the gray fox, only come out at night and are especially shy around people. Others, such as the coyote, travel in packs and can be dangerous if provoked. 

The woods and trail are teeming with animals great and small, deadly and docile. If you are a true pioneer at heart, it's time to prove your stuff on this quiz that will ask you to name each common trail animal by looking at the picture. We guarantee that it is absolutely not as easy as it sounds!

What are these giant amphibians that make a huge racket?

Bullfrogs are massive amphibians that eat just about everything; even other bullfrogs. They can make a huge racket on the trail but are not dangerous to humans or companion animals.


Which masked bandit can be found both on the trail and in cities?

Raccoons may look cute and cuddly, but make no mistake — these masked bandits can be dangerous to humans. They generally only come out at night, and are notorious pillagers of trash.


Spotting one of these ruby beauties is tough to do. What are these tiny birds?

Tiny hummingbirds might just be the most adorable animals out there, but they are notoriously tricky to spot out in the wild. If you come across one of these beauties, consider yourself lucky!


What creature, pictured here, should you avoid if you see on the trail?

Black bears are common animals in the wild, and they do pose a large danger to humans who surprise them in their natural habitat. Black bears can be food-aggressive and territorial.


What big birds can be a bit persnickety and territorial?

Although their name specifies that they are from Canada, these geese can be found all over North America. They are large birds that tend to move in big flocks and can be a bit cranky.


What nocturnal flyers operate by echolocation?

Common brown bats might look a little bit scary, but humans have virtually nothing to fear from them. They are quite useful creatures who hunt at night and use echolocation to navigate.


It's a water wanderer that is a common sight on the trail. What animal is it?

Wood ducks are generally very beautiful animals that are notable for their vivid green and brown coloring. These docile creatures spend their days paddling around ponds out in the wild.


What helpful marsupial eats harmful ticks and bugs?

This large marsupial might look a little frightening, but it's actually a very helpful animal that consumes insects that might otherwise harm people. If you see one on the trail, leave it be.


Which airborne expert scavenger dominates the trail?

Turkey vultures are expert scavengers that prefer freshly deceased carrion or human garbage. They will occasionally kill their prey, but they prefer not to do the dirty work.


You'll encounter plenty of these animals, but sadly none of them are likely to have candy. What are they?

You will find several of these fluffy creatures hopping down the bunny trail. Cottontail rabbits are quick, shy creatures that generally flee from humans that tread into their territory.


Which patriotic bird is a treat to see on the trail?

The bald eagle is easily most recognizable as the national animal emblem of the United States, and you can find it all over the continental United States, Alaska and most of Canada.


What industrious animal is known for building dams?

Beavers are known for their powerful teeth and broad flat tails. They scamper all over the wilderness, cutting down trees with their razor-sharp teeth, and building dams in the rivers.


Not the baseball team out of Toronto, but the bright bird you'll see on the trail. What is this beauty?

Considered large songbirds, blue jays are the bright azure birds that will make your day out in the wilderness all that more colorful. They are most common in the northern U.S. and southern Canada.


No need to be afraid of these large rodents. What are they?

Woodrats are also known as packrats, and they are prevalent on the trail. These rodents might look a little bit scary, but they really don't pose any serious threat to people who are hiking.


What birds are actually a large variety of heron?

Graceful egrets are actually a type of heron that is most commonly found in the wetlands. They tend to stay to themselves and do not usually confront humans. Their wingspan is massive!


Which common tree-dwellers can be seen all over the trail?

Squirrels are bushy-tailed beauties that are actually a large type of rodent. They are highly social animals that scamper around in trees and spend much of their time foraging for food.


Which deadly bird of prey will you find deep in the wilderness?

Red-tailed hawks are very common birds of prey that you can find all over North America and even down as far south as Panama. They are deadly adept hunters with very evolved eyesight.


He may or may not see its shadow. What animal is pictured?

Woodchucks are also known as groundhogs and are very common animals in the woods. The most famous woodchuck is Punxsutawney Phil, who predicts whether or not spring will come early.


What winged creature graces the trail with its wise presence?

Great horned owls are also known as hoot owls or tiger owls. They are common birds that have astounding strength in their talons. Great horned owls also debut in J.K. Rowling's universe, as Harry Potter's pet was one.


Which tiny rodent is lightning quick?

Chipmunks are probably the cutest rodents in the entire world. They are minuscule, striped, and extremely fast. Still, don't try to corner one. Like most rodents, chipmunks have a nasty bite.


What bright lizard pictured here is a common sight on the trail?

You can find the red salamander in bodies of standing water all over the United States. These bright creatures are red with small black dots. Their coloring actually deters predators.


This snake is common but not so dangerous. What is it?

Corn snakes are fairly docile animals that will not usually attempt to harm or to bite people. Their skins are bright yellow and orange, and they can grow as large as 6 feet long.


What animal can be seen tapping on trees all over the trail?

As their name suggests, woodpeckers are known for tapping away at trees in search of insects to eat. Many of them subsist solely on insects, but some woodpeckers like berries as well.


Which burrowing mammal is very common out in the country?

What you might not notice while you're making your way down the trail, is that there are dozens of tunnels buried right beneath your feet. You can thank moles, which are small, burrowing mammals.


These shy animals sometimes dart out in front of traffic. What are they?

White-tailed deer are common animals that dot the trail. They don't pose a threat to humans unless they wander into populated areas and dart out in front of traffic at dusk or dawn.


Which trail animal is often found in the northern United States and Alaska?

Pygmy shrews have super metabolisms and need to eat every two hours or else they will not survive. These tiny creatures are found all over the northern United States and parts of Alaska.


This semi-aquatic rodent is found in wetlands all over the country. What is it?

Muskrats can be fairly aggressive and have been known to attack humans, especially small children. They are semi-aquatic and can be quite territorial. They cause shore erosion with their burrowing.


What howling pack animals are common sights on the trail?

Coyotes are a type of wild wolf that tends to roam around on the trail. They are pack animals and expert scavengers and can be dangerous to humans or companion animals if confronted.


Which beautiful feline is quite elusive, but still can be found on the trail?

Lynxes are beautiful animals whose soft, furry coat has been coveted by humans for centuries. As a result, these creatures are not dangerous to people, but people can be very dangerous for them.


What red-breasted songbird is a frequent sight on the trail?

Robins are common songbirds that can be spotted all over the trail. They are notable for their red chests, and their appearance in your lawn is indicative of the end of winter and beginning of spring.


It's an apex predator that poses a great threat to humans. What is it?

Grizzly bears are prevalent in the northern part of the United States, Canada and Alaska, and are considered to be exceptionally dangerous to humans. They are gigantic apex predators.


Which friendly aquatic animal will you be happy to see on the trail?

River otters are famous for being playful animals that are highly sociable and intelligent. They are semi-aquatic, meaning that they can live both in and out of rivers as they choose.


What type of trail pit viper is very venomous?

Copperhead snakes are poisonous pit vipers that are venomous and can be aggressive. Although their bites are not generally fatal, it is best to avoid them if you see them on the trail.


Which elusive nocturnal creature might you spot on the trail?

Grey foxes are nocturnal creatures that are most common between dusk and dawn. These quick creatures are very tough to spot, but you might get lucky and see one or two on the trail.


Don't get between this animal and its food! Those jaws are powerful. What is it?

Snapping turtles have exceptionally powerful jaws and often will bite clean through their prey. Their jaws are often locking, and they will not easily let go of their intended target.


What medium-sized cat stalks the trail?

While not common sights on the trail, it is possible to run across a bobcat if you are deep in the woods. Bobcats are medium-sized cats, but don't let that fool you! They can be fierce.


What "fragrant" animal is seen by unlucky trail trekkers?

Skunks are well known for their best defense mechanism; their ability to douse their enemies with a spray of foul stench. Run afoul of a skunk, and you could find yourself a target.


Which aloof and powerful creature usually roams the trail by itself?

Also known as cougars, mountain lions prefer to avoid the company of humans. Encounters are exceptionally rare, but when they happen, they usually don't end well for the person in question.


What snake gives you a loud warning to stay away from it?

Rattlesnakes are a type of pit viper that uses its castanet-like tail to warn predators that it is underfoot. You would be wise to listen to the warning, as rattlesnakes are exceptionally dangerous.


Which trail animal sometimes graces a Thanksgiving table?

Wild turkeys are a lot like their domesticated cousins, but they tend to be slimmer. If nobody grabs them for Thanksgiving dinner, these animals can live up to five years in the wild.


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