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32+ Animals that Live in Lakes (Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Insects, Mammals, Molluscs)

If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” — Loren Eiseley

Water covers over 70% of the Earth’s surface and it is essential for all known forms of life. Without it, we would die in a matter of days.

The dawn of human civilizations saw people building the first cities on rivers, because transport by water was faster and more efficient than transport by land. And this is still the case today.

It is estimated that over 90% of the world’s freight is transported by ship. Water transportation is so important that without it, our modern civilization would grind to a halt.

But water also provides a habitat to a wide range of wild species. There are many different types of animals who call lakes their home, and each one has adapted to life in this aquatic environment in a different way.

Freshwater habitats can be found all over the world. They include ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. Each one is home to a unique community of plants and animals.

In this article, we are going to see all of these amazing lake-dwelling creatures, and how they contribute to their environment.

The Different Bodies of Water

Not all bodies of water offer the same habitat to these creatures. A pond is different from a lake, which is different from a river, which is different from a swamp. Here are the main types of water habitats:

  • Ponds — Ponds are small, standing bodies of water that are often shallow. They can be natural or man-made, and they are usually surrounded by land. Ponds are home to many different types of animals like water snails, leeches and worms, and water beetles.
  • Swamps — Swamps are wetland habitats that are often murky and humid. They can be natural or man-made, and they are usually surrounded by land. Among their typical inhabitants, we find alligators, frogs, and snakes.
  • Lakes — Lakes are large, standing bodies of water that are often deep. Like ponds, they can be natural or man-made, and they are also surrounded by land. Lakes are home to many different types of animals such as many fish species, water snakes, and swans.
  • Rivers — Rivers are long, flowing bodies of water that connect to other rivers and eventually to an ocean. Among their dwellers we find ducks, crabs, dragonflies, otters, and turtles.
  • Streams — Streams are like rivers, but they are usually smaller and not as deep. They also connect to other streams and eventually to an ocean. Some of the animals that live in streams are crayfish, salmon, and beavers.

Editor’s note: While these are the animals that are commonly found around those bodies of water, there is a wider array of animals that live around them. The food chain makes it so that these animals’ predators also house themselves around their habitats. For example, you’ll commonly find birds like the heron chilling around lakes hunting for prey.

32+ Animals that Live in Lakes And River: Lake-Dwelling Animals

Each type of body of water provides the perfect environment for specific species. These animals have adapted to their habitats in a number of ways.

Some of them, like the axolotl, can breathe through their skin. This allows them to live in water that is low in oxygen. Other animals, like the beaver, have waterproof fur that keeps them dry and warm when they are swimming.

Then there are animals like the whale, who have adapted to life in the ocean by developing a blowhole. This is a hole in the top of their head that they use to breathe air.

Now that we know what types of water habitats there are, let’s take a look at some of the animals that live in them.

Lakes are large bodies of water that are usually freshwater. Lakes are found all over the world and are home to many different types of animals.

Lake Fish

Fish are cold-blooded animals that live in water. They breathe through gills and have scales on their skin. They are excellent swimmers thanks to their fins. Fish eat plants, insects, and other small animals.

The most common fish species you’ll find in lakes are:

Trout

Trouts are a type of freshwater fish that can be found in ponds, rivers, and lakes. They have dark green or brown skin with light spots. They can grow to be over two feet long.

There are many species of trout who thrive in lakes, such as:

  • Rainbow trout — The rainbow trout is the most common type of trout. They can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world.
  • Brook trout — The brook trout is a species of trout that is native to North America. They have reddish-brown skin with light spots and a dark stripe running down their side.
  • Lake Trout — The lake trout is a large species of trout that can grow to be over four feet long. They have dark green or brown skin with light spots.
  • Brown Trout — The brown trout is a species of trout that is native to Europe. As the name suggests, it has brown skin with dark spots.

Salmon

Salmon

Credit: @tnortsfly

Salmon are a type of fish that can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world. They have pink or orange skin with black spots. Salmon are excellent swimmers and can jump high out of the water.

There are many species of salmon who live in lakes, such as:

  • Chinook salmon — The Chinook salmon is the largest species of salmon. They can be found in rivers and lakes all over the world. The Chinook salmon has orange skin with black spots.
  • Coho salmon — The Coho salmon is a species of salmon that is native to North America. They have pink skin with black spots. Coho salmon can grow to be over three feet long.
  • Sockeye salmon — The Sockeye salmon is a species of salmon that is native to North America. They have red skin with black spots. Sockeye salmon can grow to be over three feet long.
  • Pink salmon — The pink salmon is the smallest species of salmon. They can be found in rivers and lakes all over the world. The pink salmon has pink skin with black spots.

Bass

Bass are a type of fish that can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world. They have dark green or brown skin with light spots. Bass are excellent swimmers and can jump high out of the water.

There are many species of bass who live in lakes, such as:

  • Smallmouth bass — The smallmouth bass is the most common type of bass. They can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world. They have dark green or brown skin with light spots. Bass are excellent swimmers and can jump high out of the water.
  • Largemouth bass — The largemouth bass is the largest type of bass. The fish’s color is olive green to medium gray, marked with a series of dark blotches.
  • Striped bass — The striped bass is a species of bass that is native to North America. As the name suggests, it has long black stripes covering its silver body.
  • White bass — The white bass is a species of bass that is native to North America. They have silver skin with dark spots. White bass can grow to be over two feet long.

Carp

Carp are a type of fish that can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world.

There are many species of carp who live in lakes, such as:

  • Eurasian Carp — The Eurasian carp is the most common type of carp. They can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world. It has a white yellow-ish color that gets progressively darker towards the top fin.
  • Goldfish — The goldfish is a species of carp that is native to Asia. They have orange or yellow skin with black spots. Goldfish can grow to be over two feet long.
  • Koi — Koi are a domesticated form of the common carp. They come in a variety of colors, including white, black, red, orange, and yellow.

Catfish

Catfish are a type of fish that can be found in freshwater habitats all over the world.

Among the most common catfish species that live in lakes we find:

  • Channel catfish — The channel catfish is the most common type of catfish. They can be found in freshwater habitats all over North America. They have brown skin with black spots. Channel catfish can grow to be over four feet long.
  • Blue catfish — The blue catfish is a species of catfish that is native to North America. They have blue skin with white spots. Blue catfish can grow to be over six feet long.
  • Flathead catfish — The flathead catfish is a species of catfish that is native to North America. They have brown skin with black spots. Flathead catfish can grow to be over four feet long.
  • Bullhead catfish — The bullhead catfish is a species of catfish that is native to North America. They have brown or black skin with white spots. Bullhead catfish can grow to be over two feet long.

Also Read: What Do Catfish Eat? A Guide To The Diet Of These Whiskered Fish

Lake Amphibians

Amphibians are animals that live in water and on land. They breathe through their skin and have gills when they are young. Amphibians eat insects, worms, and other small animals.

There are many species of amphibians who live in lakes, such as:

Frogs

Frogs are the most common type of amphibian. They can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. Frogs come in many different colors and species. Some frogs can jump 20 times their own body length!

Among the most common lake frogs are:

  • American Bullfrog — The American bullfrog is the largest frog in North America. They can be found near ponds and lakes. They have a green face and a brown-ish body, with black stripes on their legs.
  • Green Frog — The green frog is a species of frog that is native to North America. Their body is completely green, hence their name. Among the cutest sub-species we find the red-eyed tree frog.
  • European Frog — The European frog is a species of frog that is native to Europe. They have green or brown skin with black spots. Some European frogs can grow to be over eight inches long!

Also Read:

Toads

Toads

Credit: @micchooooon

Toads are a type of frog that is native to North America. They have dry, bumpy skin that is usually brown or gray. Toads can grow to be over six inches long. What differentiates them from frogs is that toads cannot jump as high as frogs. In fact, they tend to walk, or do very short hops.

Water Salamanders

Water salamanders, also known as Axolotls, are extremely cute. Look at this and tell me if they aren’t the cutest thing in the world:

Salamanders are a type of amphibian that is native to North America. They have four legs and a long tail. Water salamanders eat insects, crustaceans, and worms. They have moist, smooth skin that is usually brown or gray. Salamanders can grow to be over two feet long.

Also Read: What Do Axolotls Eat (Axolotl Diet And How To Feed Pet Axolotls)

Newts

Newts are a type of amphibian that is native to North America. They have moist, smooth skin that is usually orange or red. Newts can grow to be over eight inches long. They come in many different colors, and they eat insects, slugs, and worms.

Lake Reptiles

Reptiles are animals that have dry, scaly skin. They are cold-blooded, which means that they cannot regulate their own body temperature. Reptiles eat insects, worms, and other small animals.

There are many species of reptiles who live in lakes, such as:

Snakes

The most common type of reptile that lives in lakes is the snake. Snakes can be found on every continent except for Antarctica. They have dry, scaly skin that is usually green or brown. Snakes eat insects, worms, and other small animals.

Among the many snake species that live around lakes we find:

  • Northern Water Snake —The majority of the snakes in this collection are medium-sized individuals that can grow to be up to 3.5 feet (1 m) long. Their colors range from gray, tan, buff, or brown and the juvenile snakes may be more brightly colored than the adults. They have dark bands and are frequently mistaken for copperheads or cottonmouths
  • Anaconda — The anaconda is a species of snake that is native to South America. They have green or brown skin with black spots. Anacondas can grow to be over 30 feet long. They are the largest snakes in the world!
  • Rattlesnake — The rattlesnake is a species of venomous snake that is native to North and South America. They have green or brown skin with black spots. Rattlesnakes can grow to be over eight feet long. They get their name from the rattle at the end of their tail, which they use to warn predators of their poisonous bite.

Also Read: Snake Predators: Animals That Eat Snakes for Lunch

Turtles

Turtles are a type of reptile that is native to North America. They have a hard shell that protects their body. Turtles eat plants, insects, and small animals.

There are many different types of turtles that live in lakes, such as:

  • Painted Turtle — The painted turtle is a species of turtle that is native to North America. They have a hard shell that is green or brown with yellow stripes. Painted turtles can grow to be over eight inches long.
  • Box Turtle — The box turtle is a species of turtle that is native to North America. They have a hard shell that is brown or black with yellow stripes. Box turtles can grow to be over six inches long.
  • Snapping Turtle — The snapping turtle is a species of turtle that is native to North America. They have a hard shell that is brown or black. Snapping turtles can grow to be over two feet long. They get their name from their powerful jaws, which can snap a human finger in two.

Lake Birds

Many birds live around lakes and are classified as lake animals. Here, they can find plenty of prey to catch, and help keep the local ecosystem in balance.

Duck

The duck is a species of bird that is native to North America. They have feathers that are brown or gray. Ducks can grow to be over two feet long. They eat insects, worms, and other small animals.

Typical duck species found in lakes include:

  • Mallard — a type of duck that is found in North America, Europe, and Asia. It has a green head and a brown body.
  • Wood Duck — a type of duck that is found in North America. It has a red crest and a black body.
  • Black Swan — a type of duck that is found in Australia. It has a black body and a white beak.

Herons

The heron is a species of bird that is native to North America. They have feathers that are blue or gray. Herons can grow to be over four feet long. They eat fish, frogs, and other small animals.

Cranes

The crane is a species of bird that is native to North America. They have feathers that are white or gray. Cranes can grow to be over six feet tall. They eat plants, insects, and other small animals.

Pelicans

The pelican is a species of bird that is native to North America. They have feathers that are white or gray. Pelicans can grow to be over six feet long. They eat fish, crabs, and other small animals.

Great Flamingos

The magnificent flamingo is a bird that lives in vast alkaline or saline lakes or estuarine lagoons that are generally devoid of vegetation. They are famours for their characteristic long legs and pink beaks plus pink feathers on their wings. Flamingos can grow to be over four feet tall. They eat shrimp, crabs, and other small animals.

Also Read: Can Flamingos Fly: How Far And How High?

Lake Insects

Insects play a vital role in the lake’s ecosystem. They are a food source for many animals and help recycle nutrients in the water.

Common lake insects include:

Dragonflies

The dragonfly is a species of insect that is native to North America. Dragonflies have two pairs of large, compound eyes that give them a wide field of vision. They also have a long, thin body and three pairs of legs. Dragonflies are usually green, blue, or black in color. Their diet consists of small insects, such as mosquitoes.

Damselflies

Damselflies

Credit: @dllanham

The damselfly is a species of insect that is native to North America. Like dragonflies, damselflies have two pairs of large, compound eyes that give them a wide field of vision. They also have a long, thin body and three pairs of legs. Damselflies are usually green, blue, or black in color. However, they are smaller than dragonflies and have shorter wings. Their diet consists mostly of other small insects.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes

Credit: @jchiavo

The mosquito is a species of insect that is native to North America. Mosquitos are tiny and brown or black in color. Mosquitoes are known for their ability to suck blood from other animals. They feed on the blood of mammals, such as humans, and birds. They lay eggs around still water.

Flies

Flies

Credit: @savedbymtns

The fly is a species of insect that is native to North America. Flies have a pair of wings and two pairs of legs. They are usually black, but can be other colors, such as green or blue. Flies eat decaying matter, such as garbage and feces. They are also known for being attracted to the smell of blood.

Lake Mammals

Mammals are a diverse group of animals, and there are some that live in lakes or around them.

Beavers

Beavers

Credit: @ngsbiopark

The beaver is a species of rodent that is native to North America. Beavers have a brown or black fur. They are known for their large, flat tails and their ability to build dams. Beavers eat the bark of trees and other plants.

Also Read: What Do Beavers Eat? Can Humans Feed Them?

Muskrats

Muskrats

Credit: @juul_photo

The muskrat is a species of rodent that is native to North America. Muskrats have brown fur and a long, skinny tail. They are good swimmers and live near bodies of water. Muskrats eat plants and small animals.

Otter

The otter is a species of mammal that is native to North America. Otters have brown or gray fur and webbed feet. They are excellent swimmers and live near bodies of water. Otters eat fish, crabs, and other small animals.

Editor’s note: The internet is full of cute domestic otter videos. While these animals are indeed very cute and playful, they should never be treated as pets. Let them roam freely in the wild.

Lake Molluscs

Molluscs are a type of invertebrate that includes animals such as snails, clams, and octopuses.

Common lake molluscs include:

Snails

The snail is a species of mollusc that is native to North America. Snails have a hard shell that protects their soft bodies. They are hermaphrodites, meaning that they have both male and female reproductive organs. Snails eat algae and other small plants.

Clams

The clam is a species of mollusc that is native to North America. Clams have a hard shell that protects their soft bodies. Clams are filter feeders, meaning that they filter water for food. Clams eat algae, small plants, and small animals.

Gastropods

Gastropods

Credit: @karmarwil

The gastropod is a species of mollusc that is native to North America. Gastropods have a hard shell that protects their soft bodies. Gastropods are scavengers, meaning that they eat dead animals and plants.

Conclusions

Fresh water is essential to all life on Earth. Lakes offer a rich and diverse environment for a variety of animals.

Insects, molluscs, and rodents are just some of the many creatures that call lakes home. Lakes provide these animals with food, shelter, and protection from predators. In turn, these animals help to keep the lake clean and healthy.

It’s fascinating to see how nature has adapted creatures to live in such a unique ecosystem, creating a perfectly self-sustaining environment. The next time you’re at the lake, take a moment to appreciate the complex web of life that exists beneath the surface.

And, take a moment to appreciate the important role lakes play in our life. They give us food and clean water to drink. They are a vital part of our ecosystem and we need to do our part to protect them.

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