Along with the diverse vegetation of the Reserve, diverse populations of mammal, bird, reptile, and amphibian species also exist.
The variations in land cover and vegetation provide an excellent habitat for a wide selection of birds. Over 100 species of nesting birds have been identified in the Reserve, including bald eagles, green herons, and cerulean warbler. Rare birds include red-shouldered hawk, cerulean warbler, Kentucky warbler, Louisiana waterthrush and acadian flycatcher. For a more extensive list of what bird species have been found in the Reserve, visit our bird website. Birds of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve (pdf), a 2008 brochure, is available at the visitor center.
The Kickapoo Valley Reserve and Wildcat Mountain State Park are listed as an Important Bird Area by the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative.
Mammal species include white tail deer, fox squirrel, coyote, beaver, river otter, and others. An occasional black bear or cougar makes an appearance in the area, but none are known to reside in the Reserve.
The Reserve is home to a wide variety of reptiles and amphibians. Turtle species include snapping, wood (threatened), Blanding's (protected), the painted, and eastern spiny soft shelled.
Field crews have encountered the common garter, the brown (or DeKay's), the western fox (or Pine), northern water, the gray rat, and the smooth green snakes. Other species with habitat ranges that include the Reserve are the blue (or yellow-bellied) racer, the eastern hognose, the bull snake, the eastern milksnake, the and the northern redbelly. Of the 21 species of snakes in Wisconsin, only two are venomous: the eastern massasauga (endangered) and the timber rattlesnakes. No documented encounter with rattlesnakes has been reported in the Reserve. Regardless, both rattlesnakes are protected animals.
The Kickapoo River and the wetlands of the Kickapoo Valley Reserve provide excellent habitat for numerous species of amphibians. Frog species include bull, green, leopard, and wood. The Reserve also contains a few species of tree frog such as the chorus, spring peeper, and gray. The american toad is also resident.
Of the seven Wisconsin salamander species, five species are most likely to be encountered on the Reserve: the blue-spotted, the four-toed, and the eastern tiger salamanders; the central newt; and the mudpuppy. The other two Wisconsin salamanders, the spotted and the red-backed, have habitat ranges in more northern parts of the state.