National Animal of the USA
The national bird of the USA is the bald eagle, and the national mammal of the USA is the American bison. So get ready to explore these critical animal symbols of the United States!
A Tale of Two Creatures: National Animals of the USA
What animal represents the US?
Did you know that the United States has two national animals to its name?
These are the bald eagle and the American bison. They were chosen as the national bird and the national mammal, respectively.
Here you can learn about these two creatures and why they were picked to represent the spirit of the nation. It’s excellent for exploring the history of the United States in social studies or finding out information about two all-American creatures.
What will children learn about the national animals of the USA?
Keep reading to find out answers to the following questions:
- When was the bald eagle chosen as the national bird of the USA?
- When did the American bison become a national animal?
- What do the national animals symbolize?
- What are fun facts about the bald eagle and the American bison?
- Where can I find teaching resources on the national animals of the USA?
The Bald Eagle – National Bird of the United States
When was the bald eagle chosen as the national bird of the USA?
The bald eagle was selected as the national bird of the USA back in 1782 when America’s independence was new, exciting, and on everyone’s minds.
It was placed on the Great Seal, used for government institutions, official documents, and the president’s flag, to name just a few places where you can see the bald eagle symbol in action. It’s one of the leading national symbols of the country, if not the main one.
Once hunted into near-extinction by farmers and fishermen, the bald eagle was under official government protection by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, which came into effect in 1940.
It prevented the extinction of the bald eagles, preserving them as our national emblem and as an essential part of wildlife in North America!
What does the bald eagle symbolize?
The bald eagle symbolizes strength and freedom, not just of the United States as a nation but of the American people.
Eagles, in general, feature as a national symbol of many countries. They are often chosen because they represent strength, courage, freedom, and immortality – to name just a few.
The bald eagle is especially significant because it is found only in North America. It makes it the perfect animal to represent the United States!
What are five fun facts about the bald eagle symbol?
- Bald eagles were once endangered, but because of laws passed to conserve them and ban pesticides that harmed them, they’ve made a serious comeback.
- Bald eagles can live up to 35 years in the wild and up to 50 in captivity.
- Here’s a love story for the ages: bald eagles mate for life, with both the mother and the father taking care of the young chicks.
- Bald eagles are only found on the continent of North America. They can be found up in Alaska and down in Mexico.
- The wingspan of a bald eagle is between 5 ft 11 in and 7 ft 7 in. That’s longer than the height of the average American!
The American Bison – National Mammal of the USA
When did the American bison become a national animal?
The National Bison Legacy Act, which selected the bison as our national mammal, was passed on May 9, 2016.
It means that it’s a relatively new development. For example, the bald eagle has been the national bird since 1782, so the bison has a long way to go before it becomes the go-to answer for, “What is the national animal of the USA?”
What does the American bison symbolize?
As migratory beasts, bison are said to represent freedom. They travel widely across the United States, grazing as they go. In Yellowstone, bison can travel up to 1,000 miles, leaving and returning to fertile lands with excellent greens.
They also symbolize strength and might. Bison are terrifyingly strong creatures – you certainly don’t want to make one of these gentle giants angry.
Ultimately, they’re viewed as a symbol of the self-determination of the American people, which is why they’ve been chosen as the national mammal of the United States.
What are five fun facts about American bison?
- In the 1800s, American settlers hunted the bison and massively depleted their numbers. As a result, the bison nearly went extinct!
- Bison are commonly called “buffalo,” but they’re not buffalo! The only buffalo species live in Africa and Asia.
- Bison can eat 30 pounds of prairie grass every day. As ruminants, their digestive systems are specially adapted to digesting it.
- Bison is officially the largest mammal in North America, weighing up to 2,000 pounds (for bulls) or 1,000 pounds (for cows).
- President Theodore Roosevelt once hunted bison, but he contributed to the movement to conserve and preserve this essential American species. What a turnaround!
More National Symbols of the USA
Anthem: “The Star-Spangled Banner”
Floral Emblem: Rose
Motto: “In God we trust.”
Flag: The American flag, also known as the Stars and Stripes, among other names.