Mainers see a lot of animals they're allegedly not supposed to.

If you cruise Reddit or Facebook, you'll find a lot of Mainers who swear up and down they've seen a mountain lion. Or that they've seen a wolf. The thing is, you're not supposed to be able to see either of those creatures in our woods. But nevertheless, people will bet their lives on what they saw.

However, there truly are a number of creatures that used to roam the woods of Maine, or its waters, that just simply aren't here anymore. I was reading an article online, and some animals were basically hunted out. Others were edged out because of habitat loss. Some just seemed to have moved on. But let's take a peek at a few.

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Let's talk about wolves first.


Historically, wolves were seen as apex predators that were a threat to farm animals. They ended up being hunted in huge numbers and eventually, they just vanished. They were quickly replaced by coyotes, which mated with the wolves. Because our coyotes have so much wolf DNA, they're much larger and easily mistaken for rogue wolves in our woods.

How about those mountain lions?

Head and shoulders of puma

People report mountain lion/cougar sightings probably almost as often as wolves. Much in the same way, they were so feared for the sake of livestock, that they were hunted into oblivion here in Maine. It's been almost 100 years since a cougar was trapped in Maine. Are they here now? Hard to say, but it doesn't stop almost non-stop sightings.

Rattlesnakes... Yes, rattlesnakes.

Image of a Great Basin Rattle Snake, Utah.

Decades ago, there were legitimately rattlesnakes here in Maine. But with public opinion about them in the absolute toilet, they were pretty much driven out of Maine. Sometimes people think they hear them, but it's usually a milk snake rustling in the leaves. Either way, you hear that sound, you're gonna stop in your tracks.

Once upon a time, the passenger pigeon was the most common bird in Maine.

Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash
Photo by Andy Holmes on Unsplash

It's weird that a bird that was pretty much the dominant species of bird in our state, could just be gone. Between being seen initially as a great food source, and later on as a feathered menace, we pretty much made them go away at the end of the 1800's. We seem to be really good at it.

And another bird... the Great Auk.

This was a funky resident back in its day. It was a large flightless bird that was kind of a cross between a puffin and a penguin. It was about the size of a wild turkey, and was hunted for its meat and soft feathers. By the late 1800's, once again, we'd managed to hunt them to extinction in these parts.

It's kind of sad to look back at Maine's history and think we've done such a bad job of protecting our natural residents, great and small. Have we learned our lesson? Hard to say, but hopefully someone doesn't write an article 100 years from now saying deer are gone...

All these things actually so still live in Maine, so watch out for these...

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