Ohio State Parks provide rich and diverse habitats for resident wildlife, as well as appealing rest stops for migratory birds.
Networks of trails skirting lakeshores and stream beds, traversing open fields, weaving through forests are great places for catching glimpses of many species.
Many nature center displays help park visitors identify species found in the park, and many naturalist programs are geared toward spotting wildlife, getting acquainted with the life histories of interesting critters, and learning the fine art of tracking.
Some parks offer decks or observation blinds on the trail. A number of species that are uncommon elsewhere in Ohio, such as bald eagles and wild turkey, are finding refuge in Ohio State Parks.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources offers these tips for watching wildlife.
• Don't feed wildlife. When camping, keep your cooler and other food in the car overnight, and take trash to the nearest can or Dumpster.
• If you see a snake, don’t panic and don’t disturb or harm it. If you believe the snake to be venomous, report your sighting to the park staff or local wildlife office.
• Resist the temptation to take turtles, frogs, salamanders, snakes or other critters home with you. They have important jobs to do in the ecosystem. A collector's permit is required to collect specimens for a legitimate non-commercial purpose.
• Remember to bring a camera, binoculars and field guide.