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31 Examples of Animals that Live in Lakes (A to Z List)

lake

Lakes are home to many different species of fish and other aquatic life including Walleye, Northern Pikeminnow, Channel Catfish, and Crappie (White) among others.

Lake animals are often overlooked or difficult to find because they live underwater. However, there are many different types of lake animals that have adapted to living in and on and even around lakes.

Examples of Animals that Live in Lakes

1. Aquatic Salamander (aka Axolotl)

Axolotl
Scientific NameCaudata
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeUnited States along the Atlantic coast
DietCarnivore

Salamander are amphibians that live and feed along the bottom of lakes or ponds. They eat insects, worms and snails, spiders, and slugs.

2. Bass

bass
Scientific NameMicropterus salmoides
Type of AnimalFish
RangeNorth Carolina to Florida and into northern Mexico
DietOmnivore

Bass lives in many different types of water, including lakes. They tend to eat near or on the bottom and like cover such as rocks and weeds which they often use as shelter. Bass will also frequently be in open waters where food is abundant.

Another thing that bass do is ambush their prey; this means that it swims quietly up behind its prey and then quickly eats it.

3. Beaver

beaver
Scientific NameCastor
Type of AnimalRodent
RangeNorth America
DietHerbivore

Beaver live in and near lakes, rivers, ponds, and wetlands. They build dams to create a pond for their home. Beaver are herbivores who eat plants including leaves, twigs, bark, roots of aquatic vegetation as well as grasses when on land.

4. Caddisflies

Scientific NameTrichoptera
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Caddisflies are aquatic insects that live in or near lakes and streams. They lay their eggs on rocks, plants, etc. while underwater so the larvae can hatch next to food sources like algae growing underwater.

5. Catfish

catfish
Scientific NameSiluriformes
Type of AnimalFish
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Catfish are bottom feeders and may be found in lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. They prey on other fish which is their main source of food. Catfish eat insects that fall into the water as well as aquatic vegetation such as algae which they scrape off rocks with their mouths.

Catfish have a strong sense of smell which they use to find food at night when other sources are scarce.

6. Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon
Scientific NameOncorhynchus tshawytscha
Type of AnimalFish
RangeCalifornia to the Chukchi Sea area of Alaska
DietOmnivore

Chinook Salmon live in freshwater. They spawn (lay eggs) upriver from the lake, but they spend most of their lives at sea or far upstream where conditions are comparable to a saltwater environment.

7. Clams

clam
Scientific NameBivalvia
Type of AnimalMollusks
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Clams are bottom feeders that live in the sediment of lakes. They use their siphons to filter water and catch food like algae, plankton, or decaying plants or animals.

8. Crayfish

crayfish
Scientific NameCambarus sp
Type of AnimalCrustacean
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Crayfish live in and around lakes. They eat dead animal carcasses, plants, insects, other invertebrates including crayfish themselves as well as tadpoles and small fish.

They can be found living under rocks or logs near the bottom of lakes and rivers where they shelter from predators.

9. Deepwater Sculpin

Scientific NameCottoidea
Type of AnimalMollusca
RangeOzarks of Missouri and Arkansas
DietCarnivore

Deepwater Sculpin lives near the bottom of a lake where it is dark. They eat plankton which is why you will sometimes find them at the bottom of a lake.

10. Ducks (Muscovy)

muscovy
Scientific NameCairina moschata
Type of AnimalBird
RangeMexico, Central, and South America, and extreme southern Texas
DietOmnivore

Muscovy Ducks are semi-aquatic animals, meaning they can live in both water and on land. They will nest in trees but typically feed near the surface of the water where vegetation is plentiful. Muskies like to eat nuts, fruits (including apples), pondweeds, invertebrates such as snails and crayfish among many others.

11. Flamingo

flamingo
Scientific NamePhoenicopterus roseus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeCaribbean, Mexico, and South America
DietOmnivore

Flamingos live in and around lakes as well. Flamingos are one of the most colorful animals found on earth with pink, red, orange, and white feathers. They can be recognized by their downward curving bills and long legs which allow them to wade through shallow water for small fish or aquatic plants.

12. Frogs

frog
Scientific NameAnura
Type of AnimalAmphibian
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

There are many different types of frogs that live in and around lakes. Bullfrogs, Green Frogs, Leopard Frogs, Pickerel Frogs (Eastern), Wood Frogs (Northern), and even the smaller ones like Spring Peepers all call a lake home.

13. Golden Carp

Golden carp
Scientific NameProbarbus jullieni
Type of AnimalFish
RangeSoutheast Asian
DietOmnivore

Golden Carp are native to China and were introduced in North America for aquaculture. They can grow up to 70 kilograms and typically live 50 years or more, reaching a maximum length of 165 cm.

Golden carp feed by filtering small plants from the water they also eat shellfish and prawns.

14. Lake Herring

herring
Scientific NameCoregonus artedi
Type of AnimalFish
RangeSt. Lawrence River, the Great Lakes and the Arctic Ocean
DietCarnivore

Lake Herring are found in North America and Europe. They live near the shoreline of lakes, rivers or streams where they eat insects, plankton, and fish fry (young fish).

15. Lake Trout

Trout
Scientific NameSalvelinus namaycush
Type of AnimalFish
Rangenorthern North America
DietCarnivore

Lake Trout are cold-water fish that live in large, deep lakes including Lake Erie. They feed on smaller fish and can grow to be quite large over time. Salmon however tend to migrate from saltwater into freshwater rivers before returning back for the breeding season

16. Lake Sturgeon

sturgeon fish
Scientific NameAcipenser fulvescens
Type of AnimalFish
RangeMississippi River, Hudson Bay, and the Great Lakes
DietCarnivore

Sturgeon are not technically classified as an “animal that lives in lakes” because they actually live most of their lives out on the open waters. But lake sturgeon is the total opposite they are also known as rock sturgeon and one of 25 species of sturgeon.

17. Mayflies

mayfly
Scientific NameEphemeroptera
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Mayflies live in and around lakes, ponds, rivers, and irrigation canals. Adult mayflies do not eat only the mayflies nymphs do, because the adults only live for a few hours to 2 days.

18. Mink

mink chewing bones
Scientific NameNeovison vison
Type of AnimalWeasel
RangeNorth America
DietCarnivore

Mink are semi-aquatic animals that dwell in the northern region of North America. They eat mostly fish and other aquatic life including birds, but can also be found eating small mammals like rodents or even reptiles!

19. Old-Squaw Duck (Long-Tailed Duck)

Scientific NameClangula hyemalis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorthern Canada
DietOmnivore

The Long-tailed duck is a sea duck that lives in the northern part of North America.

They live in lakes and ponds near marshes, swamps, or rivers where they eat small fish like minnows, leeches, crustaceans including crayfish and shrimp as well as aquatic insects. They also eat some plant matter.

20. Opossum Shrimp

Scientific NameMysida
Type of AnimalCrustacean
RangeGreat Lakes
DietOmnivore

Opossum Shrimp live in the sand and gravel at the bottom of lakes. They are omnivores, eating algae or plant material as well as small invertebrates like insect larvae (larvae that hatch into insects), snails, clams etc.

21. Otter

otter
Scientific NameLutrinae
Type of AnimalRodent
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Otters are found in almost every corner of the world. They can be found in lakes, rivers, and oceans in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa among other places.

Fish is a common food for otters because they hunt underwater where fish usually live so it is easy for them to get their food. They also eat crayfish, crabs, frogs, and small mammals like rabbits or mice that they can catch on land.

22. Painted Turtle

painted turtle
Scientific NameChrysemys picta
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeThe United States and southern Canada
DietOmnivore

Painted turtles can be found in many different bodies of water including lakes, ponds, and streams. They primarily eat plants but will also consume small invertebrates such as snails and insects.

23. Perch

yellow perch
Scientific NamePerca
Type of AnimalFish
RangeMissouri to western Pennsylvania to South Carolina and north to Maine
DietCarnivore

The Perch is a common fish found in lakes across North America. They live near the bottom of the water, often at depths between 25 and 35 feet down into the lake where they feed on other smaller fish or crustaceans that are swimming above them.

24. Ring-billed Gulls

Ring-billed Gull
Scientific NameLarus delawarensis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America
DietOmnivore

Ring-billed Gulls live near open lake water, including saltwater and freshwater. They are opportunistic feeders who eat seeds, insects, fish, rodents, berries, small reptiles, or amphibians among other things.

25. Salmon

salmon
Scientific NameSalmo salar
Type of AnimalFish
RangeGreat Lakes of North America and Patagonia
DietOmnivore

Salmon live in lakes, ponds, and rivers. They spend their entire lives there until it is time to breed when they will move upriver so the female can lay her eggs. Once she has laid her eggs, both males and females die after mating because of a lack of food during the breeding process.

26. Scaup

Scaup
Scientific NameAythya affinis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America and Europe
DietOmnivore

Scaup lives in lakes and eats fish, small crustaceans, worms, insects, clams, and snails. They are considered good eating for birds of prey such as the Osprey because they have a high-fat content.

27. Snails

snail
Scientific NameGastropoda
Type of AnimalGastropoda
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Snails live in and around lakes, rivers, and ponds. They love to eat decaying plant matter such as algae which can be found on aquatic plants or rocks.

28. Snapping Turtle

Snapping Turtle
Scientific NameChelydra serpentina
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeEastern United States to the Rocky Mountains
DietOmnivore

The Common Snapping turtle also called a Chelydra serpentina, is one of many types of snapping turtles that can be found in lakes and rivers.

They mainly eat fish but will also feed on worms, insects, and small amphibians if they can catch them.

29. Walleye

Walleye
Scientific NameSander vitreus
Type of AnimalFish
RangeArctic south to the Great Lakes
DietCarnivore

Walleye live in lakes and eat other fish or small crustaceans. They are a common sport fishing target, which is why it’s important to understand what they need for a habitat if you wish to catch them yourself.

30. Whitefish

Whitefish
Scientific NameCoregonus clupeaformis
Type of AnimalFish
RangeAlaska and western Canada
DietCarnivore

Whitefish is a species of freshwater fish that live in cold waters. They can be found in Northern Hemisphere lakes and rivers throughout North America, Europe, Russia, and Asia. Whitefish prefer colder water temperatures between 50°F to 57°F.

31. Zebra Mussel

Scientific NameDreissena polymorpha
Type of AnimalMollusk
RangeGreat Lakes
DietHerbivore

Zebra Mussels are a species of invasive mussel found in lakes and other water bodies around the world. They were first discovered in North America in 1988, when they were carried into Lake St Clair on the hulls of large ocean-going ships that had traveled from Europe through the Great Lakes Waterway system which connects all five Great Lakes together.

They are filter feeders, meaning they use their siphon-like mouth to suck water in which it then filters for plankton.

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