Bull snakes can be frightening, but are harmless.
NPS Photo by Reed Weisenburger
Within the various vegetative communities are many species of fauna. Larger birds and mammals rely on the wooded areas for winter cover and as an area for rearing young, but often feed in the open prairie. White tailed deer, coyote, porcupine, skunk, beaver and thirteen-lined ground squirrels are some of the more common sightings. Prairie pocket gophers are rarely seen but are evident because of their prominent tunnel activities amongst the historic village sites. A large number of birds can be seen on a walk in the park. Game birds such as wild turkey, pheasants, canada geese and mourning doves often find a refuge within the park. Raptors such as northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, kestrels, and bald eagles are often seen. Other large birds such as owls, white pelican, snow geese, and great blue heron are frequently spotted. Songs birds are common and the species change as you move from the prairie into the wooded areas. Although the park’s invertebrate inventory isn’t completed, a good selection of invertebrates have been located and documented within its borders. The most common order of insects are the Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (flies), Hemiptera (true bugs), Homoptera (leaf hoppers), and Hymenoptera (bees, wasp, ants) have been collected, resulting in over 200 different species of invertebrates having been identified. Because of the presence of the Missouri and Knife Rivers, twenty-six species of aquatic mollusk are known to exist within the park.