Wildlife & Habitat


Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge preserves and manages important habitat for the Louisiana Black Bear. Protecting bear habitat provides a home for many other native species such as neotropical songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl, reptiles, and amphibians.

  • Louisiana black bear


    Once common throughout the Lower Mississippi region, the Louisiana black bear is now restricted to a few populations in relatively undeveloped areas. One of 16 subspecies of the American black bear, our Louisiana bear lives primarily in areas of large, contiguous bottomland hardwood forest, but will also travel through marshes, spoil banks along bayous, and even agricultural fields.

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  • Mississippi Kite


    Mississippi Kite, This striking and graceful pearly gray raptor may be seen dive bombing, swooping, and soaring in pursuit of large insects or even smaller birds. Mississippi kites eat insects that are agricultural pests, and sometimes follow tractors and feed on on insects and small rodents that are flushed.

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  • American alligator


    Watch for this armored reptile swimming or basking on logs and shorelines. When the weather is cold, alligators become dormant, and will burrow into the mud to wait for warmer conditions.

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  • Wood duck


    This ornate waterfowl has striking plumage colors and patterns. A rather shy woodland pond and swamp dweller, it lives in tree cavities excavated by woodpeckers, and is one of the few ducks that perch in trees. By the early 1900’s the wood duck population had declined drastically due to loss of nest sites and hunting pressure. However with the help of sound wildlife management, including the use of nest boxes, this species is making a strong comeback.

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  • North American river otter


    This playful member of the weasel family can often be seen on the Refuge. Otters only thrive where the water is healthy, so river otters are a good indicator of environmental health.

  • Basking turtles


    Turtles like the red eared slider are commonly seen basking on logs. Basking helps these cold-blooded reptiles regulate their temperature. It also strengthens their shells and inhibits algae from growing on them.  Sliders have been found to live over 50 years in the wild!