Wildlife & Habitat

Trumpeter Swans

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect, restore and manage wetland and forested areas. One of the main missions of the Refuge is to provide resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

  • Indiana Bat

    Indiana Bat

    Cypress Creek Refuge provides habitat for Indiana bats, an endangered species.   Indiana bats hibernate during winter in caves or, occasionally, in abandoned mines. For hibernation, they require cool, humid caves with stable temperatures, under 50° F but above freezing. Very few caves within the range of the species have these conditions.

    After hibernation, Indiana bats migrate to their summer habitat in wooded areas where they usually roost under loose tree bark on dead or dying trees. During summer, males roost alone or in small groups, while females roost in maternity colonies of up to 100 bats or more Indiana bats also forage in or along the edges of forested areas.   Refuge staff have documented three maternity colonies of Indiana Bats on Refuge Property.

    Photographer: Megan Harris

  • Canebrakes

    Cane and others

    Giant cane is the only bamboo native to North America and is at its northern- most location at Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge.  It is an integral component of bottomland forests and occurs as dense stands, also known as canebrakes. Canebrakes are unique habitat providing habitat for many species including small mammals, migratory birds, reptiles, amphibians, moths and butterflies. Canebrakes have been reduced an estimated 98% since the time of European settlement in the Midwest.

    The refuge has been actively restoring and researching various management techniques of canebrakes in an attempt to restore this habitat that has been nearly eliminated. Some of the research conducted has investigated the best methods of transplanting cane, and the effects of fire and fertilization to established canebrakes.  Restoration has been successful with a survival rate of over 50% of all transplanted cane. Canebrakes will continue to be restored across the refuge on other suitable properties as they are acquired.

    Photographer: USFWS

  • Bottomland Hardwoods- Oaks and Hickories


    Bottomland hardwood forests are one of the lowest and wettest types of hardwood forests.  A diversity of species can be found within the Refuge forests including cherrybark oak, swamp white oak, swamp chestnut oak, shumard oak, pin oak, willow oak, overcup oak, shagbark hickory, and water hickory.  These tree species are important food and cover sources for many species of wildlife like waterfowl, bats, deer, squirrels, and turkeys and tolerate short term flooding during the dormant season.

    The refuge is actively restoring frequently flooded farm fields in the Cache River floodplain to bottomland hardwood forests. To date, over 5,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods have been planted on the refuge with the ultimate goal of maximizing species diversity and creating a contiguous stretch of bottomland forest along the banks of the Cache River within the Refuge boundary.

    Photographer: Jan Sundberg

  • Prothonotary Warbler

    Prothonotary Warbler Michael Jeffords

    Prothonotary Warblers are a migratory bird which nests in tree cavities over water, and can be seen and heard throughout the flooded forests of the Refuge.  Prothonotary warblers are a good indicator of healthy bottomland forests and the success of restoration efforts on the Refuge and the surrounding Cache River wetlands. 

    Photographer: Michael Jeffords

  • Bald Cypress Water Tupelo Swamp

    Cypress Trees

    Like the swamps of the south, the swamps of Cypress Creek Refuge and the surrounding wetlands are rife with bald-cypress and water tupelo trees, ancient giants that have stood here for centuries.  One of the best ways to view the swamps is by canoe.  Navigate through Eagle Pond where you will view 800-year-old Bald Cypress Trees, including one with over 200 knees!   

    Photographer: Michael Jeffords


  • Reptiles and Amphibians

    Green Tree Frog

    The rich diversity of reptiles and amphibians on the Refuge is phenomenal.  Cypress Creek Refuge and the surrounding wetlands contain 54 known species of reptiles and amphibians.  Of the 20 species of frogs and toads in the state, 18 have been recorded in the Cache watershed.  Some species of interest include the copper belly watersnake, the state threatened bird voiced tree frog, and the northern crawfish frog.  

    Photographer: Tony Gerard