General Wildlife


Sabine hosts more than 250 bird species, 132 fish species, 36 reptile and amphibian species, and 28 mammal species. This diversity exists in spite of ongoing habitat changes on the refuge.

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge is one of the primary wintering refuges for waterfowl in the Mississippi Flyway. Olivaceous cormorant, snowy egret and common egret rookeries occur regularly on the refuge. In the fall and spring many shorebird species can be found here. Numerous species of neotropical migrant songbirds pass through the refuge on their migration. Many species of fish and shrimp mature and grow in the "nursery" provided by the refuge's intermediate and brackish marshes.


At least 28 species of mammals can be found on the refuge. The most common rodents include muskrat, nutria, marsh rice rat, and hispid cotton rat. The swamp rabbit and eastern cottontail are the only two lagomorphs found on the refuge. Many carnivorous furbearers live on the refuge, including river otter, mink, coyote, and bobcat. Armadillo can frequently be seen on the levees. The only ungulate present is the white-tailed deer. Among the bats that have been documented to occur on the refuge are the red bat, Eastern pipistrelle, and Brazilian free-tailed bat.

Amphibians and Reptiles

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge harbors at least 35 species of amphibians and reptiles. Species most commonly encountered include: the American alligator, snapping turtle, alligator snapping turtle, red-eared slider, Mississippi green water snake, broad-banded water snake, western ribbon snake, speckled kingsnake, western cottonmouth, green anole, ground skink, Gulf coast toad, green treefrog and southern leopard frog. Another species of note is the diamondback terrapin, a medium-size turtle that prefers open water in coastal salt marshes and estuaries.

Aquatic Species

Fish associated with the refuge marshes include Gulf menhaden, Atlantic croaker, gobies, pipefish, bay anchovy, inland silverside, western mosquitofish, pinfish, striped and white mullet, silver perch, bay whiff, bayou and rainwater killifish, speckled worm eel, sand sea trout, red drum, crappie, gar, sunfishes, largemouth bass, and catfish. Shellfish associated with these areas include blue and mud crab, and white, grass, and brown shrimp. Many of these fish spend time maturing in these marshes before they return to the ocean.