Discover Wisconsin Wildlife on the Apostle Islands

Photo of American marten: wisconsin wildlife you can see in Bayfield

The Apostle Islands are a jewel of Northern Wisconsin, located at the southwestern end of Lake Superior. The archipelago consists of 21 islands with unique environments that provide essential habitats for Wisconsin wildlife. All sorts of wildlife call the islands home, from migratory birds to red foxes and black bears. Use the species checklist from the National Park Service staff to find the complete list of wildlife on the islands. Stay with us at Old Rittenhouse Inn and access the islands with a short boat ride across Lake Superior. 

Amphibians and Reptiles

The islands offer a prime habitat for amphibians with their combination of hardwood forests and wetland areas. You can find six species of salamanders, ten species of frogs, four species of snakes, and two species of turtles here. Common species include:

  • Tree Frogs
  • Spotted salamanders
  • Ringneck Snakes
  • Painted turtles


Ten of the twelve carnivorous species of Wisconsin can be found on the Apostle Islands, in addition to a wide variety of small mammals. Some of the highest population densities of black bears can be found on Oak Island and Sand Island. You will also find the rare American marten species here that only exist in small populations in Wisconsin. Some other mammals to look out for include:

  • Several bat species
  • Beavers
  • Coyote
  • Red fox
  • White-tailed deer


The Apostle Islands offer critical habitats for migratory birds and some of Wisconsin’s best birding. The open water, mudflats, coastal wetlands, open fields, pine barrens, and mixed forests offer habitats for more than 300 bird species. Avian research and breeding bird surveys take place every year. Common bird species include:

  • Passerines
  • Hawks
  • Falcons
  • Waterfowl
  • Shorebirds


The waters of Lake Superior surrounding the Apostle Islands are an essential area for commercial and recreational fishing. There are over 40 different species that inhabit the water, and the lakeshore is a critical spawning area for lake trout and whitefish. Some other notable fish species include:

  • Lake Sturgeon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spoonhead Sculpin
  • Trout-perch
  • Northern pike

Hotels near the Apostle Islands

The Apostle Islands provide important habitats for a wide range of Wisconsin wildlife. Print off your species checklist and see how many animals you can spot on the islands this summer! Return to the mainland and stay with us at Old Rittenhouse Inn, a charming bed and breakfast with beautiful views of Lake Superior. Browse all of our cozy lakefront accommodations and visit us in Bayfield today!