Freshwater Marvels – 21 Awesome Animals that Live in Lakes

Freshwater Marvels – 21 Awesome Animals that Live in Lakes


Freshwater Marvels – 21 Awesome Animals that Live in Lakes

Many different animals can be found living in lakes. From fish and frogs to snakes and turtles, the variety is astounding.

Freshwater biomes cover around one fifth of the earth’s surface and are generally very low in salt (about 1% or less) or lack salt completely. There are two types of freshwater biomes – rivers and streams, and ponds and lakes.

Ponds and lakes vary in size and are scattered around the world. The average depth of a pond or lake is around 10 feet. Ponds and lakes are home to many different species of animal that are not in danger of being swept away by currents. Insects, birds, frogs, amphibians, turtles and around 700 species of fish can be found in freshwater habitats.

List of Animals that Live in Lakes



The Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a unique amphibian that can be found in Mexico. It is often called the “Mexican Walking Fish”.

The Axolotl is a member of the salamander family and is closely related to the tiger salamander. It has several unique features that make it distinct from other amphibians. It is one of the national animals of Mexico.

Axolotls are native to Lake Xochimilco in Mexico City, but they can now be found in zoos and aquariums around the world.


Ducks are also called ‘Waterfowl’ because they are normally found in places where there is water like ponds, streams and rivers.

Ducks are related to Geese and Swans in the Anatidae family. Ducks are sometimes confused with several types of unrelated water birds with similar forms, such as loons or grebes and coots.

Ducks are found in wetlands, marshes, ponds, rivers, lakes and oceans. This is because ducks love the water. Some species of ducks migrate or travel longs distances every year to breed. Ducks usually travel to warmer areas or where the water does not freeze so that they can rest and raise their young. The distance may be thousands of miles away. Ducks are found everywhere in the world except for Antarctica which is too cold for them.


The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), is one of Britain’s most brightly colored and interesting birds. Kingfishers are widespread, especially in central and southern England, becoming less common further north, however, following some declines last century, they are currently increasing in their range in Scotland.

Kingfishers are found by still or slow flowing water such as lakes, canals and rivers in lowland areas. In winter, some individuals move to estuaries and the coast. Occasionally they may visit suitably sized garden ponds.

Tundra Swan

Tundra Swan

The tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus) is a small swan with two taxa found in the northern hemisphere. These taxa are often considered to be the same species, but are sometimes split into two species: Bewick’s swan (Cygnus bewickii) and the whistling swan (C. columbianus). Bewick’s swan is found in the Palearctic, across much of Eurasia and North Africa. The whistling swan is found in the Nearctic, in North America.

Tundra swans are widespread and native to parts of North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. Bewick’s swan is found across much of Eurasia and North Africa, while the whistling swan is found across North America. As their name suggests, tundra swans breed in the tundra of the Arctic and subarctic, where they inhabit shallow pools, lakes and rivers. Tundra swans are a migratory species.

White Clawed Crayfish

The White-clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) is an endangered European freshwater crayfish and the only species of crayfish native to the British Isles. It is also known as the Atlantic stream crayfish. The White-clawed Crayfish is found from the Balkan Peninsula to Spain and reaches its northerly limit in Great Britain and Ireland, where it also has its greatest population density.

The White-clawed Crayfish is classed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN list.

Common Frog

The Common Frog (Rana temporaria) is also known as the European Common Frog or European Common Brown Frog. The Common Frog is found throughout much of Europe as far north as the Arctic Circle. The Common Frog can also be found in Ireland and is the only frog that is found there.

Common frogs are largely terrestrial outside the breeding season and can be found in meadows, gardens and woodland. Common frogs hibernate and breed in puddles, ponds, lakes and canals, muddy burrows and can also hibernate in layers of decaying leaves and mud at the bottom of ponds. The fact that they can breathe through their skins allows them to stay underwater for much longer periods of time when they are hibernating.

Greater Flamingo

Out of the six species of flamingo on our planet, the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most common and widespread member of the flamingo family.

The Greater Flamingo is an easily identifiable, colorful wading bird and is often found flocking together with the Lesser Flamingo in the great salt lakes across Africa. These famous pink birds can be found in warm, watery regions on many continents and also occur in Asia in the coastal regions of India and Pakistan, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and in Southern Europe. When flamingos flock together, they are referred to as a ‘colony’ or a ‘stand’.

The closest relatives to the Greater Flamingo are the Chilean Flamingo, Caribbean Flamingo and the Lesser Flamingo. There are no subspecies of the Greater Flamingo.


The Shoveler (Anas clypeata) is a duck that can be found in many parts of the world. It is a medium-sized duck, and males are easily recognizable by their bright green heads and chest. They use their shovel-shaped bill to filter food from the water, and they are known for their graceful swimming style.

Shovelers can be found in ponds, lakes, and marshes, and they are often seen swimming in pairs or small groups.


The European Otter (Lutra lutra) is also known as the Eurasian River Otter, Common Otter and Old World Otter. It is a European member of the Mustelidae or weasel family and is typical of freshwater otters. The European otter is the most widely distributed otter species being widely spread across Europe. The otter is believed to be extinct in Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

Otters are now very common along the coast of Norway and in Northern Britain, especially Shetland where 12% of the UK breeding population exist.

An otters diet mainly consists of fish, however, it can also include birds, insects, frogs, crustaceans and small mammals. This opportunist mammal may inhabit any unpolluted body of freshwater, including lakes, streams, rivers and ponds, as long as there is good supply of food. Otters may also live along the coast in salt water, however, they require regular access to freshwater to clean their fur.

Snow Goose

Snow Goose

The snow goose (Anser caerulescens) is a species of goose native to North America. It breeds north of the timberline in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern tip of Siberia, and spend winters in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to Mexico.

This bird belongs to the genus Anser and the family Anatidae. Both white and dark varieties of this goose exist, with the latter often known as blue goose. The name snow goose derives from the typically white plumage.

The snow goose feeds on roots, leaves and grasses, using their bills for digging up roots in thick mud. Their most common predators are artic foxes and gull-like birds called jaegers. They usually nest in colonies and travel in large flocks made of many family units.

Cottonmouth Snake

cottonmouth snakes

The cottonmouth snake (Agkistrodon piscivorus) is a species of venomous snake in the subfamily Crotalinae of the family Viperidae. Native to the southeastern United States, it is the world’s only semiaquatic viper and can be found in or near water. They are large and heavy-bodied, reaching up to 42 inches in length.

Cottonmouths are mainly found in swamps, sloughs, wetlands, and drainage ditches of western coastal plains, but can also be found in rivers and lakes. Because they are semiaquatic, they can be found both on land and in water.



Herons are long-legged and long-necked birds in the family Ardeidae. There are at least 64 species, although some of which are referred to as egrets or bitterns rather than herons. They are split into three subfamilies — Tigriornithinae, Botaurinae and Ardeinae.

Herons are often confused with egrets; egrets do not form a biologically distinct group from herons, and tend to be named differently because they are mainly white, especially in the breeding season. Despite this, herons and egrets can occur in the same genus together.

Herons are found worldwide, on all continents except Antarctica. They are freshwater and coastal birds that usually reside around wetlands, lakes, and ponds. Most species are at least partially migratory.

King Salmon

king salmon

The king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), also known as the Chinook salmon, Quinnat salmon, Tsumen, spring salmon, chrome hog, Blackmouth, and Tyee salmon, is the largest species of Pacific salmon in the genus Oncorhynchus. It is also the largest member of this genus.

This fish is native to the North Pacific Ocean and the river systems of western North America, ranging from California to Alaska, as well as Asian rivers ranging from northern Japan to the Palyavaam River in the Arctic northeast Siberia.

The king salmon is often caught for food, with the flesh being highly valued for its dietary nutritional content, which includes high levels of important omega-3 fatty acids. The fish is both farmed and caught in the wild. According to NOAA the Chinook salmon population along the California coast is declining, due to overfishing.

Nine populations of Chinook salmon are listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as either threatened or endangered. Despite this, the king salmon is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN Red List.


The Piranha Fish (also known as the ‘caribe’ in Venezuela) is a ferocious, schooling, freshwater fish. It is native to warm rainforest lowland streams and lakes in South America – the Amazon basin, in the Orinoco River and east of the Andes Mountains. Piranha Fish have been introduced to other places, including Northern Brazil, Hawaii, parts of the Central and North America.

Although Piranhas are omnivorous, they are known for their sharp teeth and an aggressive appetite for meat. The total number of piranha species is not known and new species continue to be described.

Great Crested Newt

The Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) is also known as the Northern Crested Newt and Warty Newt. Great crested newts are widespread, but extremely local, in mainland Britain, however, they are not found in Ireland. The Great Crested Newt can also be found across northern Europe, from France in the west, to the Urals in the east.

The Great Crested Newt is one of only three amphibians which are protected by the Uk Biodiversity Action Plan. The Great Crested Newt is one of three newts found in the British Isles, along with the Smooth Newt and the Palmate Newt and is the biggest and least common of the three.

Australasian Grebe

The Australasian Grebe (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) is a small water bird that is found throughout Australia and many Pacific Ocean islands and is now also resident in New Zealand where it was self introduced.

The Australasian Grebe is one of the smallest members of the grebe family: Podicipedidae.

Australasian Grebes are also known by other common names: Little Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Black-throated Dabchick, Black-throated Diver or White-bellied Diver.

The Australasian Grebe is found in a variety of wetland environments including freshwater ponds, freshwater lakes, farm dams, slow moving rivers and small waterways. It is a poor flyer and tends to stay on the water, hiding among plants and vegetation for safety.

Black Caiman

The Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger) has a distribution range including: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela.

The Black Caiman is found in various freshwater habitats such as slow-moving rivers, streams, lakes, flooded savannas and wetlands.

The Black Caimans eat fish, including piranha fish and catfish and other animals, including birds, turtles and land-dwelling animals like the capybara (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) and deer when they come to the water’s edge to drink.


The Osprey bird (Pandion haliaetus) is a medium-large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution. It occurs in all continents around the world except for Antarctica, but in South America only as a non-breeding migrant. The Osprey bird is often known by other colloquial names such as ‘fishhawk’, ‘seahawk’ or ‘Fish Eagle’.

The Osprey breeds by freshwater lakes and sometimes on coastal brackish waters, they usually mate for life.

West African Manatee


The West African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis) is a species of manatee and is the least studied of the four species of sirenians. Photos of African Manatees are very rare. Although very little is known about this species, scientists think they are similar to the West Indian Manatees.

West African Manatees inhabit coastal areas, estuarine lagoons, large rivers that range from brackish to freshwater, freshwater lakes and the extreme upper reaches of rivers above cataracts.

The West African Manatee is dependent on emergent or overhanging, rather than submerged, vegetation. Populations in some rivers depend heavily on overhanging bank growth and those in estuarine areas feed exclusively on mangroves.



Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular game fish. The term includes both freshwater and marine species, many of which are native to North America and surrounding waters. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes.

White Cheeked Pintail Duck

The White cheeked Pintail duck or Bahama Pintail duck (Anas bahamensis) is a dabbling duck of the Caribbean, South America and the Galápagos Islands. Dabbling ducks are typically birds of fresh, shallow marshes and rivers rather than of large lakes and bays. Dabbling ducks are good divers, but usually feed by dabbling or tipping rather than submerging.

Like many southern ducks, male and female are similar, but the female has a duller bill and face and shorter tail. Females are slightly smaller than the male.

The White cheeked Pintail duck occurs on waters with a degree of salinity, such as brackish lakes, estuaries and mangrove swamps. The White Cheeked Pintail feeds on aquatic plants and small creatures obtained by dabbling. The nest is on the ground under vegetation and near water.

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