A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.

State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, their geological makeup, their past and present successes, and the ecosystem and habitats that make up the state. Like all other states, there are many Illinois state symbols.

What is the Illinois State Animal?

The state animal for Illinois is the White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The beautiful white-tailed deer was adopted by Illinois as the state animal for Illinois in 1980 after it won the vote from the schoolchildren of Illinois. There are currently an estimated 30 million white-tailed deer residing in the wild!

The white-tailed deer is certainly a popular choice for state animals, with Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin all using the same animal to represent their state.

Illinois state animal

Illinois White Tail Deer Facts

This truly stunning animal possesses sheer beauty and deceiving power in abundance, running up to 40 miles per hour, jumping 9-foot fences, and swimming over 13 miles per hour! Their white tails wave around when they run, creating a distraction and also signifying danger from predators. When they stamp their hooves it is to alert other deer of a threat.

  • Baby white-tail deer (Fawns) eat exclusively mother’s milk for two weeks after birth, and they are herbivores, so once weaned they will eat primarily leaves, twigs, and other greens.
  • The majority of white-tailed deer will live anywhere between 2 to 3 years, with their maximum lifespan in the wild being 20 years, however, most will not surpass the 10-year mark due to an abundance of different factors.
  • Did you know that white-tailed deer are the most popular large game animal in the United States!
  • It is only the male deer that grow these impressive antlers, and they shed them each year, growing new ones shortly after.
  • Baby deers are called fawns, and the adults are called bucks. There is even a specific name gifted to female deer, which is a doe.

Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Prairie State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state animal. This interesting fact about Illinois and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events of the state.