8 Animals That Live in Lakes

Some animals thrive in the salty water of the world’s oceans, other animals live in the freshwater of the world’s most amazing lakes.

Many of the ocean creatures that live in extreme depths have adapted to their environment in fascinating ways. The same can be applied to animals that live in the sheltered world of a lake.

Not all animals in this list live inside the lake’s water but see the lake and its surrounding as their natural habitat.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most intriguing animals that live in lakes.

1. Axolotl

The Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is without a doubt one of the most fascinating of all the animals that live in lakes. These are salamanders that are related to the tiger salamander but have a unique distinction as they never leave the water. That’s because they mature without undergoing metamorphosis.

Unlike their distant relatives that develop features that allow them to wander out of the after, they retain their gills and stay aquatic for the rest of their lives. They are native to a very specific region called the Valley of Mexico and can only be found in two lakes called Lake Xochimilco and Lake Chalco.

Animals that live in Lakes Axolotl
The amazing axolotl / Wiki Commons

2. Flamingos

Flamingo is the common name to describe the 6 different species of wading birds in the genus Phoenicopterus. 4 species are native to the Americas and 2 species are native to areas in Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The distinctively beautiful birds love to roam around in shallow lakes to find food. Their bills are shaped in such a way that they can filter out brine shrimp and blue-green algae. Some colonies of flamingos consist of thousand of birds scooping up things to eat inside lakes in various places in the world.

Flamingos living in lakes

3. Ducks

Duck is the common name of a large number of species of waterfowl that live in and around lakes and ponds. They are members of the family Anatidae to which also geese and swans belong. They are distinctively shorter than their larger family members.

Some ducks are very colorful and beautiful, including, for example, the male Mandarin duck. These birds can be found on every continent of the planet except Antarctica, so they are some of the best-recognized animals in the world. Some ducks are migratory and move further south during the cold winter months. After all, the lakes they call home often freeze over during this period.

Mandarin ducks in a lake

4. Frogs

Frogs are relatively small amphibians that are easily recognizable in large parts of the world. They have distinctive eyes that stick out of the top of their heads and they can produce sound due to the presence of vocal cords in males. Some species even have vocal sacs that allow them to turn up the volume.

These animals can also be found everywhere in the world except for Antarctica and are also absent on islands that are far away from continental landmasses. These creatures reproduce by laying eggs inside the water, so they need the water of lakes or ponds.

Frog in the water

5. Beavers

Beavers are rodents that are found exclusively in the temperate Northern Hemisphere. There are two species in the genus Castor, the North American beaver (Castor canadensis) and the Eurasian beaver (C. fiber). These names are references to what part of the world they live in.

These are very important animals because they build dams and lodges using all sorts of materials. They even chew down trees to construct one of their famous dams. These dams create wetlands that are vital to a large number of other species. Apart from being animals that live in lakes, they can also be found in rivers, ponds, and small streams.

Beaver swimming in the water

6. Painted turtles

The Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) is the most common species of turtle in North America. They are common in the area in and around the 5 Greta Lakes of North America, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. In the southern part of the United States, they can be found in Lyman Lake in Arizona.

The preferred habitat of these animals is slow-moving waters. This means that when it comes to lakes, they prefer to spend their time near the shores. That’s also why they are more common in smaller lakes than the huge lakes. They will never wander off to the deep waters in the central parts of these bigger lakes.

Painted turtles in a lake
Painted turtles in a lake / Greg Schechter / Wiki Commons

7. Salmon

The salmon is a remarkable creature because they can live in both the world’s oceans as well as the most famous lakes on the planet. They are members of the extensive family Salmonidae to which also trouts, chars, graylings, and whitefish belong.

They move from freshwater lakes to the ocean after laying their eggs and return to the freshwater lake to reproduce. This remarkable feature of moving from one body of water to another means these fish are “anadromous.” Several species that live in lakes are confined to it, though, and never manage to make the so-called “salmon run.”

Salmon in a lake
Salmon swimming in a lake / Wiki Commons

8. Lake trout

The lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) is another member of the family Salmonidae. This type of freshwater char is native to the lakes in North America, especially those in Canada and Alaska and some in the northeastern part of the United States.

Their native habitat has been extended significantly as they were introduced to multiple lakes in North America, Europe, and even Asia. In many lakes, these huge fish are considered to be invasive species. They are popular game fish and the largest individual caught on a rod and reel was hauled from Great Bear Lake in 1995 and weighed an incredible 33 kilos (72 pounds).

Lake Trout swimming