Not Native: 5 American Animals Actually from Elsewhere

shallow focus photo of pig

North America is known for its diverse wildlife, ranging from majestic bald eagles to grizzly bears and coyotes. However, many people are surprised to learn that some of the animals commonly associated with North America are not actually native to the continent. In fact, several of these animals were introduced to North America from other parts of the world and have since become established as invasive species. In this article, we will explore some of the most common non-native animals found in North America.

European Starling

The European Starling is a small, dark-colored bird with a distinctive yellow beak. Originally native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, the European Starling was introduced to North America in the late 1800s by a group of Shakespeare enthusiasts who wanted to establish all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays in North America. Since then, the European Starling has spread throughout North America and is now one of the most common birds on the continent.

House Sparrow

The House Sparrow is a small, brown bird with a distinctive black bib. Originally native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa, the House Sparrow was introduced to North America in the mid-1800s. The birds were brought over to help control insect pests, but they quickly became established and began competing with native bird species for food and habitat.


Nutria, also known as coypu, are large, semi-aquatic rodents that are native to South America. They were introduced to North America in the early 1900s for their fur, and were also used in some areas to control invasive aquatic plants. However, nutria are voracious eaters and can quickly strip a wetland of its vegetation, causing significant damage to the ecosystem.

Asian Carp

Asian Carp are a group of fish species that are native to Asia. They were brought to North America in the 1960s to help control algae growth in aquaculture ponds, but quickly escaped into nearby waterways. Asian Carp are now considered one of the most invasive species in North America, as they compete with native fish species for food and habitat.

Wild Boar

Wild boar, also known as feral pigs, are not native to North America. They were brought over from Europe in the 1500s by Spanish explorers and were later introduced in other areas for hunting purposes. Wild boar are now found throughout North America and can cause significant damage to crops and native plant species.

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