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Flora & Fauna

Plants and animals of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm

Discover nature on your visit to the Wells Reserve. Vernal pools and spring peepers, black cherries and yellow warblers, milkweed and monarchs, leaf litter and garter snakes... every day reveals something new.


Over the years, volunteers, visitors, and scientists have compiled lists of plant species encountered at the reserve. These are not currently in a form that can be easily shared. While we work on improving access, you may search the site for specific plants of interest or read blog posts tagged 'flora'.


About two dozen tree species can be studied from the trails of the Wells Reserve. Some of the most recognized are featured in our "Trees to Know" brochure.


At least 30 mammal species are found at the Wells Reserve, but many are secretive or active mainly at night.

Marine waters, including Wells Harbor, hold harbor seals. Humpback and minke whales have been seen off Laudholm Beach.

Rivers and salt marshes support muskrat, mink, and river otter.

Forest species have been well inventoried and include white-footed mouse, pine vole, boreal red-backed vole, woodland jumping mouse, masked shrew, short-tailed shrew, least shrew, gray squirrel, red squirrel, eastern chipmunk, and southern flying squirrel.

These small mammals provide prey for red fox and coyote, both of which are fairly common. Other predatory mammals include short-tailed weasel, long-tailed weasel, fisher, striped skunk, and raccoon. Bobcat, mink, and gray fox may be occasional visitors.

White-tailed deer are fairly common in all habitats, while moose and black bear are infrequent transients.

Bats have not been formally surveyed at the reserve, but nine species can be found in southwestern Maine, including little brown myotis, long-eared myotis, big brown, eastern pipistrelle, and red bat.

Additional land mammals found at the reserve include woodchuck, porcupine, meadow vole, and New England cottontail, the last of which receives special management attention.

These are the most likely species to be encountered while walking the trails:

  • white-tailed deer
  • eastern chipmunk
  • red squirrel
  • eastern gray squirrel
  • porcupine
  • red fox
  • harbor seal 

Species of Special Concern

New England Cottontail


A few hours searching the fields, woodlands, salt marsh, sand beach, and nearshore waters of the reserve can be very fruitful.

Since the 1980s, more than 285 bird species have been reported at the Wells Reserve. The reserve's beaches and salt marshes are included in the Wells Important Bird Area, a bird-banding program has been running since 1988, and the staff collaborates with York County Audubon on several activities.

We encourage reports to eBird.

Species of Special Concern

Piping Plover, Least Tern, Nelson's Sparrow


Wells Reserve scientists have documented nearly 60 fish species in the Webhannet and Little river estuaries.

Wells Reserve scientists have studied fish in southern Maine estuaries since the 1980s. In the waters of the Little, Webhannet, and Ogunquit river estuaries, the most commonly encountered species have been:

  • American Eel
  • Alewife
  • Common Mummichog
  • Atlantic Silverside
  • Sticklebacks (fourspine, threespine, and ninespine)

We published Coastal Fish of Southern Maine and New Hampshire to help people get to know what swims along our shores.

Download our fish checklist


The varied habitats and plant diversity of the reserve provide resources for dozens of butterfly species.

In 2007, the reserve joined the Maine Butterfly Survey, an 8-year study of the state's butterflies. The focused effort supplied well over 100 records representing more than 30 butterfly species. Continued effort by an informal network of butterfly watchers has confirmed additional species. Among the most common are:

  • black swallowtail
  • cabbage white
  • clouded sulphur
  • orange sulphur
  • American copper
  • American lady
  • azure/blue
  • wood nymph
  • monarch

Learn about the butterflies at Wells Reserve