North Louisiana Wildlife

Follow Us through the Forests and Wetlands

Basic Info about the Refuge

The Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana is nearly 80,000 acres.

The Tensas River NWR in Louisiana is the largest national wildlife refuge in North Louisiana and has the largest variety of animals of any other place we’ve been. The refuge is home to over 400 species of animals, including black bears, alligators, cottonmouths, pileated, red-headed, hairy, downy, and red-bellied woodpeckers, red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks, barred owls, leopard frogs, bronze frogs, white-tailed kites, harriers, kestrels, armadillos, rabbits, turkeys, egrets, herons, bobcats, deer, skunks, ribbon snakes, towhees, anoles, vultures, warblers, flycatchers, skinks, coyotes, otters –I’d keep going, but you get the picture. This is the best place to visit if you’re looking for anything except osprey, swallows, or nutria

Our favorite things to do are all on the main road into the refuge. The visitor center, Wildlife Drive, and Rainey Lake are all accessible from Quebec Road. We suggest that you enter through that path if it’s your first time at the refuge. We also enjoy heading in on 577 and taking Sharkey Road the rest of the way in. There is a lot of good habitat for hawks, owls, doves, coyotes, bobcats, turkeys, deer, and wild pigs in that area. We’ve even seen a really young, maybe two-foot long, alligator in a ditch along the road before the Indian Lake area.

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Time the Refuge Opens in the Morning

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Size in Acres

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Entry Fee

By The Numbers

Learn more about the refuge.

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Days Open

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Species of Animals at the Refuge

American kestrel perched on a bare treeAmerican kestrel perched on a bare tree

American Kestrel

Greenlea Bend
Wild turkeyWild turkey looking away

Wild Turkey

Quebec Road Area
Southern leopard frog mostly submerged in a mud puddleNorth Louisiana Amphibians: Young leopard frog in the mud

Leopard Frog

Quebec Road Area
Black vultures perched on a platform with a turkey vulture

Black Vultures

Observation Tower
Great egret chicks in a nestGreat egret guarding its chicks in a nest

Great Egrets

Rainey Lake
Mature red-headed woodpecker clinging to the trunk of a dying and broken treeMature red-headed woodpecker foraging for insects on a large, broken, dying tree trunk

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Hollow Cypress Trail
Northern harrier flying through blue skyNorthern harrier flying through bare trees

Northern Harrier

Greenlea Bend
Young Louisiana black bear grazingYoung Louisiana black bear grazing on grass.

Louisiana Black Bear

Quebec Road Area
Male pileated woodpecker foraging on a tree trunkMale pileated woodpecker foraging on a tree trunk

Pileated Woodpecker

Rainey Lake Area
Raccoon looking out from a treeRaccoon climbing a thin tree

Common Raccoon

Rainey Lake Area
Golden silk spider on its web

Golden Silk Spider

Rainey Lake

Blue-Winged Teal Ducks

Observation Tower

Female Eastern Towhee

577 Spur Area
White-tailed deer doe standing in tall grassWhite-deer doe fleeing

White-Tailed Deer

Greenlea Bend
Nine-banded armadillo walking through the forestNine-banded armadillo foraging in dead leaves near its reflection in shallow swamp water

Armadillo

Rainey Lake

Five-Lined Skink

Cypress Hollow Trail

Buck Moth Caterpillar

Hollow Cypress Trail
Young cottonmouth on a palmetto frondYoung cottonmouth on a palmetto frond

Northern Cottonmouth

Hollow Cypress Trail

So many of our favorite animals live at the Tensas River NWR that it would be impossible to pick just one if the refuge weren’t home to the black bear. Tensas is the largest tract of black bear habitat in North Louisiana and one of the largest tracts in the Louisana period.

While bears live throughout North Louisiana, this is by far the place we see them most frequently.

More about How You Can Enjoy the Refuge

Visit Other Areas

The Tensas River NWR is one of many places you can enjoy our local wildlife. 

Explore North Louisiana's Outdoors.

Learn about national wildlife refuges, Kisatchie National Forest ranger districts, state wildlife management areas, and state parks found throughout North Louisiana.

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