States often choose symbols that are part of their heritage. In many cases, these symbols, such as state animals, have had a part in shaping the state's history. The state of Delaware has four animals that make up their state animals.
Blue Hen Chicken
The blue hen chicken is Delaware's state bird. This bird is somewhat legendary as Revolutionary War soldiers led by Capt. Jonathan Caldwell took their chickens with them to war. When they weren't fighting, they pitted these birds in cockfights. The soldiers soon took on the birds' fearsome reputation and thereby assured the blue hen a place in Delaware history. Since that time, the blue hen has appeared in publications and political campaigns.
Weakfish are Delaware's state fish. Weakfish are also called sea trout, yellow-finned trout, gray trout, tiderunner and squeteague. Chosen because of its contribution to food and game fishing, this fish is so named because its mouth will tear when a hook becomes embedded in it. Weakfish can be sizable at 19 pounds and can measure up to 36 inches long.
The horseshoe crab is Delaware's state marine animal. An ancient animal that predates dinosaurs, the horseshoe crab is recognized for its contributions to medicine. More horseshoe crabs live in Delaware Bay than anywhere else. Limulus amebocyte lysate comes from these animals, which is used to detect bacterial poisons in medicine and vaccines. Their eyesight is so similar to human' that they're used for studies. Their shells contain ingredients that go into some types of bandages. Sadly, these animals are on the verge of being endangered.
The gray fox is Delaware's state wildlife animal. The gray fox is the only fox known to climb trees. It can run up to 28 mph. An ancient species, the Delaware indigenous gray fox has been around for 10 million years.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images