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The name Michigan comes from the Algonquian Chippewa Indian word "meicigama," which means great water and refers to the Great Lakes. Michigan has an official state animal, fish, reptile and bird. While you may assume a state chooses its official symbols from statehood, Michigan's state mammal was not chosen until the late 1990s.
Michigan’s state animal is the white-tailed deer. The white-tailed deer became the state animal after a group of fourth-graders campaigned to include it as an official state symbol in 1997. This animal provided for settlers and Native Americans throughout the history of Michigan.
The state bird is the oldest official animal symbol in the state of Michigan. The robin was designated the official state bird in 1931. Early settlers named the robin after the robin red-breast in Europe. The robin is also the state bird of Connecticut and neighboring Wisconsin.
The state reptile, the painted turtle, became the official symbol in 1995. Out of nine or ten native species within the state, the painted turtle is the most common.
The brook trout became the official fish of Michigan in 1988. These fish have a long body with a large mouth extending past their eye. Colors include olive, blue-gray, and black and silver. They live throughout the state in various creeks, streams, rivers, lakes and the Great Lakes.
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