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Top 8 Animals in the Smoky Mountains and Where to Find Them

April 23, 2020 September 10th, 2020
white tailed deer

One of the best parts of visiting the Smoky Mountains is seeing all the wildlife in its natural habitat! This area is known for its abundance of black bears, but do you know about any of the other animals in the Smoky Mountains? We want to tell you about the top creatures you might see and the best places to go to possibly see them. Here are the top 8 animals in the Smoky Mountains and where to find them:

1. Black Bears

black bear in the smoky mountainsThe most popular animal people want to see is a black bear. There are about 1,500 black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This area is where the most dense population of black bears live. The best places to go to possibly see black bears include Cades Cove, Roaring Fork Motor Trail, and along hiking trails.

2. White Tailed Deer

Another popular animal you might see in the mountains are white tailed deer. They are most active at night, so you’ll want to look for them early in the morning or right as the sun is setting. Their coloring makes them hard to see in the woods, but they usually adventure out into open fields to find food. You’re most likely to find them in Cades Cove or other areas with meadows.

3. Salamanders

salamanders in the smoky mountainsDid you know the Smokies are known as the salamander capital of the world? This area has the most species of salamanders compared to everywhere else in the world. There are about 30 different species in the national park. Salamanders love to be in a damp, cool area. Look near creeks and waterfalls where rocks are to see if you can see any of these creatures! Just a reminder: when looking for creatures where there are rocks, please do not pick up or move the rocks. This preserves the animals’ natural habitats!

4. Birds

There are over 200 varieties of birds in the Great Smoky Mountains. Wild turkey look for food in fields while warblers and other small birds fly all over the place. If you’re out at the right time, you might even be able to see a saw-whet owl. If you’re near bodies of water, keep an eye out for herons. You might even be able to spot an eagle!

5. Snakes

northern water snake smoky mountainsMost people hope they don’t see a snake when they’re out on the trail, but you just might! There are 23 different species of snakes living in the park. There are only 2 species in the area that are venomous: Northern Copperhead and Timber Rattlesnake. According to the National Park Service, the likelihood of being bitten is extremely low. Just be careful if you spot a snake!

6. Squirrels

No matter where you are in the national park, you will probably see squirrels. They are all over the place, climbing on trees and possibly looking for food in picnic areas. The most common squirrels you could see are gray squirrels, northern flying squirrels, and red flying squirrels.

7. Coyotes

coyote in the smoky mountainsCoyotes are pretty common animals in the Smoky Mountains. You’re likely to see them early in the morning or late in the evening because they are nocturnal. You probably can hear them howling during these times too. They like to hunt and fish, so you might spot them near water or in areas like Cades Cove where other animals are out and about.

8. Turtles

There are 8 different species of turtles in the Smokies. Most turtles live in or near the water, so be sure to keep an eye out near creeks, rivers, and waterfalls. They like to sunbathe on rocks. You might also spot them in wooded areas along hikes!

These are just the top animals in the Smoky Mountains you might see. If you want to do something fun where you might see animals along the way, you should come rafting with us! Look through our Smoky Mountain whitewater rafting trips and start planning today!