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21 Animals That Call The Great Smoky Mountains Home

21 Animals that call the great smoky mountains home.

The Great Smokey Mountains, situated between North Carolina and Tennessee, boast of its natural beauty and awesome biodiversity. Let’s dive in and find out which animals call the Great Smoky Mountains home.

American Black Bear

Black Bear ambling in a forest. Image by JT Ray on Unsplash

Perhaps the most iconic resident of the park, black bears are a common sight, thriving in the forested regions.


Elk. Image via depositphotos.

Reintroduced to the park in 2001, elk can now be spotted in the Cataloochee Valley area.

Whitetailed Deer

White-tailed deer. Image via depositphotos.

Common throughout the park, they are often seen in open areas and along the roadsides.

Wild Turkey

a pair of wild turkeys on the edge of the forest. Image via depositphotos.

Easily spotted due to their size, wild turkeys are a success story of wildlife management and conservation in the park.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

Gray Squirrel. Image via wikimdeia commons.

A ubiquitous sight, these squirrels are found in both forested areas and near human habitation within the park.

Pileated Woodpecker

pileated woodpecker bird at Vancouver BC Canada. Image via depositphotos.

One of the largest woodpecker species, known for their distinctive call and striking appearance.

Red Fox

Red fox
Eastern American Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes ssp. fulvus) observed in Algonquin Provincial Park. Image by Joanne Redwood – This file was derived from: Vulpes vulpes ssp fulvus 26568101.jpg, CC0,, via Wikimedia Commons

These adaptable foxes are present throughout the park but are more often seen at higher elevations.

River Otter

River otter. Image via depositphotos.

Once nearly extirpated, successful reintroduction efforts in the 1990s have allowed river otters to thrive in the park’s waterways.


Bobcat in a forest. Image Miller_Eszter via Pixabay

Elusive and primarily nocturnal, bobcats inhabit the more remote areas of the park.


Raccoon hiding behind leaves. Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Unsplash

Common across North America, raccoons are also a frequent sight in the park, especially near campsites.


Red salamander (Pseudotriton ruber)
Red salamander (Pseudotriton ruber) Image by REPTILES4ALL via Depositphotos

The park is known as the “Salamander Capital of the World” with 30 species, including the Eastern Hellbender.

Eastern ScreechOwl

A closeup shot of an Eastern Screech Owl on a cloudy day outdoors. Image via depositphotos.

Identified by their trilling calls at night, these small owls are residents of the park’s forests.

Bald Eagle

bald eagle national animal of the U.S.
Image by Stephen Meyers via Pexels

America’s national bird, occasionally seen soaring above the park’s waterways and valleys.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon overing above its prey. Image by Erik van Dijk on Unsplash.

Known for their incredible speed, these birds of prey were reintroduced to the park in the 1980s.

Barred Owl

barred owl
A barred owl sitting on a branch. Image by Collins93 via

Recognizable by their distinctive “Who cooks for you?” call, they are common in the park’s wooded areas.


Coyote Howling in the American Southwest. Image via Depositphotos

Once absent, coyotes have established themselves in the park over the last few decades.

Eastern Chipmunk

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus) standing on a mossy log with its cheep pouches full of food – Lambton Shores, Ontario, Canada Image via Depositphotos

A small, striped rodent often seen scurrying on the forest floor.

Great Blue Heron

great blue heron
A great blue heron takes flight. Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Unsplash

Frequently observed in the park’s rivers and streams, especially where fish are abundant.

Redtailed Hawk

Flying bird of prey above the field meadow, Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis, landing in the forest. Wildlife scene from nature. Image via Deposit Photos

A common bird of prey, often seen circling above open fields and forest clearings.

Garter Snake

Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern Garter Snake. Image via Depositphotos

Nonvenomous and harmless to humans, these snakes are common throughout the park.

Bat species

world's largest bat colony
world’s largest bat colony. Image via depositphotos.

Several species, including the Little Brown Bat, play crucial roles in controlling insect populations within the park.


The great smoky mountains. Image via depositphotos.

These animals highlight the diverse wildlife that can be found in the great smokies. I hope you enjoyed reading about the animals that call the great Smoky Mountains home. To read more like this, check out the articles below:

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