3 Popular Animals Who Call the Great Smoky Mountains Home

The stunning and timeless beauty of the Smokies has an important role. That is, providing a home for all the wildlife. You may have an opportunity to see some, whether you’re going for a hike or driving along Cades Cove Loop Road. Learn more about some of the residents when you explore this list of 3 popular animals who call the Great Smoky Mountains home:

1. Bear Bears

With a population density of 2 bears per square mile, black bears are the most popular animal in the Great Smoky Mountains. Visitors can find them wandering around the fields of Cades Cove or up in higher elevation areas. Black bears’ unique characteristics allow them to live in all types of environments. For example, their claws allow them to climb trees and they can swim to catch fish for food. They can also run fast at speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour. You are more likely to spot black bears if you visit the Smokies during the spring, summer, or fall. During the colder months, they choose a denning site and enter long periods of sleep. If you do see one though, maintain a distance of 150 feet or more away from them.

2. Salamanders

salamander in the smoky mountainsSalamanders may be a great deal smaller than black bears, but they have a population in the Smokies that is mighty in number. In fact, there are over 30 species of salamanders that live here. This is why the area is deemed the “Salamander Capital of the World.” Salamanders in the Great Smoky Mountains come in a variety of sizes, from 2 inches to 3 feet. They also have many unique characteristics. For example, they can regenerate limbs and organs and breathe through their skin. A lot of salamanders live at Grotto Falls due to the water and cool climate. They are nocturnal creatures, so you are most likely to find them snoozing under rocks during your visit. If you do, try to leave the area exactly as you found it!

3. White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer are another one of the popular animals in the Great Smoky Mountains. A lot of them live on the Tennessee side of the Smokies. They have unique abilities that keep them away from predators, some of which include bears and coyotes. White-tailed deer can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and jump to heights of 10 feet. That’s as tall as a basketball hoop! They are also very good swimmers, as they can swim at speeds of up to 13 miles per hour. Although they have a great sense of vision and hearing, they rely on their sense of smell to know when predators are nearby. When you visit the Smokies, you will most likely see white-tailed deer in open field areas, such as Cades Cove. They wander around and graze on grasses, fruits, and nuts.

We hope you enjoyed learning about some popular animals in the Great Smoky Mountains! Want to know more about the area? Check out our list of 7 interesting facts about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!