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Black bear in flowers

Interesting Facts About 3 of the Most Popular Smoky Mountain Animals

The Great Smoky Mountains are known for picturesque nature scenery. It is not just pretty to look at, for the expansive nature serves a vital function as a home to many different kinds of wildlife. In fact, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to over 65 species of mammals, over 200 varieties of birds, and more than 67 native fish species. While there are obviously a lot we could talk of, here are some interesting facts about 3 of the most popular Smoky Mountain animals:

1. Black Bears

Black bears are one of the most popular Smoky Mountain animals. In fact, black bears have a population density of two bears per square mile in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Black bears can be 4 to 7 feet long. The males can weigh between 150 to 300 pounds, while the female bears (called sows) can weigh between 90 to 300 pounds. They are able to live in different areas of the park at different elevations because of their unique characteristics. First, black bears are great climbers because their claws can grow to be over 5 inches long! Additionally, they have great senses as their hearing abilities are twice as sensitive than those of humans. As for other senses, black bears can see at a distance of up to 100 yards! Black bears can be found all over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but they are the most populous in both Cades Cove and Newfound Gap Road.

2. Salamanders

salamander on rocksSalamanders are so popular in the Smoky Mountains that the area is called the “Salamander Capital of the World.” Overall, they are the second largest group of amphibians with other 500 species. Salamanders may be plentiful in number, but their small size can make them really hard to find. They are nocturnal creatures and hide under rocks and in trees to stay cool during the day. They will then come out to eat at night when it’s cooler. They tend to chow down on small creatures, including insects, worms, and spiders. The unique characteristics of salamanders include their tongues as they can be up to 10 times as long as their bodies. Other unique salamander characteristics include their ability to regenerate limbs after attacks from predators. It is also worth noting that salamanders don’t have vocal chords. Rather, they communicate by snapping their jaws. They can also communicate through touch and chemical signals. If you want to increase your chances of seeing these small creatures when you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hike to Grotto Falls. The cool climate makes the area an ideal habitat for salamanders!

3. Wild Turkeys

You may see (or hear) wild turkeys in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They feed on the ground, eating things like fruits and nuts. They also feed on leaves and insects as well. They may look like heavy birds, but they can fly up to 55 mph in short bursts. Wild turkeys spend most of their days on the ground but sleep in trees to protect themselves from predators. When you see a wild turkey, you can tell what mood they are in by the color of their heads. Blue and white colors mean they are calm, while red can represent more intense emotions. It is like a built-in mood ring! During your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll most likely see wild turkeys in low elevation areas such as open fields or on roads along the park.

We hope you enjoyed these facts about popular Smoky Mountain animals! We would love to provide you with a cozy place to rest after a fun day of wildlife viewing! Start planning your trip and reserve your stay in one of our Gatlinburg cabins!