deer in the smoky mountains

7 Animals in the Smoky Mountains You Might See on Your Trip

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a variety of wildlife. If you love animals, then you’ll definitely want to get out in the park and try to spot all of them! When you visit, there are some you’re more likely to spot over others. We want to share some of the top animals in the Smoky Mountains you will probably see when you explore. Here are 7 animals in the Smoky Mountains you might see on your trip:

1. Black Bears

black bear in the smoky mountains

Everyone wants to see a black bear or two when they visit the Smoky Mountains! Black bears are kind of like the mascot of the Smokies! These creatures are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants. They do hibernate in the winter, so you probably won’t see them in colder months. The places you are likely to see black bears out and about include Cades Cove and along hiking trails. Just remember, if you do see a black bear, stay at least 50 yards away from it for your safety and the safety of the bear.

2. White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer are all over the place in the Smokies. They are skittish around people, but if you are quiet, you could spot them. They love to eat in grassy areas, such as meadows, so you are likely to see them in Cades Cove or other areas with open grassy fields. You might even be able to see them in the woods, but they camouflage themselves pretty well!

3. Salamanders

salamander in the smoky mountainsOne of the animals in the Smoky Mountains you are likely to see include salamanders. The Smokies are actually considered the salamander capital of the world because there are so many species within the national park. There are about 30 species altogether and 26 of them are lungless. Instead of breathing through lungs, these salamanders exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen through their skin. You’ll find these creatures in damp, moist places, such as around waterfalls and creeks.

4. Squirrels

Other animals in the Smoky Mountains you will definitely see no matter what the time of day are squirrels. The most common ones you could see include gray and red squirrels. They are active all throughout the park, so you will see them along hikes, drives, around picnic areas, and many other places.

5. Birds

turkeys in the smoky mountainsThere are all kinds of bird species in the Smoky Mountains. Wild turkey eat in fields, finches fly through the trees, and you could even see owls if you’re out at the right time. About 200 species of birds live in this area. 120 bird species nest in the area, while about 85 species migrate from neotropics.

6. Coyotes

If you are in the park near nightfall or early in the morning, you are more likely to see and hear coyotes. They are nocturnal, which is why these times are when you are more likely to see them. Coyotes hunt and fish to get their food. Bonus fun fact: coyotes weren’t the only dog-like creature. There used to be red wolves in this area until they were hunted to local extinction.

7. Elk

elk in the smoky mountainsElk actually used to be in abundance in the Smokies. When settlers came to the area, they hunted them to non existence. However, elk have been reintroduced to the area, so you could see some. They tend to stay on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, but keep your eyes out while you’re in Tennessee too!

Best Places to Spot Animals in the Smoky Mountains

Now that you know more about the animals in the Smoky Mountains, we bet you can’t wait to spot them on your next trip! To help, we’ve created a guide to 5 of the best places to go to spot Smoky Mountain wildlife.