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20 Mar 2020
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Smoky Mountain National Park

In the Smoky Mountains, everyone goes off looking for bears. With a high population density in the Smoky Mountains, approximately two bears per square mile, it seems that running into one is almost inevitable. So, what about some harder to find types of wildlife?

Salamanders can be found if one chooses to look closely for them. The Smoky Mountains is home to 24 different species of lungless salamander, meaning that there’s a good chance you’ll come across one of them.

Now, when someone starts to talk about reptiles, it always comes up: “What about snakes?” Whether you love them or not, snakes are a part of the Smoky Mountains. However, only 2 of the 23 species that live in the Smoky Mountain are venomous. The rest, like Northern Water Snake that is often mistaken for a Cotton Mouth, are of little danger to people.

If scales aren’t your thing, then perhaps you might try looking for a Scarlet Tanager in the summer months. The Smoky Mountains is the southernmost part of where they live in the summer. The males are red and have black wings and black eyes and the females are yellow with similar markings, making them stick out in the green of the trees in the summer months.

Not all the critters of the smokies are easy to come across. Several endangered species are found in the park as well. The Water Shrew is an uncommon sight around the rivers and lakes in the area. This small shrew can be found swimming to the bottom of ponds for food and is one of the few aquatic mammals in the Smokies.

The fisher is known to be locally extinct, but after having been reintroduced to the area from West Virginia over 30 years ago, it is still possible that they might be coming back to the Smoky Mountains. Originally trapped for their fur, the native weasel of the Smokies is doing much better than many had anticipated.

All of these animals, or types of animals are good to search for in the Smoky Mountains and learn more about. Many of the animals here are nowhere else in the South. The terrain of the Smoky Mountain creates an area where the climate is similar to northern regions of the US and southern regions of Canada.