8 Animals That Call The Great Smoky Mountains Home

American Black Bear:

A symbol of the park, these bears are commonly spotted in the forested regions, adding to the allure of the natural landscape.


Reintroduced to the park in 2001, elk sightings are now possible in the Cataloochee Valley area, offering visitors a glimpse into the park's diverse wildlife population.

White-tailed Deer:

These deer are a familiar sight throughout the park, often seen grazing in open areas or along roadsides, contributing to the park's rich biodiversity.

Wild Turkey:

Thanks to successful wildlife management efforts, wild turkeys can be easily spotted within the park, showcasing the effectiveness of conservation initiatives.

Eastern Gray Squirrel:

Ubiquitous in both forested areas and near human settlements within the park, these squirrels add charm to the natural environment with their presence.

Pileated Woodpecker:

Known for their distinctive call and striking appearance, these woodpeckers are among the largest species, enriching the park's avian diversity.

Red Fox:

Adaptable and widespread throughout the park, red fox sightings are more common at higher elevations, offering visitors a glimpse into the park's diverse ecosystem.

River Otter:

Once on the brink of extinction, successful reintroduction efforts in the 1990s have allowed river otters to thrive in the park's waterways, serving as a conservation success story.