5 Animals You May or May Not Want to See in the Smokies

There are some amazing animal sightings in the Smokies, but some of our wildlife are a little….wild. Take a look at these animals that you may want to see but yet not necessarily run into while vacationing at our cabins in Pigeon Forge.

  1. Bears in the Smoky Mountains – Bears are cute and cuddly from a distance, but residents of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg warn visitors that they shouldn’t get too close to our wild black bears. Over the years bears in the Smoky Mountains have become less and less scared of people. They are more willing to get closer to humans, paved streets, and downtown businesses than ever before. In order to avoid getting eaten it’s good to refrain from feeding the bears (or they’ll associate food with your hand!) It’s also wise not to get too close. Bears can be aggressive and territorial. See a cub? Don’t get friendly with it! Usually where there’s a cub there’s a mama bear close by.
  2. Bobcats in the Smoky Mountains- Bobcats aren’t nearly as large or dangerous as bears. They’re nocturnal and territorial so it’s less likely that you’ll see them in the day. They can reach up to 3 feet in length and are about twice the size of a domestic cat but don’t be fooled, they can kill deer and dogs.
  3. Snakes in the Smoky Mountains- There are many types of snakes in the Smokies but two species that make their home in the Smokies are poisonous. Rattlesnakes and Copperheads both live in the Smoky Mountains. It’s wise to be cautious of where you step when in grassy and woodsy areas. There aren’t any reports of death due to a bite in the Smokies but visitors should still be aware.
  4. Elk in the Smoky Mountains-  Elk were reintroduced into the Smoky Mountains as an experiment to see if they would flourish. Because of this, it is illegal toget within 50 yards of any elk. Males can weigh up to 700 pounds and can have antlers with up a five foot width. Elk can become aggressive if they feel challenged and may even lunge in defense. If you see a baby, don’t get close. Their defense is to play dead and usually if there’s a baby then mama is close by.
  5. Raccoons and skunks in the Smoky Mountains- While small in size these two animals can be frustrating to visitors of the Smokies. Raccoons tend to pillage through food and skunks can spray you with a putrid odor not easily removed. Both carry rabies which is a deadly disease.

You may also want to read about tips on dealing with bears in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

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