Located next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is homes to hundreds of different wild animals. The reaches of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park contain more than 1,500 black bears, 64 other species of mammals and more than 200 varieties of birds. There are many animals frequently spotted in the Pigeon Forge area – check out the blog below for information on the animals you may see while on your Pigeon Forge vacation!
- Black Bears
One of everyone’s favorite animals to see in the Smokies, Black Bears are common in the Park, particularly in the Cades Cove area. Wandering bears often turn up near cabins and people, investigating food smells and exploring. With two bears per square miles of the Park, it’s likely that you may encounter one while on your vacation! Remember to secure your food and trash before retiring to bed every night.
If you’re out exploring in the early morning or at dusk, chances are that you’ll run into a White-Tailed Deer! Their numbers have reached as great as 1,000 in the Park, and herds of 200 more are frequently spotted in Cades Cove. Come in late summer or early fall to catch the deer with their impressive antlers – fawns are usually born between May and July.
While these animals probably won’t appear at your doorstep, Elk were reintroduced to the Park in 2001 after being eliminated from the area by over-hunting. Coming within 50 yards of an Elk is illegal in the Park, so if you spot one, stay back and use binoculars to admire the animal. Males can weigh up to 700 pounds (more than a Black Bear) and can be aggressive, so enjoy these amazing animals from afar.
One of the most mischievous and possibly cutest animals in Pigeon Forge, raccoons are usually spotted at night. These nocturnal creatures explore areas around cabins, playing and looking for bits of food. These little animals use their hands to turn over rocks to search for their food of choice: insects and salamanders. They typically scamper up trees when encountering humans.
- Foxes and Coyotes
Both red and gray foxes are native to the area, while coyotes migrated here in the mid 1980’s. Both dog-like in appearance, these animals are typically non-aggressive and avoid humans. Gray foxes and coyotes, because of their natural fur color, can be hard to spot between the trees, however, red foxes are more noticeable.
There you have it – the five animals you’re most likely to see on your Pigeon Forge vacation! Other animals in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park include river otters, beavers, bobcats, skunks, woodchucks and flying squirrels. Remember to respect wildlife and avoid close encounters to ensure that everyone has a fun, happy and safe vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.