Animals in North Carolina

North Carolina, the southeastern US state, has a diverse geography divided into three main biomes — the coastal region on the east, Piedmont extending across the state’s central region, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachian Mountain range in the west.

The coastal region is inhabited by all the semiaquatic and aquatic animals like alligators, river otters, beavers, whales, fishes, and birds. The Piedmont region is home to white-tailed deer, lizards, turtles, and many birds. Mountain animals like black bears, bobcats, elks, and small mammals inhabit the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, and the Nantahala National Forest are noteworthy places to watch for wildlife.

Animals in North Carolina (NC)

List of Different Types of Animals Found in North Carolina

Mammals

  • White-tailed Deer
  • American Black Bear
  • Bobcat
  • Red Wolf
  • Gray Fox
  • Red Fox
  • Raccoon
  • Striped Skunk
  • Virginia Opossum
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • North American Beaver
  • Eastern Chipmunk
  • Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
  • Appalachian Cottontail
  • Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • Southern Flying Squirrel
  • Eastern Mole
  • Star-nosed Mole
  • Eastern Woodrat
  • Eastern Harvest Mouse
  • Woodland Jumping Mouse
  • Eastern Shrew
  • Short-tailed Shrew
  • American Red Squirrel
  • Least Weasel
  • Long-tailed Weasel
  • American Mink
  • North American Porcupine
  • North American River Otter
  • Eastern Pipistrelle Bat
  • Big Brown Bat
  • Eastern Small-footed Bat
  • Little Brown Bat

Red wolves and the state animal, North American beavers, have been reintroduced to the state with established populations. Other animals, like fishers, cougars, bison, and snowshoe hares, have been extirpated.

One noteworthy animal introduced to the state is the Rocky Mountain elk.

Birds

  • Northern Cardinal
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Carolina Wren
  • American Crow
  • Brown Pelican
  • American White Ibis
  • Northern Harrier
  • Broad-winged Hawk
  • Least Tern
  • Piping Plover

Reptiles

Amphibians

Fishes

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Blue Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Flathead Catfish
  • White Perch
  • Yellow Perch
  • Chain Pickerel
  • American Shad
  • Hickory Shad
  • Red Drum 
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Bluegill
  • Green Sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • Southern Appalachian Brook Trout
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Speckled Trout
  • Amberjack
  • Atlantic Tarpon
  • Blue Marlin
  • Gray Triggerfish
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • King Mackerel
  • Red Grouper
  • Red Snapper
  • Blacktip Shark
  • Bull Shark
  • Hammerhead Shark
  • Giant Manta Ray

Insects and Invertebrates

  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
  • Carolina Mantis
  • European Honey Bee
  • American Bumblebee
  • Eastern Carpenter Bee
  • Red Paper Wasp
  • Eastern Cicada Killer
  • Red Velvet Ant
  • Eastern Pondhawk
  • Northern Black Widow
  • Southern Black Widow
  • False Black Widow
  • Cellar Spiders
State Animals of North Carolina

State Animals of North Carolina

State MammalEastern Gray Squirrel
State MarsupialVirginia Opossum
State BirdNorthern Cardinal
State Freshwater TroutSouthern Appalachian Brook Trout
State Saltwater FishChannel Bass (Red Drum)
State ReptileEastern Box Turtle
State FrogPine Barrens Tree Frog
State SalamanderMarbled Salamander
State InsectWestern Honey Bee
State ButterflyEastern Tiger Swallowtail
State ShellScotch Bonnet
State DogPlott Hound
State HorseColonial Spanish Mustang

FAQ

What are the most dangerous animals in North Carolina?

North Carolina is home to several large predators, including the black bear, American alligator, and red wolf. There are also several deadly poisonous snakes and spiders, including copperheads, cottonmouths, eastern diamondbacks, Carolina pygmy, timber rattlesnakes, and black widows.

Are there any endangered animals in North Carolina?

Over 100 threatened or endangered animals in North Carolina are protected by state laws. These include the leatherback and green sea turtles, North Atlantic right whale, northern flying squirrel, gray bat, and giant manta ray. Since their populations are under threat, these animals are pretty rare to see.

What are some common invasive animals in North Carolina?

Some native animals in this state include the red imported fire ant, emerald ash borer, zebra mussels, wild boar, and nutria.

What nocturnal animals are you likely to encounter in North Carolina?

Some animals you will likely encounter at night are bats, owls, raccoons, skunks, bobcats, wolves, badgers, opossums, and foxes.

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