Wildlife Safety is a Serious Thing. Make Sure You Adhere to Park Rules When You VisitSeeing the beautiful and majestic wildlife in the Smokies is something that everyone should enjoy at some point and there’s a reason it is on most visitors’ list of things to do in the Smokies. The national park offers easy access to a variety of birds and animals, even for those with limited mobility. Whether you are an avid hiker or just want to update your Instagram, make your base camp at one of our luxurious yet affordable cabins and follow these tips to make the most of your time in the Smoky Mountains.
Things to Do in the Smokies: Start with Respecting the Animals
With all the pictures of elegant white-tailed deer and plush black bears, it might be tempting to think that wildlife in the Smokies are safe to approach, but the reality is quite different. Although some animals have grown used to humans, they are all very much still wild. It is important to enjoy them from a distance for their sake and yours.
Approaching an animal is against the rules, partly because it changes animals’ behavior. They might run away out of fright or react suddenly in a way that causes harm to them or you. It also puts humans at risk, as large mammals can do serious damage when searching for human food they smell.
Enjoy the Peace and Quiet and the Animals Will Too
For similar reasons, it is important to keep your volume low. Shouting, calling, or playing loud music can frighten animals and cause them to change their grazing or movement. Even speaking loudly and calling up and down a trail can disrupt mammals, while also scaring away all the birds.
It is also vital to take all of your food and waste out of the park with you. Animals have much stronger senses of smell and can easily become attracted to human food, which is easier for them to find than their natural diet.
Not only can human food make wildlife in the Smokies ill, but they can become dependent on it and search out park visitors for more. This is why larger animals like black bears sometimes surprise visitors in campsites or picnic areas. Plan ahead and bring recyclable containers to take out any food waste, empty food packets, or other garbage.
Enjoying Animals, One of the Best Things to Do in the Smokies
It may seem like there are a lot of things to remember when you are in the Smoky Mountains, but your visit will be all the better for respecting the wildlife. The great news about the park is that almost all visitors get to see a variety of birds and animals on their trips, with the area rich in natural life.
Plan a trip around Cades Cove in the morning or evening and you will likely be rewarded with plenty of wildlife, particularly if you choose one of the days limited only to bicyclists. Alternatively, choose one of the longer trails in the park and enjoy the chirping of birds, rustling of small forest creatures and, perhaps, a sighting of something larger.