Wildlife of North Carolina

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Deer feeding at Roadside; doe with fawns

This article seeks to serve as a field-guide, central repository, and listing for the flora and fauna of North Carolina and surrounding territories.

State ecology

The North Mills River in North Carolina

North Carolina's geography is usually divided into three biomes: Coastal, Piedmont, and the Appalachian Mountains.

North Carolina is the most ecologically unique state in the southeast because its borders contain sub-tropical, temperate, and boreal habitats. Although the state is at temperate latitudes, the Appalachian mountains and the Gulf Stream influence climate and, hence, the vegetation (flora) and animals (fauna).

Coastal Region

Located in eastern North Carolina, the coastal region is much warmer and more humid.


This region includes the [urban area] and urban biomes of Raleigh and Durham, as well as a large area of semi-mountainous, rolling hills.

  • Climate: Humid Subtropical
  • Geography: Rolling, gentle hills and flat valleys. The Piedmont ranges from about 300–400 feet (90–120 m) elevation in the east to over 1,000 feet (300 m) in the west


Turk's cap lily in mountainous western North Carolina

Animal life


Mammals in North Carolina (not comprehensive):

Endangered, non-marine mammals in North Carolina:

In the mountains, there are small populations of bobcats and bears as well as re-introduced elk. Beaver, whose pelt trade was an important part of the North Carolina economy well into the 1800s, were hunted to extinction in 1897. Re-introductions began in 1939 and now beaver have returned to the entire state.[1]


Cardinalis cardinalis northern cardinal

List of birds of North Carolina


Alligator mississippiensis American alligator
Cemophora coccinea Northern scarlet snake
Anolis carolinensis Carolina anole


Snakes without dangerous venom:

Snakes with venom dangerous to humans:

Lizards: North Carolina is home to 11 native species of lizard, and one introduced species.



Frogs are common in the marshy and wet regions of the Piedmont. The frog pictured at left is a Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysocelis) or gray treefrog (H. versicolor). These two species cannot be differentiated except by their call or genetic analysis. However, H. versicolor is rare in the state and likely to not be pictured here. They are most abundant in some northern Piedmont counties. Other frogs of North Carolina include spring peepers, Pseudacris crucifer or Hyla crucifer. Common among Carolina forests, this frog lives in high branches of trees, although it is also seen on the ground and commonly on roadways.

Some common amphibians in North Carolina: two-toed amphiuma, common mudpuppy, dwarf waterdog, eastern lesser siren, greater siren, red-spotted newt, Mabee's salamander, spotted salamander, marbled salamander (state salamander), mole salamander, eastern tiger salamander, southern dusky salamander, dwarf salamander, four-toed salamander, Wehrle's salamander, eastern spadefoot, southern toad, Pine Barrens treefrog (state frog), Cope's gray treefrog, green treefrog, squirrel treefrog, gray treefrog, little grass frog, ornate chorus frog, upland chorus frog, American bullfrog, bronze frog, pickerel frog, southern leopard frog, wood frog[2]


Freshwater: bodie bass, Roanoke bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, white bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, flathead catfish, white catfish, brown bullhead, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, redfin pickerel, American shad, hickory shad, pumpkinseed, redear, bluegill, flier, green sunfish, redbrest, warmouth, brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, garfish, bowfin, carp, crappie, freshwater drum, grass carp, kokanee salmon, muskellunge, tiger muskellunge, northern pike, sauger, eastern mosquitofish, smallmouth buffalo, walleye,[3] the endemic Cape Fear shiner.[4]

Saltwater: albacore, amberjack, Atlantic bonito, bank sea bass, barracuda, bigeye tuna, blackfin tuna, black drum, black sea bass, blacktip shark, bluefish, bluefin tuna, blue marlin, blueline tilefish, butterfish, cobia, croaker, dolphin, flounder, gag, gray triggerfish, gray trout, hammerhead, hickory shad, hogchoker, hogfish, humping mullet, king mackerel, knobbed porgy, lizardfish, little tunny, mako shark, menhaden, northern puffer, oyster toadfish, pigfish, pinfish, pompano, red drum, red grouper, red snapper, sailfish, scamp, sea mullet, searobin, sheepshead, silver perch, silver snapper, skate, skipjack tuna, spadefish, Spanish mackerel, speckled hind, spottail pinfish, spot, speckled trout, stingray, striped bass, swordfish, tarpon, tiger shark, vermillion snapper, wahoo, white marlin, white grunt, yellowfin tuna, yellowedge grouper, yellowtail snapper[5]


Various insects, jellyfish, millipedes, centipedes, freshwater crayfish, and freshwater mollusks.[6]

Plant life

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

External links

General interest:


Reptiles and amphibians:



  1. Beaver Management in North Carolina (Report). North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Retrieved 2011-04-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. [1] Archived February 2, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. http://www.ncwildlife.org/pg03_Fishing/pg3c2.htm
  4. "AAFT". All-about-fish-teacher.blogspot.com. 2012-06-04. Retrieved 2013-04-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "NCDMF Oyster Sanctuaries". Ncfisheries.net. Retrieved 2013-04-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. [2]