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Wildlife of North Carolina facts for kids

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NC Deer
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.

Animal life


Mammals in North Carolina (not comprehensive):

Endangered, non-marine mammals in North Carolina:

  • Gray bat
  • Indiana bat
  • Northern flying squirrel
  • Red wolf
  • Townsend's big-eared bat

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.


Northern Cardinal Male-27527-3
Cardinalis cardinalis northern cardinal

List of birds of North Carolina


American Alligator
Alligator mississippiensis American alligator
Cemophora Coccinea
Cemophora coccinea Northern scarlet snake
Anolis carolinensis
Anolis carolinensis Carolina anole
Adult male Terrapene carolina carolina, NC's state reptile.


  • Alligator mississippiensis (American alligator)

Snakes without dangerous venom:

  • Coluber constrictor (black racer)
  • Diadophis punctatus (ring-necked snake)
  • Elaphe obsoleta (black rat snake)
  • Elaphe guttata (corn snake)
  • Lampropeltis calligaster (mole kingsnake)
  • Lampropeltis getula (eastern kingsnake)
  • Lampropeltis triangulum (scarlet kingsnake/milksnake)
  • Nerodia sipedon (northern water snake), often mistaken for venomous cottonmouths

Snakes with venom dangerous to humans:

  • Crotalus horridus (timber rattlesnake)
  • Crotalus adamanteus (eastern diamondback rattlesnake)
  • Sistrurus miliarius (pygmy rattlesnake)
  • Agkistrodon contortrix (American copperhead)
  • Agkistrodon piscivorus (cottonmouth) (not to be confused with nonvenomous water snakes)
  • Micrurus fulvius (eastern coral snake)

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

  • Sceloporus undulatus (eastern fence lizard)
  • Ophisaurus ventralis (eastern glass lizard)
  • Ophisaurus attenuatus (slender glass lizard)
  • Anolis carolinensis (green anole or Carolina anole)
  • Ophisaurus mimicus (mimic glass lizard)
  • Phrynosoma cornutum (Texas horned lizard), an introduced species
  • Cnemidophorus sexlineatus (six-lined racerunner)
  • Scincella lateralis (ground skink)
  • Plestiodon fasciatus (five-lined skink)
  • Plestiodon inexpectatus (southeastern five-lined skink)
  • Plestiodon laticeps (broadhead skink)
  • Plestiodon anthracinus (coal skink)


  • Terrapene carolina carolina (eastern box turtle) (state reptile)
  • Trachemys scripta scripta (yellow-bellied slider)
  • Trachemys scripta elegans (red-eared slider), an introduced subspecies
  • Chrysemys picta (painted turtle)
  • Chelydra serpentina (common snapping turtle)


Frog (North Carolina)
Frog, located in Cary, North Carolina

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


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, the endemic Cape Fear shiner.

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


Various insects, jellyfish, millipedes, centipedes, freshwater crayfish, and freshwater mollusks.

Plant life

See also: List of flora of North Carolina
Kalmia Latifolia
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
  • Loblolly pine
  • Longleaf pine
  • American sweetgum
  • Red spruce
  • Cherry tree
  • Fir tree
  • Rhododendron
  • Wild flowers
  • Beach grasses
  • Wax myrtle
  • Red cedar
  • Flame azalea
  • Dogwood
  • Mountain laurel
  • Venus fly trap
  • Mimosa
  • Red maple
  • Oak
  • Sugar maple
  • Cabbage palmetto
  • Sabal minor
  • Needle palm

General interest: Birds: Reptiles and amphibians: Butterflies:

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