If you think Appalachian bears are big animals, you haven’t seen anything yet. The grandest of all the mountains, the majestic elk, is the master of the mountains. Though their numbers have dwindled over the years, you still have a good chance of spotting an elk in the fall, when many leaf lookers take to the hills.
Appalachian owls are a mystifying breed.
When asked about owls, most people mention the easily recognizable soft cooing heard at dawn or dusk. Others describe the wide-open pair of golden yellow eyes the birds possess or their ability to turn their heads 180 degrees. But aside from nature shows, most people who live in or visit Appalachia won’t get to know these mysterious birds nearly as well as other animals.
Crayfish are among the many species under attack by extensive development and mining in the Southern Appalachians.
Because the Southern Appalachians never glaciated, the region contains some of the most bio-diverse plant, animal and insect life outside of the tropical rainforests. Many species, including humans, have thrived in the mountains’ consistently high-quality environmental conditions.
A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal. (Proverbs 12:10)
Animals have been part of Appalachian households since the very early settlers populated the mountain terrain. Mules helped clear the wooded land and plow the meager fields. Horses carried their owners from place to place. Cattle, goats and sheep clothed and fed generations. And let’s not forget the chickens.