Discover Animals That Lurk Atop Pennsylvania’s Tallest Mountain

Written by Colby Maxwell
Updated: August 10, 2023
© Petr Salinger/
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4 Animals That Roam Atop Pennsylvania's Tallest Mountain
These four animals are at home on Pennsylvania’s mountaintops.

Pennsylvania is a land of many landscapes, with mountains being one of them. Each landscape has a unique ecology, and knowing what each one holds can be a great way to learn about the state and the wildlife within it. Today, we are going to learn what kind of animals live near Pennsylvania’s tallest mountain. Let’s get started!

The Tallest Mountain in Pennsylvania

Mount Davis
The summit of Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania.

©Zack Frank/

Mount Davis is the tallest mountain in Pennsylvania and is located in Somerset County near the Maryland border.

Mount Davis stands at 3,213 feet above sea level. It’s part of a 30-mile ridge line known as Negro Mountain. The ridge line extends from central Somerset County southward into Garrett County, Maryland.

John Nelson Davis, an early settler, surveyor, and naturalist who studied the flora and fauna of the area., is the mountain’s namesake. During the Civil War, he also served in Company E, 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry. The peak was officially recognized as the highest point in Pennsylvania in 1921 after a survey by the USGS. Previously, it was believed that Blue Knob in Bedford County was the highest peak, although it was unseated in the new survey.

To reach the summit of Mount Davis, you can drive along a paved road that leads almost directly to the top of the hill. There is a large parking lot for visitors and a short trail that takes you to the official peak. There you will find a metal observation tower offering a 360-degree view of the countryside. 

Wildlife Near Mount Davis

Mount Davis is not only the highest point in Pennsylvania but also a rich habitat for a variety of wildlife. The mountain and its surroundings are home to many animals and plants, so we’ve gone ahead and broken up some lists into two categories. Here is some wildlife you can encounter near Mount Davis, starting with animals.

Black bear
Pennsylvania is home to a diverse group of animals.

©Menno Schaefer/


1. Black Bears

The largest predators on the mountain and on the east coast as a whole, black bears can weigh up to 600 pounds and measure up to 6 feet tall. They are omnivorous and feed on berries, nuts, insects, fish, and sometimes deer, although most of their diet consists of plant matter. Most of the time, they will avoid humans. However, bears conditioned to expect food can lose their fear of humans and consequently not avoid them.

2. Timber Rattlesnakes

Timber rattlesnake coiled in a loop
Be careful around Timber Rattlesnakes that are highly venomous.

©Frode Jacobsen/

Timber rattlesnakes are some of the most venomous snakes in the U.S. and live in high elevations across the east coast, including Pennsylvania. They can grow up to 5 feet long and have a distinctive rattle at the end of their tail. Timber rattlesnakes typically live in rocky areas or near streams, where they hunt for rodents, birds, and frogs. They are not aggressive and will only strike if threatened or disturbed, so giving them plenty of room is always the best option.

3. Bald Eagles

bald eagle
Bald eagles are typically found near bodies of water.

© Bock

Bald eagles do live across the east coast, although they are a pretty rare sight in Pennsylvania. If present, it’s along rocky regions and mountains, just like Mount Davis. They have a wingspan of up to 8 feet and can weigh up to 14 pounds. They are exclusively carnivorous and feed on fish, waterfowl, and small mammals.

4. Bobcats

This bobcat climbed an oak tree to better view its hunting grounds in central California.
Bobcats are excellent tree climbers.


Bobcats are the smallest wild cats in North America and Pennsylvania’s only wild cat species. They can weigh up to 30 pounds, measure up to 3 feet long, and have a spotted coat and short tail with a black tip. Bobcats feed on rabbits, squirrels, mice, birds, and sometimes small deer. Although present across Pennsylvania, they have an extremely sneaky nature. Because of this, you rarely see bobcats unless intended. Due to how they look, people sometimes mistake them for pumas (mountain lions) and lynx, although they are distinct species.


Beautiful blueberries of summer
Blueberries are a well-known plant species that grows in certain parts of Pennsylvania.


Mountain Laurel

The state flower of Pennsylvania, mountain laurel, is a shrub that grows up to 15 feet tall and produces clusters of pink or white flowers in late spring or early summer. It is evergreen and has glossy green leaves that turn bronze in winter. It is poisonous to humans and animals if ingested.


A relative of mountain laurel, rhododendron is another shrub that produces flowers in late spring or early summer. It can grow up to 25 feet tall and has large green leaves that turn yellow in autumn. It has various colors of flowers, ranging from white to purple to red. If ingested, it’s also poisonous to humans and animals. Rhododendron lives in moist soils along streams or wetlands.


Pennsylvania’s official state tree, hemlock, is an evergreen that can grow up to 150 feet tall and live for hundreds of years. The tree features needle-like leaves that are dark green on top and silvery-white underneath. It produces small cones that contain seeds for reproduction. In addition, the tree serves as an important food and shelter source for many animals. Hemlock prefers cool and moist locations.


Everyone loves blueberries! This fruit-bearing shrub grows up to 6 feet tall and produces clusters of blueberries in late summer or early autumn. It has oval green leaves that turn red during the seasonal change. It is edible for humans and animals and has many health benefits. Blueberry shrubs live in acidic soils in sunny or partly shaded areas. A great place to find black bears who are filling up for the winter is at a blueberry shrub.

Summary of Animals That Lurk Atop Pennsylvania’s Tallest Mountain

Here’s a recap of the animals found on Mount Davis that we took a look at.

1Black BearsWeigh up to 600 pounds; measure up to 6 feet tallFeed on berries, nuts, insects, fish, and sometimes deer
2Timber RattlesnakesGrow up to 5 feet longRodents, birds, and frogs
3Bald EaglesWingspan is of up to 8 feet; can weigh up to 14 poundsFish, waterfowl, and small mammals
4BobcatsWeigh up to 30 pounds; measure up to 3 feet longRabbits, squirrels, mice, birds, and sometimes small deer

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About the Author

Colby is a freelance writer from Charlotte, North Carolina. When he isn't distracted by his backyard birdfeeder, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone around him about what he's recently learned. There's a whole world to learn about and Colby is content to spend his life learning as much as he can about it!

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