Sassafras Mountain is not only the tallest peak in the state of South Carolina, its position allows you to view four U.S. states: Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia as well as SC. And if you’re lucky, you can also view some iconic animals of South Carolina while you’re at it.
The spectacular view is easier to reach than you might think: after a drive up the mountain’s winding road, a parking lot puts you within walking distance of the observation tower. Because the North Carolina/South Carolina border passes right beneath, you can even stand with one foot in each state at the same time.
But who might be watching you as you enjoy that view, or keeping you company if you walk the surrounding trails? To find out, let’s take a look at a few of the animals of South Carolina animals you might see…or who might see you.
1. Bald Eagles
This unmistakable raptor, with its 70-90-inch wingspan and distinctive white head, neck, and tail, is an amazing sight to see. Bald eagles are fish-earing birds who usually nest within one mile of a body of water. In South Carolina, they tend to nest along the major rivers of the lower coastal plane. However, they’ve been observed at nearby Lake Jocassee. So bring your binoculars, and the spectacular mountaintop view may give you a look at a bald eagle on the wing.
2. White-Tailed Deer
These animals range through most of the continental United States and reside throughout South Carolina. White-tailed deer prefer forests and old fields but will make their home in marshes, mountain forests, and other habitats.
3. Black Bears
The largest land animals in South Carolina have been reported in almost every county. Two resident populations are known, one of which includes the mountainous region that includes Sassafras Mountain. More black bear encounters are reported in the mountains of South Carolina than in coastal areas. Still, they’re shy and evasive creatures, so don’t count on spotting one. If you do, know that South Carolina has never had a report of a black bear attacking a human.
4. Spotted Salamanders
The state amphibian of South Carolina, this large (6-9 inches) dark-bodied salamander is immediately recognizable thanks to its bright yellow or orange spots. These animals spend most of the day underground or underneath leaf litter.
5. Eastern Kingsnakes
This wide-ranging snake resides throughout the Eastern U.S., South Carolina included. They’re typically deep black in color, with contrasting yellow bands, but the subspecies found in SC’s mountains may have very thin banding or be almost completely black. Kingsnakes are nonvenomous. In fact, they’re resistant to the venom of other snakes…because they eat them.
Summary of 5 South Carolina Animals You Might Spot Atop the State’s Tallest Mountain
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock.com
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