Massachusetts is an interesting state in New England. On the far eastern side, the Boston Metropolitan area dominates the region. Yet, the western part of the state feels like a different world, one that is rife with state parks and natural beauty. The Appalachian Mountains run through western Massachusetts, and the highest point in the state rises from that range. Learn about 10 animals that prowl atop Massachusetts’s tallest mountain, Mount Greylock, and see why people enjoy this natural area.
10 Animals that Prowl Atop Massachusetts’ Tallest Mountain
Many animals prowl atop Massachusetts’s tallest mountain, Mount Greylock, such as white-tailed deer, black bears, red foxes, porcupines, ravens, hawks, and more. Although you may not spot the animals every time you visit or at the summit, each of these animals has been spotted on the mountain. While it is the highest point in the state, Mount Greylock is only 3,491 feet tall. Many sorts of animals thrive in such conditions.
1. Red-tailed Hawks
Most people will hear red-tailed hawks before seeing them. They have a long-lasting, screaming call that can be heard from far off. Red-tailed hawks are large birds of prey that often hunt small mammals, other birds, some reptiles, and even carrion in a pinch.
These hawks can weigh anywhere between 2 and 4 pounds, and the larger females can have a wingspan of between 45 and 52 inches. These birds are brown when looked at from above while flying. Their tails are a cinnamon-red color from above. Their undersides are white or streaked white with brown.
2. White-Tailed Deer
White-tailed deer usually weigh between 150 and 600 pounds, grow 3.3 to 7.2 feet long, and stand 1.7 to 3.9 feet tall. These creatures will usually have a brown coat in spring and summer that turns gray in fall and winter. They prefer to live in fields and wooded areas, and they’re easily startled.
The underside of their tails is white, something that you’ll see if they suddenly become alarmed. These animals are reasonably common throughout the entire Mt. Greylock State Reservation.
3. Common Ravens
Ravens and crows are often confused for one another since they’re both large black birds. Ravens are somewhat large birds with high intelligence. They weigh between 1.5 and 3.6 pounds and grow as long as 25 inches.
Their wingspan can reach between 45 and 51 inches at its utmost. These birds have glossy black feathers and a curved bill. They consume all sorts of foods including insects, rodents, small lizards, and items out of the trash. These beautiful birds are a sight to behold at Mt. Greylock.
4. Spotted Salamanders
The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) also goes by the name black and yellow salamander or yellow-spotted salamander. It’s not hard to imagine why that’s the case. These creatures are usually black, dark gray, brown, or other dark colors with yellow spots running down the length of their backs.
They measure between roughly 6 and 10 inches long. They often live near small pools of water within forests. These amphibians do not often risk being out in the open, so they’re hard to spot.
5. Black Bears
Black bears are certainly one of the animals that people need to worry about encountering on and around Mt. Greylock. These large mammals are some of the most dangerous animals you can meet in this part of the country. While they are somewhat rare, an estimated 4,500 black bears live throughout Massachusetts. They are mostly in the western and northern parts of the state.
These animals weigh between 130 and 600 pounds, grow about 4.5 feet long, and can run up to 30 mph. These bears will mostly keep their distance from people. However, people should learn how to handle a bear encounter before traveling to areas where they’re common.
Other animals that prowl atop Massachusetts’s tallest mountain are bobcats. Most people are far more likely to hear these mammals than see them, though. They’re solitary animals that are most active at night. They often hunt during dusk and dawn.
The average bobcat measures about 25 to 40 inches long and weighs about 9 to 33 pounds. They’re not very large, but they could pose a threat to humans. Keep an eye out for these animals. A bobcat will probably run from you. If it doesn’t, start making noise, stand your ground, and face them. If they continue to approach you, they may be rabid, and you may need to fend them off. Still, rabid bobcats are extremely rare.
7. Blackpoll Warbler
The blackpoll warbler is a small songbird that stands about 3-4 inches tall and measures about 5 inches long. They weigh between 0.4 and 0.5 ounces. They’re very picky about their habitat, and that’s why Mount Greylock is one of the only places where these birds live in Massachusetts. However, these birds frequently pass through the region while migrating.
The males are known for having black feathers on the top of their heads. They usually have a white chest area along with white, black, and gray feathers. They undergo a molt in the summer and develop a yellow-green color while losing the black coloration on their heads.
8. American Red Squirrels
American red squirrels are known for their rusty red coloration with a white underside along with having a bushy tail. They reach a length of between 10 and 15 inches and only weigh about 7 to 10 ounces on average. These squirrels can appear in other colors, though. They’re commonly found on Mount Greylock, but they’ll certainly keep their distance from humans.
9. North American Porcupines
North American porcupines are sometimes spotted near the summit of Mount Greylock, but they prefer to live in areas with dense forests. These animals weigh about 12 to 35 pounds and are dark brown or black with some parts of their fur being white. They are known for having large quills that they use to fend off predators. Don’t just look for these rodents on the ground, though. They can also climb trees.
10. Snowshoe Hare
Snowshoe hares are small, speedy mammals that enjoy staying in areas with lots of cover. That makes Mount Greylock the perfect place for them. These animals measure about 18 to 20 inches and weigh only 3 to 4 pounds. They usually have a brown fur coat in the summer that turns white in the winter. That change in color makes them much harder to spot when snow falls in the region. If you startle one of these animals, they’ll flee at a speed near 30 mph.
All in all, you can see many different animals that prowl atop Massachusetts’s tallest mountain while you traverse the area. Most of these animals are a pleasure to see and will not bother you in the slightest. A few of them, like the black bear and bobcat, are not encounters that most people want to experience. Make sure you take measures to protect yourself while you’re climbing this mountain.
Summary of 10 Animals That Prowl atop Massachusetts’s Tallest Mountain
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