Famously known as the peach state, Georgia is home to millions of people, animals, and trees of all kinds. Georgia sits just above Florida on the East Coast; it has a small segment of coast on the Atlantic Ocean. This state is known for its alligators, peaches, and beautiful lands. Among these are some incredible forests, including the largest forest in Georgia.
Here, we’ll discover Georgia’s largest forest. Then, we’ll take a deep dive into some of the coolest animals to be found within its hundreds of thousands of acres. Keep reading to learn more about one of the biggest forests in the eastern U.S.
The Largest Forest in Georgia: Chattahoochee National Forest
The combined Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is the largest forest in Georgia by far. Alone, the Chattahoochee National Forest occupies around 750,000 acres. Together with the overlapping Oconee National Forest, the two cover almost 867,000 acres of wilderness.
Located north of Atlanta and east of Chattanooga, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest covers a large portion of Georgia’s northeast corner. This incredible landscape offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, dozens of camping opportunities, and thousands of miles of pristine rivers.
What is the Largest Forest in the World?
The largest forest in Georgia might seem enormous, but its miniscule compared to the largest forest in the world. With over 2.5 million square acres of land, the Amazon Rainforest is easily the world’s largest forest. In fact, this forest is so big that, if we overlaid it over the Lower 48 States, it would cover almost all of them! But, the Amazon Rainforest isn’t just the biggest forest in the world—it’s also one of the most biodiverse places on our planet. The jungled walls of the Amazon contain millions and millions of species of plants, animals, and insects.
What Animals Live in Georgia’s Largest Forest?
So, now we’ve learned that the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is the largest forest in Georgia. We’ve also learned that the Amazon Rainforest is the largest forest in the world. Now, let’s discover what types of creatures call Georgia’s largest forest home. We’ll start with the largest, most eye catching animals. Then, we’ll take a look at a few of the smaller warm-blooded creatures that call this forest home. Finally, we’ll explore a few of the birds and other creatures to be found in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.
White-tailed deer are common in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, but, so are feral goats and hogs. There’s even the occasional feral horse. The largest forest in Georgia has no large predators, like mountain lions, bear, or wolves. But, it is home to smaller hunters like coyote and bobcat. Additionally, you might catch sight of a red fox, gray fox, or even a feral dog.
Small mammals are plentiful in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Raccoon are common, though mainly seen at night due to their nocturnal natures. Lucky visitors might see river otters, muskrats, or beavers swimming in the streams. And, this forest is home to at least seven species of bat, including the hoary bat, eastern red bat, silver-haired bat, evening bat, eastern pipistrelle, and big brown bat.
Many parts of the forest are also home to Virginia opossums, eastern cottontails, and swamp rabbits. Visitors will likely hear the sounds of eastern chipmunks and gray squirrels chattering in the trees as well. The smallest of the mammals in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest include shrews, voles, rats, moles, and mice.
Over 200 species of bird call the largest forest in Georgia home. The largest of these are the bald eagles, turkey vultures, and black vultures. Other predatory birds include sharp-shinned hawks, coopers hawks, northern harriers, broad-winged hawks, red-tailed hawks, and ospreys.
There are also dozens of species of nuthatches, sparrows, wrens, and warblers. Large fishing birds of the forest include great egrets, green herons, white ibis, yellow-crowned night herons, cattle egrets, great blue egrets, and American bitterns. Additionally three species of owl—barred owls, eastern screech owls, and great horned owls—live within the bounds of the Chattahoochee-Oconee National forest.
Fish, Amphibians, and Reptiles
Now, let’s take a quick look at some of the scalier denizens of the largest forest in Georgia. The Chattahoochee-Oconee National forest is home to a spectacular array of fish, including chubs, trout, catfish, bass, sunfish, and more. Amphibious dwellers include toads, frogs, salamanders, and newts. And, the vast lands of the forest are also home to lizards, turtles, and snakes. Among these are the venomous timber rattlesnake and copperhead, along with non-venomous species like garter snakes and water snakes.
All in all, the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests are home to an incredible variety of wildlife. This national forest is not one you want to miss.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
How large is the Chattahoochee National Forest?
Alone, the Chattahoochee National Forest occupies around 750,000 acres. Together with the overlapping Oconee National Forest, the two cover almost 867,000 acres of wilderness.
What is the largest forest on the planet?
With over 2.5 million square acres of land, the Amazon Rainforest is easily the world’s largest forest. In fact, this forest is so big that, if we overlaid it over the Lower 48 States, it would cover almost all of them!
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