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8 Strange Animals in Tennessee

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strange animals found in tennessee

Tennessee is home to a variety of creatures, from the playful Walking Horse to the Five-lined skink. But there are also some less familiar animals that call Tennessee home, including the Ocoee salamander and the purple milkweed longhorn beetle. While these creatures may not be as well-known as some of Tennessee’s other residents, they are no less interesting or important. each has a unique story to tell about the state’s natural history. So when you’re out exploring Tennessee’s woods and fields, keep your eyes peeled for these wonderful and strange animals in Tennessee.

Tennessee Walking Horse

The Tennessee Walking Horse is one of the strangest animals in Tennessee. It is a horse that has been bred to have an exaggerated gait, which makes it look like it is walking on air. While this may be visually appealing, it is actually quite harmful to the horse’s health. The exaggerated gait puts a great deal of strain on the horse’s legs and joints and can lead to pain and injury. 

The horse’s hooves are often overgrown and poorly cared for, which can also cause pain and suffering. Thus, many people believe that the Tennessee Walking Horse is a cruel and inhumane animal. However, others argue that the breed is unique and provides a special riding experience. Whatever your opinion, there is no denying that the Tennessee Walking Horse is a very strange animal.

River otter 

otters eating fish

The River otter is a strange animal in Tennessee. It is a native of North America, but it was introduced to Tennessee in the late 1970s by the state wildlife agency. The river otter is a member of the weasel family and is related to the mink and the marten. It has a long, slender body with short legs and a long, muscular tail.

The river otter is an excellent swimmer and can dive to depths of up to 60 feet. It is an active creature and can often be seen chasing fish or frolicking in the water. The river otter is an important part of the ecosystem in Tennessee and helps to control the population of fish and other aquatic animals.

Timber rattlesnake

strange animals in tennessee

Tennessee is home to many different species of animals, but one of the strangest is the timber rattlesnake. Native to the eastern United States, the timber rattlesnake is a large venomous snake that can grow up to six feet in length. Although they are not aggressive, timber rattlesnakes will bite if they feel threatened. Their venom is highly toxic and can be fatal to humans, so it is important to be careful if you encounter one in the wild.

In addition to their dangerous venom, timber rattlesnakes are also known for their strange appearance. They have a brown or grey body with black bands running down their back, and their tail is decorated with rattle. Although they might look scary, timber rattlesnakes are actually quite shy and rarely pose a threat to humans.

Elvis Presley moth

Elvis Presley moth

In the early hours of the morning, a soft light flickers in the darkness. It’s not the sun just yet, but the Elvis Presley moth, one of the strangest animals in Tennessee. This little creature is so named because of its striking resemblance to the iconic singer, with its large wingspan and white-and-black markings. 

The Elvis Presley moth is found only in Tennessee, and it is believed to be the only species of moth that can sing. That’s right – this little insect actually sings! The males use their singing voices to attract mates, and they can often be heard singing late into the night. Though they may be small, the Elvis Presley moth is truly a one-of-a-kind creation.

Pygmy Shrew

Pygmy Shrew

The Pygmy Shrew is one of the smallest mammals in the world, and it can be found in a variety of habitats throughout Tennessee. These tiny creatures have a voracious appetite, and they are known to eat up to twice their body weight in a single day. In addition to their small size, Pygmy Shrews are also unique in that they can GO INTO A TORPOR, or a state of reduced activity, during cold weather. Although they are common in Tennessee, Pygmy Shrews are still considered to be strange animals due to their size and dietary habits.

Hellbender salamander

Hellbender salamander

The Hellbender salamander is a strange and fascinating creature that can be found in Tennessee. Also known as the ‘devil dog’ or ‘old redlegs’, this amphibian can grow up to two feet in length, making it one of the largest salamanders in the world. Hellbenders are nocturnal animals that prefer to live in fast-moving streams with rocky substrates. 

In Tennessee, these salamanders can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest. Although they may look intimidating, Hellbenders are actually quite harmless and are an important part of the ecosystem. These animals help to control populations of crayfish and other small aquatic creatures, and their mucus-covered skin helps to filter pollutants from the water. 

American eel

American eel

The American eel is a strange creature indeed. Although it is commonly found in the waters of Tennessee, it is not a native species. In fact, the American eel is thought to have originated in the Atlantic Ocean, where it still thrives today. The eel makes its way to Tennessee by swimming up the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Once here, the eel spends most of its time in freshwater lakes and streams. It is believed that the eel makes this journey in order to spawn; however, scientists are still not quite sure how or why the eel does this. 

Five-lined skink

Five-lined skink

The Five-lined skink is a common sight in Tennessee. These little lizards are easily identified by their bright blue tails and striking orange stripes. While they are not native to Tennessee, they have adapted well to the state’s warm climate and can be found sunning themselves on rocks and logs throughout the summer months. Despite their abundance, however, Five-lined skinks are considered strange animals in Tennessee. This is because they are one of the few reptiles that give birth to live young, rather than laying eggs. As a result, they are often treated with suspicion by people who are not familiar with them. 

Conclusion:

The strange animals of Tennessee have been the source of much curiosity and speculation over the years. While some of these creatures may be nothing more than urban legends, others have been documented and studied by scientists. Whether real or imagined, the strange animals of Tennessee continue to capture the public imagination.

References:

https://www.rd.com/list/strangest-animal-found-in-each-state/
https://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife/mammals/large.htm
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Author Profile
Zahra Makda
Wildlife Enthusiast | Explorer at Animals Research

Growing up enjoying the beauty of my village, a good passion for nature developed in me from childhood. Following my passion for the natural world, I have chosen zoology for my graduation, during my undergraduate degree, I participated in many nature trails, bird watching, rescues, training for wildlife conservation, workshop, and seminars on biodiversity. I have a keen interest in invertebrate biology, herpetology, and ornithology. Primary interests include studies on taxonomy, ecology, habitat and behavior.

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