Wildlife in Shenandoah

Not only have I had the chance to take in the incredible views from waterfalls or peaks, but I have also gotten to see some fantastic animals. Coming from the largest city in Virginia, I am not used to seeing such a vibrant and thriving animal ecosystem. The deer population in the park has become human-conditioned, and most won’t run away if you encounter one out on the trails. This is quite fascinating, but they have scared me on multiple occasions while I have been hiking! The most common animals that can be found here in the park are chipmunks and squirrels. These little animals are always jumping around in the trees and under leaf litter.

Shenandoah’s “must see” animal, though is the American Black bear. Visitors ask nearly every day where they can spot bears or if there have been sightings of them. I have personally only seen one so far, and it was outside of my house, actually! TheĀ parks wildlife technicians and us interpreters take the education of the black bear seriously for all park visitors. There is one simple reason why we don’t want the bears to become food conditioned. A food-conditioned bear essentially means that bears will lose their fear of humans because they know they can get food easily from them… Luckily in Shenandoah, none of the bears are food conditioned. Our bear-proof trashcans and education to our visitors have proved vital in not only keeping them safe but our bears as well.


Friend taking picture of a black bear


White-tailed deer


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