Endangered Species

pink shell flower

Rare and precious: Grandfather’s endangered wildlife

Hundreds of species of plants and animals call Grandfather Mountain home. While some are commonly found and admired, others are rare — not only in North Carolina, but throughout the world. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Natural Heritage and the Nature Conservancy have conducted surveys of the plants and animals on Grandfather Mountain and have ranked the endangered species according to rarity. While you may not see these on your visit (or, you just might!), we’re all grateful that they’re as protected on our slopes as the mountain itself.

Grandfather’s Endangered Species

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina Natural Heritage and the Nature Conservancy have done surveys of the plants and animals on Grandfather Mountain and have ranked the endangered species according to rarity.

BR goldenrod Endangered SpeciesG1 – Critically imperiled globally (5 or fewer occurrences worldwide)

* Spruce Fir Moss Spider (arachnid)
* Blue Ridge Goldenrod (vascular plant)
* Frullania appalachiana (liverwort)

G2 – Imperiled globally because of rarity (6 to 20 occurrences worldwide)

heller's blazing star* Spreading Avens (vascular plant)
* Rock Gnome Lichen (lichen)
* Bazzania nudicaulis (liverwort)
* Plagiochila sullivantii (liverwort)
* Sphenolobopsis personii (liverwort)
* Grandfather Mountain Lepodontium (moss)
* Bent Avens (vascular plant)
* Roan Mountain Bluet (vascular plant)
* Heller’s Blazing Star (vascular plant)
* Velvet Covert (mollusk)
* High Mountain Supercoil (mollusk)

G3 – Either rare throughout its range or found locally in a restricted range (21 to 100 occurrences worldwide)

azalea vaseyi* Bog Turtle (reptile)
* Eastern Small-footed Bat (mammal)
* Appalachian Woodrat (mammal)
* Weller’s Salamander (amphibian)
* Waterfan (lichen)
* Plagiochila virginica (liverwort)
* Plagiochila austinii (liverwort)
* Trailing Wolfsbane (vascular plant)
* Wretched Sedge (vascular plant)
* Tall Larkspur (vascular plant)
* Gray’s Lily (vascular plant)
* Azalea vaseyi (vascular plant)
* Rota’s Feather Moss (moss)
* Pigmy Salamander (amphibian)
* Mountain Bittercress (vascular plant)
* Carolina Saxifrage (vascular plant)
* Roan Rattlesnakeroot (vascular plant)
* Appalachian Golden-banner (vascular plant)

S1- Critically imperiled in North Carolina (5 or fewer occurrences)

* big-eared batVirginia Big-Eared Bat (mammal)
* Magnolia Warbler (bird)
* Alpine Camouflage Lichen (lichen)
* Mylia taylorii (liverwort)
* Lime Homalia (moss)
* Pale-margined Leptodontium (moss)
* Canada Reed Grass (vascular plant)
* Hemlock Parsley (vascular plant)
* Fragile Fern (vascular plant)
* Matted Feather Moss (moss)
* Fireweed (Purple Willowherb) (vascular plant)
* Balsam Ragwort (vascular plant)
* Fruitful Locust (vascular plant)
* Roseroot (vascular plant)
* Metzgeria temperata (liverwort)
* Northern Peatmoss (moss)
* Peregrine Falcon (bird)
* Pinebarren Death-camus (vascular plant)

S2- Imperiled in North Carolina because of rarity (6-20 occurrences)

* saw whet owlCarolina Northern Flying Squirrel (mammal)
* Southern Water Shrew (mammal)
* Sharp-shinned Hawk (bird)
* Northern Saw-whet Owl (bird)
* Black-billed Cuckoo (bird)
* Palaeagpetus celsus (insect)
* Smyth’s Green Comma (insect)
* Sand-loving Iceland Lichen (lichen)
* Plagiochila corniculata (liverwort)
* Wood’s Sedge (vascular plant)
* Appalachian Fir Clubmoss (vascular plant)
* Deerhair Bulrush (vascular plant)
* Hermit Thrush (bird)
* Long-tailed Shrew (mammal)
* Cranberry (vascular plant)

S3- Rare or uncommon in North Carolina (21-100 occurrences)

* red crossbillNorthern Long-eared Bat (mammal)
* Appalachian Cottontail (mammal)
* Brown Creeper (bird)
* Southern Appalachian Red Crossbill (bird)
* Southern Appalachian Black-capped Chickadee (bird)
* Appalachian Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (bird)
* Northern Shorthusk (vascular plant)
* Micrasema burksi (insect)

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  • I visited Grandfather Mountain with my 3 daughters. We had a wonderful time. The staff was very friendly. The young man who was providing enrichment for the animals was especially knowledgeable and patient as my children asked lots of questions. My daughter asked to adopt "Jane" as a result of our visit and the information she received. Grandfather is a beautiful place and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.
    Lisa
    Gibsonville, NC
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