RFI: Georgia

Hi all,

I will be in Athens, Georgia, for work in mid-April, and I will have a couple of free-days to look for mammals. I would appreciate any mammal watching sites and key species anyone can recommend around Atlanta or Athens, or anywhere in Georgia. Any chance for river otter or bobcat in those areas?

Thanks in advance.



  • vdinets

    Bond Swamp NWR has outstandingly high diversity of small mammals, plus a few black bears. Other good places include Ocmulgee Nat’l Monument (try the trails near the river), Piedmont NWR, Stone Mountain in Atlanta (particularly for Eastern chipmunk) and Red Top Mountain State Park (avoid weekends in the latter two).

    Otter sites are mostly in the south; try renting a canoe at Okefenokee Swamp. The SW road into the swamp is good for night drives – I’ve seen bobcats, grey foxes, least shrews and striped skunks there.

  • Marcus

    Cook’s trail which runs along Sandy Creek from Sandy Creek Nature Center (Athens) has otters, very early morning is best as the trail is heavily used. There are also swamp rabbits in the floodplains here. White-tailed deer, gray squirrel, and eastern chipmunk are all easy both here and in the State Botanical Garden. The claypit pond there has beavers that are best seen around dusk and early morning. Red foxes can be seen in the city very early in the morning, the area around Memorial Park and Lake Herrick are good. There are big brown bat colonies in Watson Mill Bridge State Park east of the city in the covered bridge and in the picnic shelters (look for the droppings and listen for squeaks). The powerline area of the Botanical Garden has what I think are cotton rats (I have not caught them so I’m not certain); they are readily seen during the day, just listen for the rustling in the grasses. White-footed mouse and short-tailed shrew are common if you are trapping, golden mice are supposed to be reasonably common in lowland thickets, but I have not seen one yet. Eastern cottontail, raccoon, opossum, grey fox, and striped skunk are around; the first three are pretty common. Woodchucks can be seen along roadsides on the north side of the city. Flying squirrels are pretty common, but are best located in fall when they chirp a lot. I have not heard of any bobcats around.

  • Marcus

    I forgot to mention that red bats are common in clearings in wooded areas — the botanical garden and Sandy Creek Nature Center (over the pond) would be good options

  • nicogaidet

    Many thanks for all this information!
    Okefenokee Swamp would probably too far for a 2-days trip, but the Piedmont & Bond Swamp NWR seem great.
    Is the Piedmont or Bond Swamp good for night drives?
    Any chance to spot raccoon, opossum, grey fox, or striped skunk at these sites ?

  • nicogaidet

    Thanks Vladimir!

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