All Creatures Great & Small: Our State Animals

The loyal Plott hound and the industrious honeybee. The spirited Spanish mustang and the patient box turtle. These creatures are so integral to our landscapes that we’ve made them symbols of our state. Bright and beautiful; wise and wonderful; wearing feathers, fur, or scales, they embody our North Carolina pride.

Illustrations by John Golden


In Search of State Symbols in Weymouth Woods

In a nature preserve in the heart of the Sandhills, many of North Carolina’s official state animals live in abundant harmony among the pines. Actually finding them, however, is another story.

Written by Eleanor Spicer Rice


Carolina Born & Bred

Six generations — and counting — of the Plott family have bred a hound renowned for its tenacity, bravery, and indelible link to the Tar Heel State.

Written by Mark Kemp


Lessons from the Hive

A former hairstylist in Forsyth County turned to beekeeping and agriculture to help children learn about the beauty and wonder of nature.

Written by Emiene Wright


On Cardinals & Angels

For an artist in Kernersville, the bird that visits yards and gardens throughout the state, across every season, is a symbol of hope, comfort, and love.

Written by Susan Stafford Kelly


A Tale of Two Fishes: Brook Trout & Red Drum

One scaly, swimming symbol alone could not tell the full story of our waters. Our state fishes represent two facets of North Carolina’s personality, two sides of a Southern coin: one as meditative as a remote mountain stream, the other as fiercely headstrong as the wild Atlantic.

Written by T. Edward Nickens


The Caretakers of Pony Island

Descended from colonial Spanish mustangs, the Banker ponies on Ocracoke Island have a special bond with the people who have looked after them over the years.

Written by Rebecca Woltz


Tracking Turtles with the Box Turtle Connection

Why did the turtle cross the road? Turns out, it was following the homing instinct that forever draws it back to where it was born. Across the state, citizen scientists collect data that may help protect this beloved reptile — and sometimes lend a hand to turtles in trouble.

Written by Rebecca Woltz