Animals

turkey
Eastern Wild Turkey

Cowpens National Battlefield hosts a wide variety of wildlife. Turtles, frogs, and salamanders live along the streams and wetlands. White-tail deer, cotton-tail rabbits, and turkeys are a common sight along the loop road. There are many insects and arachnids, including wolf spiders, hummingbird moths, and the migratory monarch butterfly.

Many species of migratory birds pass through the area during the spring and fall, sometimes stopping to forage on the battlefield and surrounding forest. The seasonal visitors include the scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, and many types of warbler. Some year-round bird residents include the turkey vulture and black vulture, cardinal, chickadees, and various species of woodpeckers. There are also many birds of prey that can be seen at Cowpens, including red-tailed hawks and merlins.

Turkeys are a common sight on the battlefield loop, and a visitor favorite.

 
Big brown bat
Big brown bat

NPS photo

What do bats have to do with a Revolutionary War battle?

Bat guano (droppings) contains potassium nitrate (saltpeter), which is a component of the black powder that soldiers needed to fire their weapons. Just like settlers grew flax to make linen for their clothes, they had to manufacture their own black powder so that they could fire their flintlock rifles and muskets.

Today, bats are useful to us because they eat insects and pollinate plants. For more information about bats, visit the National Park Service page dedicated to these fascinating creatures.

 
Raccoon peeking around a tree.

Parks provide a unique chance to view and appreciate wildlife.

However, wildlife can sometimes get sick with diseases that can make you sick, too, so respect wildlife from a distance.

  • Rabies is a disease that humans can catch from the bite or saliva of an infected animal. Rabies is almost always fatal.
  • Any mammal can get rabies, but bats, feral cats, raccoons, foxes, and skunks are more likely to get sick with rabies.
  • Animals that are sick with rabies may lose their fear of humans, act strangely or become aggressive.
  • If you are bitten or scratched by an animal with rabies, you should immediately see a physician to see if you need medical care to prevent rabies.

Keep yourself safe.

  • Never touch or approach wildlife too closely.
  • Never feed wildlife; this can make them aggressive and threaten your and the animal’s safety.
  • Report sick, dead, or strangely-acting wildlife to a park ranger immediately. (864-461-2828)
  • If any wildlife contact does occur, tell a park ranger right away. The animal may need to be tested for rabies.

Last updated: October 26, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Cowpens National Battlefield
338 New Pleasant Road

Gaffney, SC 29341

Phone:

(864) 461-2828

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