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All about Tennessee

Historical Note:

A state named after Benjamin Franklin?

In 1760 hunters from North Carolina ventured into Tennessee seeking new game. Their families and other settlers soon followed and an independent government was formed. When the Revolutionary War broke out, however, the settlers asked to become part of North Carolina for protection from pro-British Indians. After the war, North Carolina ceded the area to the US government, and the people declared themselves a new state, called Franklin, in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Franklin petitioned to join the Union, but North Carolina was irked by this split and voided its original cessation of the territory, making statehood an impossibility. For five years Franklin tenuously existed as an independent area while squabbling with North Carolina and dealing with an unsavory governor who denied them a democratic constitution, tried to expand the borders of Franklin, and pledged allegiance to Spain. The governor was finally arrested for treason, and in 1789, North Carolina once again agreed to cede the area. Statehood came seven years later, but by that time the name Franklin gave way to Tennessee.

Trivia Questions about the Smoky Mountains:
True Or False?

1. A total of 65 mammals live in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

2. Over 110 species of birds breed within Park.

3. The Smoky Mountain area is the "salamander capital of the world."

4. Two poisonous snakes, the timber rattlesnake and the northern copperhead, live in the Smokies.

(Answers at bottom of this page)

Trivia Questions about Raccoons:
True Or False?

1. Raccoons are rodents.

2. Raccoons hibernate in winter.

3. Raccoons are nocturnal so if you see one in the daytime it's rabid.

4. Raccoons don't have salivary glands and must wash their food.

5. Raccoons eat cats.

(Answers at bottom of this page)

Name Origin: Indian. (name of Cherokee village)

Capital: Nashville

Population: 5,175,000

Area: 42,144 square miles

Statehood: June 1, 1796 (16th state)

Nickname: The Volunteer State

Motto: "Agriculture and commerce"

Famous For: Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, Cumberland Caverns, Fall Creek Falls, Grand Ole Opry House, Great Smokey Mountains, Graceland, Guinness World Records Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Tennessee Valley Authority, Zinc, Marble

Answers to Trivia Questions about the Smoky Mountains:

1. TRUE. Some mammals, such as the coyote and bobcat are reclusive, while deer, squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, raccoons, opossums, red and gray foxes, skunks, and bats are numerous and common. Bison and gray wolves are native to the area, but no longer live here. Reintroduction efforts brought back the red wolf for a time, and river otter; however, red wolf reintroduction efforts were unsuccessful. In February 2001, the Park reintroduced elk back to the area.

2. TRUE. Over 110 species breed within Park boundaries, and more than 230 species frequent the Park. Common species include: juncos, mourning doves, chimney swifts, eastern phoebes, barn swallows, blue jays, indigo buntings, cardinals, towhees, sparrows, chickadees, and warblers. Birds of prey include turkey vultures, hawks, and eagles.

3. TRUE. The Smokies' 30 species of salamanders make it the "salamander capital of the world." Notable species include Jordans Salamander, one subspecies of which is found only in the Smokies, and the Hellbender, which can grow up to two and one half feet long. (Yikes!)

4. TRUE. Although their poison is not lethal.

Answers to Trivia Questions about Raccoons:

1. False. They're members of the Procyonidae family, their closest relatives being the ringtails, coatis and coatimundis.

2. False. They don't sleep through winter but they do slow down. It's called Torpor.

3. False. Although more active at night, raccoons do venture out in the day, especially mothers foraging for their babies. But they are wild animals and like any wild animal , could be rabid, day or night, so be cautious.

4. False. Raccoons are commonly associated with washing their food. Their latin name, "lotor," means "the washer." It was once believed that raccoons did not have salivary glands, and so they washed their food but this has been disproved. However, they do "feel" their food before eating it.

5. False. Although omnivorous, raccoons tend to eat more plants than animals, and more invertebrates than vertebrates. Crayfish, insects, rodents, frogs, and bird eggs are all part of a raccoon's diet. Although they may eat the remains of dead animals on the road, if necessary, and maybe a cat, too, if it's dead on the street.

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