A short while after the United States’ independence in 1776, states such as Georgia began to adopt their own official state symbols. A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, mammals, a state bird and flower, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.
State symbols were adopted by states to best represent them and their historical roots, and past and present successes. Like all other states, there are many Georgia state symbols. The Georgia state mammal and Georgia state marine mammal are both the White-Tailed Deer and the Northern Right Whale.
What is the Georgia State Mammal?
Georgia’s official state mammal is the white-tailed deer, which became the official state mammal only in 2015, this was thanks to the group of elementary school students at Reese Road Leadership Academy in Muscogee County. White-tailed deer are found in abundance all across the state, residing in both forests and coastal marshes.
These beautiful deer take up a reddish-brown appearance in the summer months which turns gray in the winter. The famous name of this deer was derived due to their white-striped tails. White-tailed deer are able to run at speeds of up to 40 mph and they can also jump 9 feet in the air! Their main food sources are acorns, fruits, mushrooms, and crops like corn, alfalfa and soybeans.
What is the Georgia State Marine Mammal?
Now that we have covered the land mammal that represents Georgia it makes sense to dive into the marine mammal and its significance to the state. It was in 1985 when Georgia designated the critically endangered northern right whale as the official state marine mammal, before 2015 Georgia only had one state mammal, which was the northern right whale. The main reason for this symbollic adoption was due to the whale being the only great whale species native to the waters of Georgia.
Around 800 years ago, whalers named it the “right whale”, it was also around this time period that the whale became a threatened species. They were called the “right” whale because they were the right whale to catch, big, slow moving, and easy to capture. Fortunately, the hunting of these whales came to a close in the late 1800s. By this point there were so few right whales left to hunt that it was no longer profitable and today there is only around 350 left in the wild!
Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Peach State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state land and marine mammal. These interesting facts about Georgia and a whole host of others are what makes the state so unique and fascinating to those that live there or are researching the historical events of the state.