4 Extraordinary Wildlife To See On Kiawah Island
1. The American Alligator
American alligators can be found in freshwater ponds, marshes, and rivers all through out Kiawah. These animals are actually millions of years in existence and are considered living descendants from the time of dinosaurs. These impressive creatures can weigh over 1,000 pounds and measure up to 13 to 15 feet in length. They have incredibly strong jaws and up to 80 sharp teeth, but the crazy thing is, their teeth are designed for grabbing, not chewing and they typically eat their prey whole. While these animals are vicious, they are not aggressive towards humans. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone. So be sure to always observe these magnificent creatures from a distance.
Where to find them: Discover them throughout the island, sunning themselves along lagoon banks
2. White-Tailed Deer
White-tailed deer are abundant throughout Kiawah Island and you are sure to see countless numbers of them through out your stay. They are exceptional runners. They can reach speeds of 30 to 40 miles per hour and leap up to 10 feet in height. When alarmed, you may notice that they raise their white tails. This is to alert other deer in the area. Male deer, called bucks, grow and shed their antlers annually, starting in the spring and fully developing by late summer or early fall. While most active at dawn and dusk, white-tailed deer can be found all throughout the day. Females form family groups, while males tend to live solitary lives or in small bachelor groups. If you see one, remain still and they may even come towards you. As there is no hunting season on Kiawah, this species is thriving on Kiawah Island. Please do NOT feed the deer, as this alters their natural tendencies to munch on the green forest leaves.
Where to find them: Spot them everywhere on Kiawah Island
3. Loggerhead Turtles
Loggerhead Turtles, named for their broad heads and powerful jaws, have been around for over 50 million years. Female Loggerheads display remarkable nesting behaviors, returning to the very beach where they hatched to lay their own eggs. Digging deep nests in the sand, they carefully deposit clutches of up to 100 eggs. Guided by the moonlight’s glow, these incredible turtles find their way back to the ocean after nesting. To protect these precious hatchlings, Kiawah Island ensures that no artificial lights disrupt their journey by prohibiting beachfront lighting after dark. By preserving the natural glow of the moon, Kiawah safeguards the Loggerhead Turtles’ ancient navigational instincts, allowing them to continue their legacy undisturbed.
Where to find them: While difficult to spot and you should not get too close, these can be spotted nesting on the shores of the beach late at night, May through August.
4. Bottlenose Dolphins
Bottlenose Dolphins maintain high levels of intelligence, display problem-solving abilities and can learn complex tasks. These social and playful animals form tight-knit pods and communicate using a repertoire of clicks, whistles, and body movements. Each dolphin has a unique signature whistle, acting as their individual vocal “name” within the pod. One of their unique feeding behaviors, “strand feeding,” involves herding schools of fish towards the shore and then stranding them on the beach, where the dolphins can enjoy their catch.
Where to find them: Observe them strand feeding at the far west end of the beach (closest to Seabrook Island) at low tide.
In conclusion, Kiawah Island’s wildlife, from ancient mariners like the Loggerhead Turtles to the intelligent residents such as Bottlenose Dolphins, captivate with their beauty and behaviors. Respecting these remarkable creatures and supporting conservation efforts ensures their well-being. Enhance your Kiawah Island experience by staying with Kiawah Island Getaways, offering a range of beachfront and forest view properties. Visit our website and read our reviews to discover why guests love their Kiawah Island Getaways experience. Let us be your home away from home as you immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Kiawah Island.