Do you know…? Protecting Wildlife

Seabrook Island beach is home to a variety of wildlife, some of which are endangered. Our respectful vigilance is needed in order to preserve their habitats. Maintaining a healthy distance from wildlife is needed for our safety and protection as well as theirs.

Turtles

Turtle Patrol - mama to nestTurtle season runs from May through the end of September. Sea turtles are an endangered species and it’s critical not to interfere with them in any way. Please adhere to the following:

  • No lights are allowed that illuminate the beach between 9:00 pm and dawn during turtle season. Hatchlings are disoriented by artificial light and may head away from the ocean.
  • Do not disturb turtles or turtle nests. When the Turtle Patrol is allowed to once again monitor the beach, the nests will be marked with an orange sign and white pole. Please do not disturb them.
  • Always fill in any holes on the beach. Turtles and their hatchlings may become stuck when moving between the shore and their nests.

The many volunteers on the Turtle Patrol will be happy to educate the public on the life of loggerhead turtles and the work the Patrol members do to protect them as soon as Stay At Home order is lifted.

Dolphins

dolphins stranding March 2019The dolphins in our area are known for strand feeding where they push fish onto the beach and then follow to eat them. It is a rare and incredible sight and we hope you are fortunate enough to witness it. When viewing the dolphins, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay at least 15 yards from the water.
  • Do not try to get close to the dolphins; they are wild and unpredictable.
  • Do not enter the water or try to swim with these dolphins; it is illegal.
  • Do not feed the dolphins; not only is it harmful, but it is also illegal.

Seabrook volunteers who work with the Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network will be on the beach during times of strand feeding and will be happy to educate the public about the dolphins and this unusual behavior as soon as the Stay At Home order is lifted.

Birds

Our beaches are a critical habitat for breeding birds and a stopping point for migrating birds (including piping plovers and red knots). The town’s ordinance prohibits bringing pets into the “restricted area” north of Boardwalk #1.  Please obey all signage on the beach and never bring a pet into the restricted area. The restricted area is the red area highlighted on the town’s Beach Rules for Pets Map. Click here to view the map.

Alligators

Seabrook Island is home to a healthy population of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), a species once protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Generally, alligators are not a threat to people and their pets. However, the Seabrook Island Property Owners’ Association (SIPOA) has developed a policy for determining whether or not an alligator qualifies as a “nuisance alligator” and therefore warrants removal under the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Nuisance Alligator Program. Removal occurs relatively infrequently.

To be safe around alligators, remember:

  • Do not feed alligators. Feeding alligators reduces their fear of humans.
  • Keep your distance. Alligators can run faster than you.
  • Do not attempt to move alligators out of the road.
  • It is illegal to harass or throw things at alligators.
  • Do not disturb nests or small alligators. Female alligators are very protective.
  • Keep your pets and children away from alligators.
  • Do not corner or trap alligators.
  • Be alert around the shore of freshwater ponds or wetlands.

To read more about alligators and the SIPOA Alligator Program Policy, click here.

Property owners should share this information with visitors and rental guests. Our Do You Know…? posts may be accessed at any time on the Tidelines website.

The Town of Seabrook Island Beach Management Ordinance can be read by clicking here.

Tidelines Editors

(Photo credit:  Piping Plovers & Red Knots – Ed Konrad)

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