Answers can be found below to many of the common questions we receive from residents and visitors regarding wildlife on Kiawah Island. If you have a question that isn't listed, please email us and we will do our best to answer it for you.
Are bobcats a threat to people?
No. Bobcats on Kiawah Island are very visible and at times seem to show little concern for the presence of people. Despite this, they do not pose a real threat to humans. There are occasional reports of bobcat-human incidents but these almost always involve special circumstances, i.e. a turkey hunter hiding at the base of a tree making turkey calls or a person intervening in an altercation between a bobcat and domestic pet. Learn more about bobcats.
There is an abandoned fawn in my yard, what should
Nothing. The fawn is not abandoned but has been intentionally left in that spot by the doe. Fawns will lie quietly for hours until the doe returns to allow them to nurse. Fawns are scent-free during their first few weeks of life which allows them to remain relatively safe from predators if they lie still. The doe stays away to keep her scent and movements from drawing the attention of predators. If you encounter a fawn, do not approach or touch it. Any interaction with humans greatly increases the chance of the fawn being killed or injured.
I saw a raccoon out during the day, is it rabid?
Not likely. Raccoons are considered nocturnal but will move about during daylight hours if food is scarce. Many times, raccoons seen during daylight hours are females that are out foraging to feed their growing offspring. They need to eat a lot to offset the demands of nursing and raising young. Raccoons certainly do get sick, mainly from canine distemper, and these animals are typically very lethargic, have a crusty nose and eyes, and are in very poor body condition. These animals should be reported to Town Hall (768-9166) or KICA Security (768-5566).
When and where can my dog be off leash on Kiawah Island?
Dogs must be on leash on all of Kiawah Island year round, except for 5 areas on the beach. There are 2 dog use areas in which dogs can be off leash year round as long as they are under voice command. The first area extends from Beachwalker County Park for 1,000 yards to the west (towards Captain Sam's inlet). The second area is located between the Beach Club and the Ocean Course pedestrian beach access. Dogs may also be off leash during the winter months (December 1-March 15) on the central portion of the beach between Beachwalker County Park and the Beach Club. In addition, there are 2 Dog Leash areas where dogs can be present year round but must always be on a leash. View map of beachfront dog leash areas.
How many deer live on Kiawah Island?
Town Biologists conduct biannual spotlight surveys for deer. Based on these surveys, we estimate there are 400-500 deer on Kiawah Island and that the population is stable around 50 deer per square mile. More information.
How many alligators live on Kiawah Island?
Town Biologists, in conjunction with KICA Lakes staff, conduct annual alligator surveys. Based on these surveys, we estimate there are 600-700 alligators on Kiawah Island and that the population is fairly stable. More information.
How do I report an aggressive alligator?
If you encounter an alligator that you believe is aggressive, please call Town Hall (768-9166) during normal business hours or call KICA Security at all other times (768-5566). Biologists will investigate all reports and determine whether or not the alligator fits the definition of a "nuisance" alligator. If it does, it will be removed in accordance with SCDNR protocols. An alligator that is sunning along a pond edge in a yard is not a nuisance alligator.
I saw dead fish floating in a pond, what should I do?
If you see dead fish in a pond, please report it to the KICA Lakes Department (768-2315) on weekdays from 7am-3pm. At all other times, please call KICA Security (768-5566).
found an injured bird, what should I do?
Injured birds on land should be reported to Town Hall (768-9166) during normal business hours or to Night Heron Park (768-6001). In most cases, there is little we can do for the bird but we will do everything we can.
saw an alligator out of the water, what should I do?
Alligators bask almost daily on the edges of ponds to regulate their body temperature. It is not necessary to report these types of alligator encounters. If an alligator is seen in a roadway, driveway, or bike path, please call KICA Security (768-5566).
Are there cougars (mountain lions, panthers) on Kiawah Island?
No. There has never been a confirmed sighting of a cougar on Kiawah Island. We receive quite a few reports of cougars each year, but none of these reports have ever been verified with photography, tracks, or scat. Most likely, observers are seeing large bobcats or coyotes. In addition, most of these sightings occur at night when it is very difficult to judge size and details of the animal in question. The nearest free-ranging population of cougars is in the Florida Everglades.
Are there coyotes on Kiawah Island?
Yes. Several coyotes have been sighted on Kiawah Island in the last few years. Coyotes can now be found in all counties of South Carolina. Coyotes are not native to the southeast but have moved into South Carolina in large numbers in the last few decades. Coyotes can become habituated to people very quickly and should never be fed or approached. Let us know if you see a coyote on the island.
Are there armadillos on Kiawah Island?
Not yet. Armadillos are expanding their range into our area and will likely be found on Kiawah Island in the near future. Armadillos can cause minor landscape damage by digging and rooting in landscape beds. Let us know if you see an armadillo on the island.