One thing is for sure. The forests of the South Carolina state parks are teeming with wildlife. Some you are probably very familiar with many of the species. You’ve seen the squirrels, raccoons, deer, and various other furry friends, but did you know some of the animals in our forests are quite special due to their designations as some of our state animals?
Check out the list of special animals you may see on your next visit to a South Carolina state park:
You can pretty much guarantee a sighting of at least one of our state animals, the whitetail deer, when you visit a state park. Whether running across your path or grazing in a grassy area, whitetail deer are plentiful throughout the state. These deer range from reddish-brown to grey-brown and can be recognized by their white underside which continues to the tail. They raise the tail to show the white and signal alarm.
Not as easy to “spot” as the whitetail deer, the spotted salamander is the only amphibian indigenous to the entire state. The spotted salamander is easily identified by the rows of yellow or orange spots found on its back from head to tail, but spends much of its time under rocks or logs hidden from view. Generally, they make their homes in hardwood forest areas with ponds nearby for laying their eggs.
This bird might be small but it makes up for its size with his voice and distinct “tea-ket-tle, tea-ket-tle, tea-ket-tle” song that can be heard year-round, day and night, and in all kinds of weather. The male, who produces the song, has one of the loudest songs per volume of bird. The Carolina wren is found in all areas of South Carolina and can be distinguished from other wrens by the white stripe over its eyes. Carolina wrens are found in pairs and these pairs produce several broods each year.
Don’t be surprised when walking along one of our state park beaches to find a loggerhead sea turtle nest roped-off and protected. The South Carolina coast is a favorite nesting place of these large reptiles. Many of the females actually travel thousands of miles to the beach they were hatched to lay their own eggs. These reptiles have strong jaws, large heads, and a reddish-brown shell. They can weigh up to 200 pounds. Currently the loggerhead sea turtle is federally listed as threatened.
Watch this video about Loggerhead nesting at Myrtle Beach State Park.
Once a dying breed, the wild turkey has made a definite resurgence and can be found in droves throughout the forests of the state of South Carolina. The male turkey, which is much larger, more colorful and has more distinct plumage, has small, featherless red heads that can turn quickly to blue and a snood that drapes over its beak. The feathers of the turkey are primarily dark in color and the turkey can spread its large tail feathers into a fan. These animals are ground dwellers but can and will fly when alarmed.