Wildlife Safety

Wildlife Safety

Wildlife Safety in Sea Pines

Sea Pines Community Service Associates, Inc. (CSA) works directly with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) to regularly manage wildlife in our community in accordance with their requirements. The Sea Pines Security Department is available 24/7 to address wildlife sightings and concerns reported in the community by contacting our security dispatch line at 843.671.7170. Sea Pines CSA also employs a full-time wildlife officer and wildlife biologist to help maintain the delicate balance between humans and our Lowcountry environment. While each report of wildlife is handled on a case-by-case basis, Sea Pines takes wildlife concerns very seriously and works together with designated authorities as appropriate to handle each situation.

Wildlife Safety Reminders

  • Don’t feed wildlife.
  • Admire wildlife from a safe distance.
  • Never come between a mother animal and her nest or her young.
  • Keep your dog on a leash; never leave pets unattended.
  • Never leave a pet’s food or water dish outside.
  • If you have bird feeders, be aware that other animals may be attracted to the scattered seed or to the birds that you are feeding.
  • If you have a swimming pool in your yard, always look before you or your children enter the water.
  • Use a flashlight so you can see the ground at night in areas where venomous snakes might be present or alligators may be wandering.
  • Keep your yard and home clear of clutter, it only attracts animals and provides shelter and nesting opportunities.
  • Don’t try to trap an animal yourself without a safe trap and a plan. (Sea Pines Security will not be responsible for removing any animal you have trapped yourself)

To report a nuisance animal and request removal assistance, contact Sea Pines Security at 843.671.7170.


Wildlife Guide

A Digital Guide to Wildlife in the Sea Pines Community

  • Click here to view in a booklet format. Be sure to click on the FULLSCREEN option in the center of the cover for easy reading.
  • Click here for a printable pdf version.

Wildlife Safety Video

We have chosen to make the beautiful community of Sea Pines our place to live, work, or visit. With this beautiful environment comes an extensive variety of landscape and wildlife, and with that landscape and wildlife comes the responsibility to always be aware of our surroundings.

  • Click here to watch a short Wildlife Safety in Sea Pines video.

Alligators

Alligator safety is a community effort. While the Lowcountry’s landscape and habitats are special to Sea Pines’ property owners, visitors, and guests, there are dangers and responsibilities that accompany the privilege of living among nature. Sea Pines is a natural habitat for the American alligator. For this reason, all Sea Pines property owners must act with extreme caution and must ensure family members, guests, and visitors are informed and aware when outdoors.

  • Click here to view a Digital Guide to Living with Alligators
  • Click here to view a Digital Guide to Living with Alligators in Spanish

Important Safety Tips Regarding Alligators in Sea Pines:

  • Assume every body of water contains an alligator
  • Stay at least 60 feet (4 car lengths) away from alligators
  • Alligators are ambush predators and can move faster than you or your pets
  • Keep pets and children away from water’s edge
  • Swimming or wading is prohibited in Sea Pines’ waterways
  • Feeding or harassing alligators is dangerous and illegal
  • When fishing or crabbing do not throw used bait or fish parts into the water

Signs of Aggressive Alligator Behavior or Situations You Should Report to Sea Pines Security:

  • Closely approaches humans or pets
  • Consistently follows fishermen or pursues hooked fish
  • Displays aggression towards humans or pets, including changes in body posture, hissing or slapping tail on water
  • You observe an alligator away from water/in an unusual place (e.g. yards, driveways)
  • You observe people feeding or harassing alligators
  • You observe people approaching alligators too closely (within 60 feet or 4 car lengths)

Immediately call Sea Pines Security at 843.671.7170 to report any aggressive alligator behavior or concerns.


Snakes

Snakes are typically active when the weather is warmer. Please remember these safety tips while outdoors:

  • Never pick up or attempt to move a snake.
  • Never place your hands, arms, feet or legs where you can’t see them when outdoors.
  • Wear leather gloves if you have to handle debris, logs, rocks and other objects where a snake could be hiding.\
  • Always wear closed shoes and long pants when walking through the woods or places where you won’t have clear views of where you step.

For more information on venomous snakes in South Carolina click here.


Racoons

Raccoons are primarily nocturnal animals, but they are sometimes active during the day. Some reasons why raccoons might be active during the day include:

  • Seeking shelter: Raccoons may be looking for a new den or nesting site, especially during the spring and summer when they are more likely to raise young.
  • Food: Raccoons may come out during the day if they have found a food source available at a particular time.
  • Birthing season: Mother raccoons may forage for their own food during daylight hours during the spring and summer birthing season. 

If you observe raccoons with unusual behavior during the day, you should contact Sea Pines Security for assistance. A sick raccoon might appear:

  • Disoriented, Lethargic, Walking in circles, Stumbling, and Paralyzed in their hind legs.

Coyotes

Coyotes are present throughout Sea Pines and in the Forest Preserve. Coyotes are most frequently seen and heard during mating season (January-March). If you see a coyote, keep your distance. Take extra caution while walking your dog(s) and be sure to always keep pets on a leash.


Deer

White-tailed deer are indigenous to Hilton Head Island and are most active during dawn and dusk. As are reminder, dogs should never be off leash in Sea Pines. A dog will usually chase a deer, and they tend to panic and act irrationally when frightened and could be chased into you, the road, or even a sliding glass door.

Please use caution while driving in Sea Pines and remember the following:
  • Slow Down. Drive at slower speeds during dawn and dusk hours when deer are known to be more active. Also, remember that deer often travel in herds, so if you see one animal there may be others in the vicinity.
  • November is Peak “Rut Season” for Deer. Exercise caution around the community as bucks are less cautious during this time and may be more approachable.
  • Use High Beams. Using your vehicle’s high beams (if possible) can help you spot deer more quickly, which can give you the best opportunity to slow down as you approach.
  • What if my vehicle hits a deer? To report a vehicle collision with a deer within the Sea Pines Community, call Sea Pines Security Dispatch at 843.671.7170. If there are injuries, call 911.

Protect Our Sea Turtles

Loggerheads are listed as a threatened species by both the federal government and the state of South Carolina. Below are ways you can help protect our Sea Turtles:
  • Lights out: The Town of HHI requires all indoor and outdoor light fixtures that are visible from the beach to be shielded or turned off between 10 PM-6 AM from May 1–October 31.
  • Keep the beach clean: Never leave beach umbrellas, chairs, beach accessories on the beach overnight. Nesting female turtles may get tangled in them, and for hatchlings, they are often impassable and disorienting. Place all trash and recyclables in the appropriate receptacles.
  • Fill in holes and flatten sand castles: Baby turtles often fall into the holes left on the beach and get disoriented and fall to prey.
  • Observe from a distance: Use a zoom lens and do not shine lights near the nests.
  • Don’t harass: Don’t pick up a baby turtle to “help it” on its journey to the water.
  • Leave nest sites alone: Do not disturb sea turtle nest markers. Obey these signs and please stay out of marked areas.
  • Sea Turtle Patrol Awareness Flyer: Click here to view/print.

To report light violation contact Town of HHI Code Enforcement Officers at 843-341-4600 or online at https://hiltonheadislandsc.gov/myhhi/.

To report dead, injured or harassed turtles contact the SC Department of Natural Resources hotline at 1-800-922-5431.


Manatees

Manatees are warm-weather visitors to South Carolina, typically arriving in May and leaving by November. Please see SCDNR’s Tips for Being Manatee Friendly below:

  • Dock owners should never feed manatees or give them fresh water.
  • Never pursue, harass or play with manatees. It is bad for the manatees and is illegal.
  • Boaters should look around for manatees before cranking their boat’s motor and watch for large swirls in the water that may be caused by manatees diving away.
  • Heed “slow speed,” “no wake” signs, especially around docks. Use caution when navigating in shallow water and along the edge of a marsh.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare, making it easier to spot manatees below the surface.

Report any wildlife violations to SCDNR’s 24/7 hotline: 1-800-922-5431.


Bottlenose Dolphins

It is estimated that a population of about 170 dolphins resides in the Hilton Head area year-round. Please see SCDNR’s tips below for Being Dolphin Friendly in South Carolina:

  • Use caution when navigating in shallow waters and tidal creeks.
  • Always heed “no wake” zones, operating boat at the lowest possible speed while maintaining steerage.
  • Never feed dolphins. This teaches animals to approach boats and docks, putting them at greater risk of a boat strike, and it is illegal. Do not dispose of fish carcasses when dolphins are nearby.
  • Never pursue, harass or interact with dolphins. It is dangerous for the animals and illegal.

Dolphins are not threatened or endangered but are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.


Sea Nettle Jellyfish

Common along the South Carolina coast in the months of August and September, this jellyfish is saucer-shaped, usually brown or red, and 6-8 inches in diameter. Four oral arms and long marginal tentacles hang from the bell and can extend several feet. Sea nettle stings are considered moderate to severe. This species causes most of the jellyfish stings that occur in South Carolina waters. Exercise caution if sea nettles are observed in the water, and do not swim if large numbers are present.

For more information about Jellyfish please visit: https://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/pub/seascience/jellyfish.html