Although you’ll rarely come in contact with potentially dangerous wildlife species in the Greater Charleston area, it’s still important to know what is out there in the wild and what their behaviors are—even if it’s just to satisfy your curiosity.
Below we’ve spotlighted some of the Lowcountry’s most feared wildlife predators:
Black bears: Although the black bear is adorable, it’s definitely not an animal you want to get up-close-and-personal with. Weighing in at, on average, 150 – 350, black bears can get to be quite large and are, in fact, the largest land mammal in the State of South Carolina. Let’s just put it this way, you wouldn’t want to get in a physical altercation with them.
With a keen sense of smell, black bears can sometimes be found rummaging through campsites or even in homes in search of food. That’s why it’s important to make sure you dispose of trash properly at campsite grounds (and lock your doors when there are black bears around!
Black bears can also climb trees and are known to be excellent swimmers. Because of their ability to adapt to their environments, black bears can be found in a variety of different habitats through the State of South Carolina, but the largest populations are found in the northern region of the state, within the mountains, as well as in the Lowcountry area and coastal plains.
Image above taken from the SCDNR website.
Bobcats: A cute kitty in the wild might not be what you think it is. Just have a look at it’s tail, if it’s “bobbed” (or short and stumpy), it’s most likely a bobcat (unless, of course it was just a domesticated cat who had a run in with a car). You can also tell the difference between a bobcat and a domesticated cat because of a bobcat is often twice the size of a domesticated cat, and it has tufted ears. It’s legs are also longer.
The bobcat can be found all across the United States, and is often found in dense forest areas, as well as swamp areas.
Image above taken from animals.nationalgeographic.com
Alligators: One of the Lowcountry’s most famous and feared animals would have to be the American alligator.
Found throughout the swamps and the wetlands of the Lowcountry, as well as the entire southeast coastal areas of the United States, the American alligator is thought to be over 150 MILLION YEARS OLD!
They can live up to 50 years old in the wild and can grow up to 15 feet in length and weigh in at a whopping 1,000 lbs!
Spotted this gem recently!
And then, of course, there are the gators at Cypress Gardens
Sharks: Thanks to Hollywood and riveting television shows like the ones shown on Shark Week, people have become truly infatuated with sharks. And for good reasons, too: they’re extremely frightening and mysterious!
Some of the common shark species found off the coast of South Carolina include the Atlantic sharpnose, bonnethead, blacktip, finetooth, smooth dogfish, tiger shark, shortfin mako, and scalloped hammerhead.
Swing by the South Carolina Aquarium in downtown Charleston to witness sandtiger sharks and black tip sharks, as well as chain dogfish.