Posted on 3/3/2020

World Wildlife Day - OBX Edition

An international day for celebrating animals and raising awareness to their protection and conservation.

Happy World Wildlife Day! We are so eager to share this special day with you all! On this international day of celebrating, were proud to share what the Outer Banks contributes to the intricate worldwide web of wildlife.  I mean, it is the beautiful nature of this sandbar that draws visitors from across the world, right?

With our unique location, we have a diverse array of creatures that hail from the ocean, wetlands, maritime forests, dunes, and more. The ocean is home to the largest and most diverse ecosystems known to humankind. Wetlands are home to 40% of all plant and animal species. We have a lot going on here!

Were happy to scratch the surface of our local wildlife for you. Well include helpful information on how you can help ensure their safety and protection, so future generations can continue marveling at these animals!

Colonial Spanish Mustangs

The Outer Banks, and recently exclusively only Corolla, ishome to one of the last populations of the Colonial Spanish Mustang. They are arobust, though critically endangered, breed. Their beauty has inspired many,and history lives on through these horses. Arriving on ships with the Spaniardsbefore the United States was even a nation, they still stand on the same beachesgenerations later. Stalky in stature, they have certainly adapted to life on asandbar.

In the 1920s it was estimated that the population wasroughly 5,000-6,000 horses in size.  Today the population stands around 100. Foalingseason, in the spring-late summer, is an exciting time for potential herdgrowth, as we see foals born on our beaches.

Their roundness and plump stomachs are due to the salty nature of their environment and diet. It causes water retention and bloating of their big ole bellies. Being isolated on this barrier island, exposed only to what is indigenous in the area, their digestive tract is specialized to only digest what naturally grows here. Beach grasses, persimmons, and sea oats, to name a few, have sustained and nourished them for years.

With that being said, this is why it is so important to never feed a wild horse apples, carrots, or whatever you might feed your domesticated horse. They are not adapted to a regular horse's diet. These items are indigestible and thus, fatal. Sometimes people will pick grass and feed them. This is also dangerous to the horses (and humans) because they will become dependent upon humans for food, and will become habituated to human interaction -- resulting in their removal from the beach. In an effort to keep the horses wild, and unhabituated, law mandates a minimum of a 50-foot distance from the horses at all times.

They have no natural predators. Their biggest threat has always been humans and development. The more we treat them like the critically endangered wild animals that they are, and respect their habitat, the more likely theyll be on our beaches for future generations to enjoy!

Keeping Wild Horses Safe:

Corolla Wild Horse Fund
  • Never feed
  • Always maintain min. 50 ft, even if they approach you
  • Do not manipulate their behavior (clicking, whistling etc. habituates horses)
  • Opt for renting/buying property that is not in their shrinking, final habitat of Swan Beach & Carova

We love our wild mustangs and take any opportunity we can toeducate the population on their endangerment, and steps we can take to protectthem. Lets keep them wild, free and happily on the beach!




Where to start with our shelled friends? We have so many! Theres an amazing variety of terrapin on the OBX. Five different types of sea turtles nest upon our beaches, including: Loggerhead, Kemps Ridley, Leatherback, Hawksbill and Green Turtles.

Fun facts about sea turtles:

Chances are, if youre driving along the residential areas in the spring and summertime, you may have to stop and allow a turtle/tortoise to cross over; or you may be on the beach and see a designated sea turtle nesting area.  What can we do in these situations to help and ensure their safety?

If you see a turtle crossing the road, so long as the road is not busy, allow it to cross over on its own. Stop your car and put on 4-way flashers to alert other motorists. If you feel its necessary to assist, ensure your safety first. Always send a turtle off in the direction it was headed. Never turn the turtle around.

US Fish and Wildlife

Tips to keep Sea Turtle Nests Safe: