Wildlife watching in outer banks: Explore the Wild side in Spring

26 June 2024 | Published By: Hotels OBX

Spring in the Outer Banks is super colorful and great for people who love nature and families wanting to see the wild side of this pretty coast. You can see amazing wild horses in Corolla and fun dolphins by the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Outer Banks is more than just a pretty beach area.

The Majestic Wild Horses of Corolla

One of the most iconic images of the Outer Banks is wild horses roaming freely along the northern beaches of Corolla. These beautiful animals are believed to be descendants of Spanish Mustangs and have lived here for centuries. The best time of year to see wild horses in the Outer Banks is spring when the weather is mild. The horses are often seen grazing near the shore or playing in the surf.

During a morning beach walk last spring, I was filled with awe and wonder as I witnessed these beautiful animals up close. With its mild weather, spring is the best time to see the Outer Banks wildlife. Look in the early morning and evenings for the best chance to witness their untamed spirit, a spirit that perfectly captures the essence of the Outer Banks.

Must-See Outer Banks Wildlife Spot: Northern Beaches of Corolla: Keep your camera ready and maintain a respectful distance while observing these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

Black Bears in the Outer Banks

Encountering a black bear might seem daunting, but it's good to know that you may see black bears in the Outer Banks. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is most likely where you will see a black bear in the Outer Banks. Spring and Summer are when you will more likely see a bear.  Black bears are omnivores, eating both plants and animals. The Outer Banks wildlife primarily feeds on berries, acorns, insects, fish, and sometimes small mammals.

Safety Precautions

While black bears generally avoid humans, it's important to know what to do if you encounter one in the Outer Banks. Do not approach or feed black bears, as this can cause them to become habituated and lose their natural fear of humans. If camping or hiking in an area known for black bear activity, properly store your food and trash in bear-proof containers.

What To Do If You Encounter a Black Bear

If you do come across a black bear while exploring the Outer Banks wildlife, remember these safety tips:
  • Stay calm and back away slowly without turning your back on the bear.
  • Avoid direct eye contact, as this can be seen as a threat.
  • Speak calmly and firmly to the bear while slowly raising your arms above your head to make yourself look bigger.
  • If the bear stands on its hind legs, it is not necessarily being aggressive but trying to get a better view or sense of smell. Slowly back away and give it space.
  • Do not run or climb a tree, as black bears are excellent climbers and can outrun humans in short distances.
It is very important to remember that black bears are wild animals and should be respected from a safe distance. It's always best to observe them from afar rather than approaching them for a closer encounter.

Conservation Efforts

Historically, black bears were considered endangered due to hunting and habitat loss. However, the black bear population has significantly returned thanks to conservation efforts and stricter hunting regulations. The Outer Banks is now home to one of the largest populations of black bears on the East Coast.

Must-See Outer Banks Wildlife Spot:

  • Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is home to black bears and various other wildlife.

Alligators in the Outer Banks

Are there alligators in the Outer Banks? Absolutely! The Outer Banks aren't just about beaches and lighthouses; they're also home to some toothy neighbors. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge didn't get its name by accident—it’s a prime hangout for these fascinating reptiles. While you're more likely to spot other wildlife, keep your eyes peeled; you might catch a gator lounging like a prehistoric sunbather or doing a stealthy glide through the waters.

Exploring the refuge can be thrilling, perhaps more so than you bargained for. Who knows, you might walk away with a wild, scaly tale to tell! Before you venture into the marshes, here are a few friendly tips now that you know there are alligators in the Outer Banks. While alligators may seem slow-moving, they can run up to 30 miles per hour on land. And if you think their jaws are strong, you're right—they have the strongest bite force of any living animal.

But don't worry; as intimidating as alligators may seem, they usually keep to themselves and avoid humans. Remember to keep a safe distance and never approach or feed them.

Plan a trip to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. They have programs and guided tours that give you all the facts. You may even glimpse one basking in the sun or swimming gracefully through the water. Just remember always to keep your eyes peeled and admire them from afar. You can also visit the Roanoke Island Aquarium to see alligators up close and personal (but still at a safe distance!). Happy Gator spotting!

Must-See Spot:

  • Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge: Look around the waterways and marshes for a chance to see alligators in their natural environment.

Dolphins and Birdwatching along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore: Whether looking for dolphins or engaging in peaceful birdwatching, this area is a treasure trove of natural wonders. Embark on a sunset cruise and be mesmerized by dolphins frolicking in the waves.
  • Ocracoke Island: Hike through the maritime forests to encounter the island’s diverse wildlife in a serene and picturesque setting. The forests are home to deer, various bird species, and sometimes even black bears.

Plan Your Outer Banks Wildlife Adventure Today!

Outer Banks Wildlife offers an unparalleled experience for enthusiasts and family travelers. Whether you're witnessing the wild horses of Corolla, spotting a black bear in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, or enjoying a dolphin cruise along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, every moment spent here is filled with the wonders of nature.

Other Outdoor Outer Banks Activities:

  • Beachcombing: Enjoy the simple pleasure of walking along the pristine beaches, collecting shells, and discovering marine life.
  • Kayaking: Explore the coastal waters and marshes by kayak for a tranquil and intimate Outer Banks wildlife-watching experience.

Stay at the Comfort Inn on the Ocean in the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is a popular vacation destination. It’s not just all about the beach. Now you know it’s also for those who truly enjoy wildlife. As you plan a trip to this stunning coastal region, book your stay at the Comfort Inn on the Ocean. Located right on the beach, the Comfort Inn offers guests easy access to miles of sandy shoreline and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Inside, spacious and comfortable guest rooms await. Some rooms even have private balconies with ocean views, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the beachy atmosphere. The Comfort Inn is just a short drive from popular attractions and activities in the Outer Banks. So why wait? Plan your adventure in the Outer Banks Wildlife today! Embrace the wild, create lasting memories, and discover the natural beauty that makes this region a true gem. Contact us to Book your stay with OBX Hotels and explore the Outer Banks wildlife!

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