Kiawah Island is known for its incredible houses, pristine beaches and glorious ocean views. What many people may not realize is the abundance of wildlife at Kiawah Island and the opportunities to experience nature at its finest.
The island is home to deer, bobcats, raccoons, bald eagles, osprey and 30 species of reptiles. In 2007, the Town of Kiawah Island partnered with the Kiawah Conservancy to launch a bobcat GPS study, collecting information from 64 bobcats over the years. Researchers have been able to gather details about bobcat habitats, reproductive success, food habits and their response to development on the island. Follow along with the progress on the website devoted to wildlife on Kiawah Island.
Dozens of birds from sparrows to wrens and wood-warblers to sandpipers pass through the island, some of them taking up permanent residence while others are seasonal visitors. Avid birdwatchers can download a checklist of birds to go with their binoculars.
If you’re visiting Kiawah Resort, take part in one of the many nature programs. A great place to learn more about Kiawah Island’s vast four-legged and feathered inhabitants is at the Heron Park Nature Center.
Or simply grab a bike or canoe to explore the island and catch a glimpse of wildlife in their natural setting. Kiawah Island has 30 miles of paved trails and 10 miles of hard-packed trails for walking and biking. Go boating and fishing in the Kiawah River or explore the salt marshes and tidal creeks in a canoe or kayak. Here’s a list of places to see wildlife on Kiawah.
The Kiawah Conservancy enhances the quality of life on the island, preserves natural habitats and creates programs to assist property owners in protecting the unique environment of Kiawah Island that drew them to the area in the first place.
In addition to educational programs, the Conservancy has a launched a new series of audio tours, called Naturally Kiawah Pathways: Central Island. This tour uses the bicycle pathways as a guide to explore the natural areas of the island while learning about island history. Download the free Travel Storys GPS app to access the audio tours.
Naturalists and island biologists are constantly tracking the animals that live in and around the ocean, saltwater marshes, dunes, maritime forests and ponds. The Town of Kiawah Island takes wildlife management seriously with a full-time and assistant wildlife biologist on staff who coordinate with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and other island entities, including the Kiawah Conservancy, Heron Park Nature Center and the Kiawah Island Community Association.
Natural living on Kiawah Island is easy with the many amenities, parks and nature programs. And the houses themselves take advantage of the island’s unspoiled, natural beauty. Wraparound porches, decks and outdoor living spaces give homeowners the chance to experience nature from the comforts of their own homes. Natural light and views of the ocean, marsh and lagoon spill into the living rooms of many Kiawah Island homes.
Anyone with an appreciation for the South Carolina Lowcountry and coastal beauty will be drawn to Kiawah Island – whether as a primary residence or for a vacation home. Either way it’s a serene setting with views that make it impossible to not become a true nature lover.