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24 Aug 2022
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One of the best things about any island vacation is the wildlife and Oak Island is close to some of the best and most abundant species around. If you’re vacationing here, it’s always worth checking out places where you can see some of these amazing species.

It’s a great time of year to book a vacation rental with off-season prices. Check out some of our vacation rental specials in Oak Island and contact us if you have any questions!

Baby Sea Turtles

Did you know there are 7 different species of sea turtles? There is leatherback, loggerhead, green, Kemp’s ridley, hawksbill, flatback, and Olive ridley. Unfortunately, all 7 species are on some level of threat on the threatened and endangered species list.  That’s why so many caring people work hard to help hatchlings successfully reach the ocean with as little negative human interference as possible, such as protecting nests and turning off bright lights around nesting areas.

While Oak Island can sometimes see green and leatherback nests, loggerhead nests are the most common on Oak Island and surrounding beaches. Their nesting season starts in May and runs through October, which means you may see some of these amazing creatures, or at least their cute little tracks, heading off to the ocean if you’re lucky!

While it may be fascinating to see them, there are many rules on beaches, like staying off the dunes and not shining bright lights on the beaches at night, so that hatchlings have the best possible success rate for survival. If you see them, make sure you’re following all the rules, so you don’t accidentally hurt, crowd, or endanger their nests.

If you’d like to learn more about the conservation efforts of sea turtles on Oak Island, check out OKI Sea Turtle for a plethora of information about each species, what they’re doing to help, how they track sea turtle data important to their efforts, and even how you can volunteer!

A great place to see loggerhead sea turtles is Bald Head Island. It is NC’s largest nesting site for loggerhead sea turtles.

Learn more about loggerhead sea turtles in this short video!

Facts: The Loggerhead Sea Turtle – Deep Marine Scenes

American Beavers

Beavers can be found all over North Carolina, but will most likely build their homes around ponds, streams, rivers, or lakes where they can build dams, lodges, or burrows. They are herbivores and love to eat the inner bark of different species of trees. But they can also be seen consuming water plants and other vegetation.

In the Autumn months beavers stockpile tree branches and trees close to their dwellings so they can eat the twigs and leaves from them in the winter. Some of their other favorite foods are pond lilies, reeds, duckweed, alfalfa, and clover.

Beavers are monogamous and mate for life. Each spring they usually produce one litter of kits, which will stay with the mom for a year and then live in the colony up to their second year. On average they live around 10 years, but some can live up to 20 years.

Typically, beavers try to stay away from people, however you might see one or a colony if you’re out in any wetland areas like the Intercoastal Waterway along the North Carolina coast.

american beaver amazing wildlife oak island


North Carolina has red and gray foxes. Sometimes other color variations can be found, but they are rarer. Even more rare is seeing them around your vacation rental on the beach like these Oak Island tourists who saw foxes playing just yards from where they stood watching the sunrise.

Foxes love all kinds of habitats and can be found roaming through pastures, farmlands, fields, and forests. And apparently sometimes even beaches. Maybe you will get lucky and spot one on your next vacation to Oak Island.

fox amazing wildlife oak island

Bird Varieties

If you’re a bird lover, you’ll want to check out Zeke’s Island Reserve. It is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve located on the Cape Fear River basin. You can get there by taking the ferry from Bald Head Island.

Due to its diverse and unusual varied habitat, all kinds of species of birds, plants, animals, and aquatic life live in the area, making it rich for tourists, bird lovers, and researchers alike.

Some of the bird species you might see are a diverse variety of shorebirds like egrets, great blue herons, black-bellied plovers, dunlin, short-billed dowitchers, and white ibis. You might even see a few different kinds of ducks, which have been known to show up on occasion.

white ibis amazing wildlife oak island


There are 17 different species of bats that can be found in North Carolina some of which are on the federally endangered and threatened lists. They are mammals and represent one-quarter of all mammal species worldwide.

Typically, they are found in locations like mines and caves but can be known to use other locations that might offer shelter such as bridges or even buildings. Like bears, they will hibernate in the winter unless they migrate to a warmer climate during those months.

Bats normally have one pup at a time, and some species will form colonies for maternity purposes and work together to raise the young. Other species may be found raising their young on their own.

They are usually active at dusk, nighttime, and in the early morning hours. Contrary to old beliefs, bats have great eyesight and with their ability to echolocate, they can see very precisely in the dark, which is great for hunting and foraging for food.

brown bat amazing wildlife oak island

If you encounter injured or sick wildlife, you can contact the Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter for birds and visit the North Carolina Wildlife website to find out how to help animals.

If you love wildlife, visiting Oak Island is a great place to stay for a vacation due to its laidback atmosphere, which is inviting to humans and wildlife alike.


We have some amazing rentals on special for the Fall season. If you have any questions about any of our rentals, please contact us. We’d love to help you plan an amazing vacation you won’t soon forget!