Animals on Hilton Head Island

It’s a wild world out there! Whether you choose to explore Hilton Head Island by land, sea or air, here is a guide to just a few of the creatures you might encounter on your next adventure.

American AlligatorAlligator juvenile

Habitat: Freshwater

Size: Can grow up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds

Lifespan: Up to 50 years

Diet: An apex predator that will eat anything, alive or dead, it can get its jaws around.

Fast Fact: To determine the length of an alligator, count the inches between the nose bump and eye bump: that number translates into feet


Roseate Spoonbill

Photo Credit: Author-User:Mwanner

Roseate Spoonbill

Habitat: Nest in Lowcountry marshes during the summer months.

Color: White head and neck, light pink wings with bright pink borders and pink legs

Size: Up to 2.5 feet tall with a five-foot wingspan

Diet: Use their large, spoon-shaped bill to detect small fish, invertebrates, shrimp and crabs

Fast Fact: Nest in large colonies with their own species, as well as other wading birds, over water.

Southern Stingray

Habitat: Tropical and subtropical waters.

Size: Up to 6 ½ feet wide and more than 200 pounds. The tail can be twice as long as the body.

Lifespan: Up to 13 years.

Diet: Forage for crustaceans, fish, shellfish and oceanic worms in saltwater shallows.

Fast Fact: Give live birth. The number of pups a female has is directly related to her size.

Atlantic Sharpnose SharkCobia Fishing Trip

Habitat: Warm, tropical waters, both inshore and offshore.

Size: Grow up to 3 ½ feet.

Lifespan: Up to 12 years.

Diet: Small, bony fish, as well as worms, shrimp, crabs and mollusks.

Fast Fact: Have 25 rows of teeth on both their upper and lower jaws.

American Green Tree Frog

Habitat: Coastal plains, especially under porch lights on summer nights.

Size: 1-2 inches long.

Diet: Insects.

Breeding Habits: Males belt out songs to attract females and establish their territory.

Fast Fact: Sensitive to pollution, they serve as important indicators of environmental conditions.

Yellow Crowned Night Heron

Habitat: Marshes and mangrove swamps to wooded forests, lakes and rivers.

Size: Up to 2 feet tall.

Diet: Crustaceans, insects, small fish and reptiles.

Breeding Habits: Monogamous and nest in the same area every year.

Fast Fact: Small prey is swallowed whole, while larger prey may be shaken until it breaks apart or is crushed or speared by the beak.