Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge - OBX Alligators & Wolfs, & Bears, Oh My!

Black Bear at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
photo by Seaside Photography
Alligators & Wolfs,& Bears, Oh My! on the OBX!

A large majority of visitors that drive to the Outer Banks cross the Alligator River on their journey to the Outer Banks. As they go through the sparsely populated village of East Lake on the mainland of Dare County, traveling scenic highway 264, many will notice the abundance of Wildlife signs. Deer crossing signs, Bear crossing signs, and National Wildlife signs.

Many don't realize that they passed the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge established in 1984. As a result, an abundance of wildlife populates this vast area.

When most people think of Alligators, they think of the Florida Everglades or the Louisiana Bayou, not the Outer Banks. Yet, there are 152,000 archers in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge, located on the mainland of Dare & Hyde County, NC. 

The American Alligators in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge are an endangered species under the Federal Government's protection. The American Alligator is the Outer Banks' most famous Reptile on the Refuge. American Alligators have swum in the border canals of highway 64/264; you may see cars parked along the roadside, taking pictures. American Alligators have also been photographed at Milltail Creek & Sawyer Lake.

The largest population of Black Bears in the Southeastern United States live at the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge. It's not unusual to see dozens of Black Bears in an hour's drive through the Refuge. There are "RULES OF BEHAVIOR AROUND BEARS"
Posted by the US Fish & Wildlife Service for the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge at, 
Black Bear on Road at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
 photo by Seaside Photography

The Endangered Red Wolf roams the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge, making this Refuge the only place in the whole world to see the Red Wolf in their natural wild habitat.

Several turtles live in the Refuge. Yellow-Bellied Sliders sun themselves on fallen logs in the canals often. There are snapping turtles in the waterways. You may also see a box turtle in its natural wooded habitat.

There are eight snake species known to inhabit the Outer Banks. Only two are venomous. The Cotton Mouth is the world's only semi-aquatic venomous snake and is indigenous to the area. The Timber Rattlesnake is the other venomous snake that inhabits the Outer Banks. 

Gravel roads run through the Refuge, available for public traffic from sunrise to sunset. The speed limit on the Alligator River Wildlife Refuge is 35 miles per hour unless otherwise posted. 
Please see Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge Rules & Regulations. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Alligator_River/visit/rules_and_regulations.html

Pets are required to be on a leash not to exceed 10 feet in
length, while in the Alligator National Wildlife Refuge.

Several Outer Banks businesses offer guided tours of this sanctuary. In addition, the National Wildlife Service also schedules tours, please see: 

Coastal NC Refuges Gateway Visitor Center  https://www.fws.gov/ncgatewayvc/ 
100 Conservation Way
Manteo, NC 27954
(252) 473-1131

Learn more about Manteo on Historic Roanoke Island: Roanoke Island - Pet Friendly OBX!

 Alligator National Wildlife Refuge
Milltail Road
East Lake, NC 27935

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