There is an abundance of wildlife on the island, ranging from small insects to red and gray fox up to large alligators and deer. Wildlife should be observed from a distance and not approached or handled. Even the tamest-appearing animal can become hostile when it perceives a threat.
Bald Head Island is home to the American Alligator. These animals should never be approached, as they are wild animals. These predatory animals can become desensitized to humans, which will result in closer contact with humans and possible attacks. They may mistake you, your children or pets for food. It is illegal in North Carolina to feed or harass alligators, deer, raccoon, opossums, foxes or otters. A $500 fine will be issued to anyone feeding or harassing wildlife.
NEVER feed alligators, foxes or other wildlife! If you put anything in a freshwater pond, it will be perceived as food — so, no feeding the fish or turtles either. NO FISHING in ANY freshwater lagoons/ponds on Bald Head Island. Report any such activity to 911.
Alligators can jump six feet into the air from a state of rest, despite having large bodies and short limbs. They demonstrate quick bursts of speed to chase down prey that initially seems too fast and unattainable; therefore, observers are advised to stay at least 20 feet in distance from alligators.
Sea Turtles frequent the shores of Bald Head Island and are a federally protected species. It is unlawful to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect sea turtle hatchlings, eggs or adult turtles or their remains. Violating the law regarding this federally protected species can include up to a $100,000 fine and/or up to one (1) year in jail.
Please visit the BHI Conservancy for guided tours to view Bald Head Island wildlife. This is the safest and most preferred method to view wildlife while learning about their lifestyles and history. More information can be found at: www.bhic.org.
Sick and injured birds, raccoon, fox, deer and other animals should be avoided. If observed, call BHI Conservancy's wildlife hotline at 910-457-0089, ext. 5 and tell them the approximate location. Please remember that these animals should not be approached or touched. Animals can also carry rabies or other diseases that can cross over to the human population, resulting in sickness and sometimes even death.
WHO TO CONTACT FOR A WILDLIFE EMERGENCY:
Call 911 if you perceive danger from a sick or injured animal and alligators. Tell the dispatch operator that you are on Bald Head Island. After alerting Public Safety, please call BHI Conservancy's wildlife hotline at 910-457-0089, ext 5.
SEA TURTLE STRANDINGS:
Contact BHI Conservancy staff first. Call 910-457-0089 and press "5." If no one is available in a timely manner, contact officials below:
- Jean at the Karen Beasley at the Topsail Sea Turtle Hospital: 910-329-0222
- Matthew Godfrey — Sea Turtle Program Coordinator for NC WRC — Cell Phone: 252-728-1528
- Stranding Emergency Number: 252-241-7367
Please note it is illegal to take any part of a sea turtle — dead or alive — from the beach.
MARINE MAMMAL STRANDING (DEAD OR ALIVE):
- Contact BHI Conservancy staff first. Call 910-457-0089 and press "5." BHI Conservancy staff will contact the Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
- Phone: 910-962-7266 – Bill McLellan or Ann Pabst at University of North Carolina Wilmington.
- Cell: 910-264-9816 (Bill McLellan).
Please have the following information ready to report:
INJURED BIRD STRANDING:
Remain quiet if you encounter an injured bird. Do not handle the bird on your own. You can call 911 or the BHI Conservancy wildlife emergency hotline at 910-457-0089 and press "5." Be sure to report your exact location.
Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter
Deatsch Small Mammal Shelter
BHI Conservancy: https://www.bhic.org/injured-wildlife/
Loggerhead Turtles: https://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/species/turtles/loggerhead.html
Satellite Tracking of Sea Turtles: http://www.seaturtle.org/
- Exact location and directions to the stranding site
Number of animals involved
- Condition of animal (alive, dead or injured)
- Identification or description of animal (size, color, etc.)
- Names and telephone numbers of people involved
- Date and time of your observations
- Phone: 910-278-7871 / Cell 910-294-2555
- Where: 1600 Block of East Beach Road, Oak Island, NC
- What: The only federally permitted bird rescue and rehabilitation facility between Charleston and Morehead City.
- The BHI Conservancy will arrange transportation of injured small birds.
- Phone: 910-465-3272
- Where: Oak Island, NC
- The BHI Conservancy will arrange transportation of injured small mammals.