20 endangered species you can find in Myrtle Beach

News

Courtesy: North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety/Facebook

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Keep an eye out for any rare species wiggling, swimming or flying their way through the Grand Strand.

Dozens of endangered, threatened and at-risk species can be found in Horry County, including multiple types of turtles, whales, plants and birds.

While some species — like turtles — can be interesting to watch, most of the species listed below do have some level of federal protection, making it illegal to kill, harm or disturb them.

Do not bother nesting sea turtles, and be sure to fill in any holes on the beach at the end of the day, turn off lights and never use flash photography or shine a flashlight on them. Penalties for violations can be up to $10,000.

Here are 20 rare species that can be found in Horry County and their protection status, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

  1. Loggerhead sea turtle

Status: Federally threatened, critical habitat

The turtles, named after their large heads, eat hard-shelled prey like whelks and conchs. Their top shell is slightly heart-shaped and reddish brown. Their bottom shell is pale yellow. Adult turtles are 36 inches long and weigh about 250 lbs.

  1. Green sea turtle

Status: Threatened

The turtles grow up to four feet long and can weigh 440 lbs. They can be recognized by their heart-shaped shells, small heads. Adults have light brown heads with yellow markings

  1. Venus flytrap

Status: Emerging conservation priority species

The carnivorous plant is native to North and South Carolina. The Venus flytrap closes after an insect touches its bristles. They live in the acidic soil of wetlands, eating ants, mosquitoes, flies and spiders. They can live up to 20 years in the wild, flowering in May through June.

  1. West Indian manatee

Status: Threatened

Manatees can be spotted in marine, estuarine and freshwater environments. There’s two types of West Indian manatee — the Florida manatee and the Artillean manatee. Adults can be nine feet long and weigh 1,000 lbs. The species has historically been known to appear in South Carolina during the summer

  1. Leatherback sea turtle

Status: Endangered

The turtles are the largest, deepest diving and most wide-ranging of any sea turtle. Adults can be up to eight feet long and 2,000 lbs. Their shell is made up of small bones covered by a rubbery skin. They’re mostly black and can include pale spotting.

  1. Red-cockaded woodpecker

Status: Threatened

The woodpeckers are small, black and white and have a long bill. They mostly eat ants, beetles and spiders. The birds will typically have the same mate for multiple years.

  1. Kemp’s ridley sea turtle

Status: Endangered

As the smallest of any sea turtle species, adults are only two feet long and weigh up to 100 lbs. The turtles, which have triangular heads, mostly eat crabs.

  1. Saltmarsh sparrow

Status: Petitioned for listing, no federal protections currently exist

The medium-sized sparrows have long, cone-like bills, short tails and orange eyebrows and throat patches. The sparrow is only found in tidal salt marshes in the eastern U.S. 

  1. Sperm whale

Status: Endangered

Sperm whales are the largest toothed whales and can be found in all deep oceans. They’re named after spermaceti, the waxy substance on their heads that helps them focus sound. The commercial whaling industry in the1800s to the 1980s, almost completely decimated the species.

  1. Carolina-birds-in-a-nest

Status: Petitioned for listing, no federal protections currently exist

The tall herbs can reach three feet high, with opposite leaves and square stems. The flowers are pink or lavender and are about one inch long. The plant gets its name from the four small seeds that develop, which look like four eggs in a nest.

  1. Spotted turtle

Status: Petitioned for listing, no federal protections currently exist

The small turtle can grow up to four and a half inches long. They are black with yellow spots. They can be found in South Carolina in the coastal plain, including on barrier islands.

  1. Finback whale

Status: Endangered

The whales are the second-largest whale species on Earth and can be recognized from a fin on their back near their tails. Their numbers were nearly decimated by commercial whalers in the mid-1900s. 

  1. American wood stork

Status: Threatened

The storks live in swamps, marshes, ponds and lagoons. The birds have historically been mostly in southern Florida, but have been shifting north. They’ve recently appeared in South Carolina.

  1. Atlantic sturgeon

Status: Endangered

The fish are hatched in the freshwaters of rivers before going to sea as juveniles. They then return to the freshwaters to spawn. The sturgeons have five rows of bony plates along their bodies and snouts with four barbels.  

  1. Humpback whale

Status: Endangered

Most humpback whale populations were reduced by more than 95% by commercial whaling before restrictions went into place in 1985. The whales are remerging, but still face threats. Some whales can swim up to 5,000 miles when migrating.

  1. Monarch butterfly

Status: Petitioned for listing, no federal protections currently exist

The distinctive butterflies travel between 1,200 and 2,800 miles during migration. The butterflies hibernate in central Mexican mountain forests, and adults only live about four to five weeks. The butterfly’s scientific name, “Danaus plexippus,” means “sleepy transformation” in greek.

  1. Tri-colored bat

Status: Petitioned for listing, no federal protections currently exist

The bats used to be known as the eastern pipistrelle. They weigh a whopping .3 ounces, have a wingspan of 10 inches and have black wing membranes, pink face and ears and pink skin on the radius bone. Their feet are large compared to their body size.

  1. Right whale

Status: Endangered

Right whales are some of the most endangered whale species worldwide. The whales eat tiny crustaceans by filtering large amounts of water through baleen plates.

  1. Southern hognose snake

Status: Petitioned for listing, no federal protections currently exist

The snakes were first documented by contemporary scientists in 1766 in Charleston. It’s the smallest hognose snake native in North America. 

  1. Sei whale

Status: Endangered

The word “sei” comes from the Norweigan word for pollock. The whales can be found in subtropical, temperate and subpolar waters. Their populations were nearly decimated due to commercial whaling during the 19th and 20th centuries, when about 300,000 were killed. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

MOST POPULAR

get the app

My FOX8 News App

Follow FOX8 on Twitter