Each year new visitors from all over the world come enjoy Mother Nature on the Outer Banks and fall in love with it. Hatteras Island is such a unique and diverse environment, outdoors enthusiasts across the board continually find themselves coming back time after time, always discovering something new and exciting they haven’t experience before. Check out these 10 fun facts about wildlife and nature here on the Outer Banks for your next vacation.
1. Hatteras Island is a hub in the Atlantic Flyway.
As part of the Outer Banks, Hatteras Island is a vital stop along the Atlantic Flyway, the route a vast majority of all East Coast migratory birds take on their travels north or south for the season.
2. We love our wild ponies.
The wild Outer Banks ponies have been around since the 1730s when the first European settlers made the long journey across the Atlantic. In the 1950s, the Boy Scouts of Ocracoke cared for the Ocracoke Banker Ponies and had the only mounted troop in the nation.
3. The Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to a great variety of wildlife.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that at any given time there are 365 species of birds, 25 species of mammals, 24 species of reptiles, and 5 species of amphibians in Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.
4. Buxton Woods is a hidden treasure trove of nature and critters.
A hidden gem, Buxton Woods offers over a thousand years of history and scenic paths to explore through the heart of the island’s wildlife and nature. The woods are also home to Hatteras Island’s oldest and tallest dunes.
5. Our cooler sands produces mostly male sea turtles!
We all know Cape Hatteras is a popular site for sea turtle nests, but did you know that the temperature of the sand determines the gender of the hatchlings? Warm sands produce mostly females while cooler sands produce mostly males. This is why our coastline produces a large portion of the male population for the entire North Atlantic from Florida to Virginia.
6. Hatteras Island is home to one of North America’s fastest lizards.
One of six species of lizards on Hatteras Island, the six-lined race runner, is the “Speedy Gonzales” of reptiles. Named after the distinct six-line pattern running down their backs, these little guys travel up to 18 mph making them one of the fastest reptiles in North America.
7. Colliding currents make for world-renowned fishing.
Hatteras Island is located closer to the Gulf Stream than any point in the US north of Stuart, Florida. Off the coast of Hatteras, the cooler waters of the Labrador Current collide with the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream providing fish from both directions, leaving endless variety and quality for anglers. Source: Albatross Fleet
8. You can catch a glimpse of the Milky Way under our dark skies.
The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is one of the darkest and best places for star gazing along the East Coast. Currently the Seashore is in the process of being validated as 1 of 67 places worldwide, including 37 parks, to be recognized by the Arizona-based Dark Sky Association!
9. Reptiles thrive on the Outer Banks.
Did you know 59 species of reptiles have been recorded in Dare County since 1588? Of those, 32 have been documented at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
10. Salt water isn’t the only place you can reel in a nice catch on Hatteras Island.
Sandwiched between the sound and the ocean, Hatteras Island is known for salt water fishing, but did you know there is some great freshwater bass fishing around the island as well? You just have to know where to look, so ask a local angler next time you’re in town.
Don’t forget to bookmark these fun facts for your next Hatteras Island vacation!