OTHER MAMMALS ON KIAWAH
Mink are weasel-like, semi-aquatic mammals that inhabit both fresh and salt-water environments. They have
a long slender body (20-24 in), dark brown fur, short legs, partially webbed feet, and weigh 1-4 lbs. Mink are voracious predators
and will capture and eat a large variety of animals, including: crabs, snakes, fish, birds, clams, rats, and mice.
Opossums are fairly common on Kiawah, but like raccoons are only seen after dark.
Opossums are about the size of a house cat, with gray-white fur, black legs, and a rat-like, prehensile tail. The tail offers
great help while climbing, allowing them to firmly grasp even large branches. Opossums are omnivorous, eating a variety
of prey, including: small mammals, fruits, seeds, and insects. The opossum is the only marsupial found in North America. Female
marsupials have a pouch in which the young are reared through early infancy. Opossums breed from December to February and young
are born 15 days later with most development of young occurring in the pouch. Litter sizes range from 7 to 15 in the southeastern
Raccoons are well known for their curiosity and intelligence. They are very abundant on Kiawah, though typically
only seen at night. The raccoon is easily distinguished by its black facial mask and ringed tail. Raccoons can vary in
color from gray to brown, and adults weigh between 12-25 lbs. Raccoons are omnivorous, consuming both plant and animal
matter. Preferred prey items include acorns, blackberry, wild grapes, persimmon, and invertebrates (crayfish, insects). Additionally,
the raccoon is an efficient predator of eggs of ground-nesting birds and will also readily consume food scraps and garbage. Raccoons breed from February-June and young, known as kits, are born 63 days later. Dens are typically located in a hollow tree
or cavity above the ground. Kits are blind until 3 weeks of age and travel with the female beginning at 2 months, leaving to
find their own territory in the fall. View information on "Daytime" raccoons.
River otters are long, streamlined animals, well adapted to life in the water. They are present
on Kiawah in small numbers and can be found in both fresh and saltwater areas. Otters are 3-4 feet long and weigh between 12-25
pounds. An otter has short brownish-gray fur, webbed feet, and a long tail that is used as a rudder while swimming. Otters
feed on a variety of aquatic animals, including: fish, snakes, turtles, frogs, and crayfish. They are most active at night
but can be seen during the day as well. Otters breed in late spring, but do not give birth to young until the following spring.
Otter dens are located in holes dug along creeks and rivers or in hollow stumps located near water. Females give birth to 2-4
young, called kits, each year. Kits will typically leave the den at 10 weeks of age and stay with the female, learning to swim
and hunt, until the following spring.
News and Information
Town of Kiawah Island
21 Beachwalker Drive
Kiawah Island, SC 29455