Wildlife & Habitat


Visitors come to Santee National Wildlife Refuge for the diversity of wildlife species present here.  With nearly 300 bird species, 45 mammals, 54 reptiles, and more than 100 species of fish, Santee is a great place to get outdoors and enjoy nature!

  • Alligator


    The American Alligator is common to see at Santee, nearly year-round.  Drive through the Cuddo Unit Wildlife Drive, looking closely along "Alligator Alley"  where many large alligators like to bask during the sunny afternoons.  Be careful to never approach or attempt to feed an alligator!

  • Painted bunting


    Commonly seen from April - September, painted buntings nest at the Santee National Wildlife Refuge.  Painted buntings forage on the ground in dense cover, among grasses, or at seed feeders. Sometimes they venture out into grass to forage on seeds, which is where they are commonly seen at the refuge.  

  • Waterfowl


    Over a dozen species of ducks use the refuge as an overwintering area.  Wood ducks, or summer ducks, also nest throughout the refuge using the wooden boxes along the edges of impoundments and ditches.  Commonly seen waterfowl species seen in the winter months include teal, scaup, and shovelers.