Wildlife watching - Santee National Wildlife Refuge
Eastern fox squirrel in tree at Santee NWR

A host of wildlife species inhabit the varied landscapes of Santee NWR. The forests are home to white-tailed deer, raccons, eastern fox squirrels and bobcat. Ponds, marshes, and other wetland areas afford prime habitat for alligators, turtles, salamanders and a host of fish and insects. Birds can be found practically anywhere and at any season of the year. The hiking trails and observation platforms and towers at the Bluff Unit and Dingle Pond are excellent for catching sight of a number of different animals. Enjoy the 7.5 mile auto drive and hiking trails on the Cuddo Unit. Turkey, deer and very large alligators are common as are a variety of bird species. An automatic gate on the wildlife drive controls the hours of access to minimize disturbance to wildlife. 

Be sure to dress for the weather and bring insect repellent. Pick up maps at the Visitor Center before you head out to the trails and pack binoculars and field guides. If needed, the Visitor Center has a loaner backpack (complete with binoculars and guides) for your use. Visitor access on portions of the refuge is seasonally limited to provide migratory bird sanctuary areas for wintering ducks and geese. Please check with the refuge office for details on any closures.

Related Documents
Santee NWR Brochure

Santee NWR general brochure provides an overview of the refuge. This includes wildlife species that inhabit the refuge and management tools undertaken in support of the diversity of wildlife. Visitor opportunities and prohibited activities are noted. The brochure provides a guide to seasonal...

Santee NWR Wildlife Drive Interpretive Guide

The Wildlife Drive sheet is a map for the refuge units and specifically for the Cuddo Unit where visitors can drive the dirt and gravel 71/2 mile auto tour route. Included is an intepretive guide for wildlife and habitats along the route. 

Santee NWR Map and Information Sheet

The sheet provides two maps showing refuge units with legends for canoe, bicycle and hiking trails. Information on resource managment, visitor opportunities, and wildlife tips are provided. Prohibited activities are listed.