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Daufuskie Island: South Carolina’s Travel Oasis – Jeff Stafford


Tour DaufuskieStafford Article Image2 has the pleasure of exposing this beautiful sea island with people who truly appreciate her. We thank Jeff Stafford for his representation of and reflections on the island.

Check out his article!

Daufuskie Island: South Carolina’s Island Oasis


Grey Fox Squirrels on Daufuskie

If you have ever taken a tour around Daufuskie Island, chances are that you have seen a very peculiar animal scurrying about.  Appearing to be an over-sized squirrel with grey and black coloration, these curious creatures stop tourists in their tracks.  They are Grey Fox Squirrels, and have been prevalent on Daufuskie Island for hundreds of years.

Daufuskie Island Fox Squirrel

Daufuskie Island Grey Fox Squirrel

Why do the Grey Fox Squirrels look so different from the rest of the squirrel family?  Scientists have come up with an interesting hypothesis, and it all comes down to the relationship between the squirrels and a tree.  Fox Squirrels love to eat the seeds from cones of the Longleaf Pine tree, which used to be very prevalent on Daufuskie.  Longleaf pine cones produce some of the largest cones in the Southeastern United States (see below).  It is thought that their large body size was advantageous for the Fox Squirrel when trying to manipulate the pine cones to extract the seeds, and over time larger body sizes were selected for.  Their black-and-grey coloration may have something to do with Longleaf Pine as well.  This pine tree is extremely fire-resistant and flourishes in areas that experience fire.  In historic times on Daufuskie, leaf litter would build up on the ground and lighting strikes would cause fires.  The smokey colors of the Fox Squirrels may have helped camouflage them in a charred forest.  Whatever reason for their funky appearance, they are certainly a special species on our island!

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Longleaf Pine cone size compared to other species (Louisiana State University – Plant ID)


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A close relative to the Grey Fox Squirrel is the Eastern Grey Squirrel, pictured here


Daufuskie Island Black Fox Squirrel

Daufuskie Island Fox Squirrel



Interested in finding out more about wildlife on Daufuskie Island?  Join TD’s Naturalist in a “Wild Daufuskie” Eco tour!

Your choice….Daufuskie creeks or Daufuskie beach? Where do you want to explore?

Your choice….Daufuskie creeks or Daufuskie beach?  Where do you want to explore?

On Daufuskie Island, we are surrounded by amazingly beautiful landscapes.  We have the unique opportunity to catch both the sunrise on the eastern side, and the sunset on the western side every day(weather permitting of course).   We offer guided kayaking and paddle boarding tours for the group or family who simply can’t let these naturally amazing moments slip by unnoticed.

Melrose Kayaking Tour Daufuskie Island

For the sunrise tours, we like to launch off of the beaches of Daufuskie Island from either Melrose or from Bloody Point.  Melrose is also convenient for Haig Point visitors & members who can simply take a beach walk to our launch(call for directions if needed).   It’s pretty amazing to see the aquatic life waking up for the day while the sun is rising in a distance.

daufuskie island sunrise kayaking tour

Our sunset tours are equally as amazing and slightly more popular because you don’t have to be an early bird to participate.  For this paddle tour, we launch our kayaks from the Daufuskie Island public landing aka Marshside Mama’s Cafe.  From here we paddle in to the creeks while the sun sets in the west.

daufuskie island sunset kayaking tour

Of course, we also offer guided tours throughout the day but these are no doubt our most popular times.  Don’t leave Daufuskie without experiencing one of these great opportunities.

marshside mama's sunset

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