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The Most Dangerous Creatures in Myrtle Beach

For many people who live in the South, Myrtle Beach is the go-to vacation spot every summer. But it’s not just Southerners who love this entertainment hotspot. 

People from all over the country enjoy vacationing at the beach, savoring scrumptious seafood, and shopping at numerous outlets.

When planning a beach vacation, most people don’t consider the dangerous animals that live in the area. But if you want to venture south, you should know what creatures to look out for at Myrtle Beach. 

Let’s dive in!

Where Is Myrtle Beach? 

Myrtle Beach, the top destination spot in South Carolina, is easily accessible via Highway 17 and Highway 501. The nearest large city is Conway, which sits about 15 miles northwest of the coastline. 

The beach is about 35 to 40 minutes south of the North Carolina border. The Myrtle Beach International Airport welcomes visitors from all over the country to experience the beautiful beaches and fun entertainment of Myrtle Beach.

What Is Myrtle Beach Known For? 

As a major tourist destination near the border of North and South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is known for entertaining people of all ages. 

From golfing to shopping to dining, you’ll find more activities here than just building sandcastles and boogie boarding. It’s also a fairly inexpensive place to visit, which is why so many people venture to the South Carolina shoreline.

For families, attractions like WonderWorks, Ripley’s Aquarium, and Pirates Voyage will entertain for hours. 

For tourists who love music, the Carolina Opry offers world-class performances. Other popular shows include Legends in Concert and the Alabama Theatre. And when you get hungry, you have no shortage of dining options, from seafood to barbeque to steakhouses.

Pro Tip: Before you dive into the waters of Myrtle Beach, find out Why Is Myrtle Beach Called Dirty Myrtle?

Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a family-friendly vacation destination but does have some creepy critters.

The Most Dangerous Creatures in Myrtle Beach

When you think of Myrtle Beach, you probably don’t immediately consider the animals that live there. You may think about the dining options, entertainment venues, and sandy beaches. But before you head east, let’s look at five creatures that could ruin your family vacation.

Copperhead Snakes

Copperheads are pit vipers like rattlesnakes and water moccasins. They have pits between the eyes and nostrils on each side of the head, which detect even the smallest temperature differences. This helps them accurately strike prey.

These snakes have hourglass-shaped markings and average between two and three feet long. They’re brown, tan, or reddish and live from southern New England to Texas and down to Florida. 

Because of their vast range of habitats, copperhead bites are the most common type of snakebite. Thankfully, the venom isn’t very potent, even though the bite is painful. 

So when at Myrtle Beach, don’t stick your hands in wood piles or reach under rocks where copperheads like to hide.

Cottonmouth Snakes

Because of the white coloration inside their mouths, water moccasins have earned the name cottonmouths. They’re the only venomous snake in North America that spends much time in the water. Like copperheads and rattlesnakes, cottonmouth snakes are pit vipers.

They range from 2 to 4 feet long and have darker brown, black, or olive scales. They live in wet habitats like swamps, marshes, and lakes from Virginia to Florida. 

Unlike copperhead bites, a bite from a cottonmouth is rare. However, the venom can be deadly. Victims feel a burning pain after the bite and need medical attention immediately.

Jelly Fish

Jellyfish drift in the Atlantic Ocean without much control over their whereabouts. If you’re enjoying a summer day at Myrtle Beach, you should always keep a lookout for these marine animals. 

The cannonball jelly is the most common jellyfish in South Carolina. They have round white bells with a brown or purple band at the bottom. Additionally, the cannonball jelly grows about 8 to 10 inches in diameter.

The mushroom jelly is another type of jellyfish commonly found on the coast of South Carolina. They can grow much larger, up to 20 inches in diameter, and have a flatter, softer look than the cannonball jelly. It’s important to know that their tentacles can extend far beyond their top.

Stings commonly occur after a storm. And even if a jellyfish washed ashore, its tentacles still can sting.

If you’re stung, carefully remove the tentacle from your skin. When in contact with your skin, it will continue to sting. 

Most stings aren’t life-threatening; people recover within a few minutes, although sometimes the recovery time can last weeks.

Jellyfish on Myrtle Beach
Keep an eye out for jellyfish in the waters and along the shoreline of Myrtle Beach.


Although coyotes aren’t native to South Carolina, they have become more prevalent over the years. Especially as springtime approaches, coyotes roam both urban areas and sand dunes. These mammals stand about 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh about 60 pounds.

The biggest dangers when encountering a coyote come when people walk their dogs or with small children present. Coyotes see dogs and small children as submissive and fearful, which can cause them to attack. 

If you see a coyote, slowly back away but never turn your back or show fear. Put a small child behind you, so you appear larger than the coyote.


Pelicans are huge birds that can have a wingspan of up to 10 feet. They also have a large pouch under their beak that helps them swallow fish whole. 

These birds aren’t known to attack humans and don’t have venom or sting that requires medical attention. However, pelicans can become aggressive when found injured on the beach.

Anglers draw fish to piers; thus, pelicans like to hang out there. Then they can get hooked or tangled in lines. 

An injured pelican is a dangerous one. Due to its size, the flapping of the wings can injure an adult, and pelicans can bite when in distress.

Pro Tip: Spend the night at one of these 7 Amazing Myrtle Beach Campgrounds while visiting Dirty Myrtle.

Is Myrtle Beach Worth Visiting? 

Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the Southeast. Snowbirds enjoy the milder temperatures, and families enjoy all of the attractions and entertainment. 

But it’s not without its fair share of dangerous creatures. Should you avoid Myrtle Beach because of snakes, jellyfish, coyotes, and pelicans? No. But always stay on the lookout for these animals and protect your pets and children.

Have you ever encountered one of these dangerous creatures in Myrtle Beach? Tell us in the comments!

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