The Spotted Salamander was designated as the State Amphibian by Act Number 79 of 1999 as a result of a campaign by a third grade class at Woodlands Heights Elementary School in Spartanburg. It is the only amphibian indigenous to the whole State. It is a stout-bodied species with two rows of yellow round spots on a dark background. It prefers deciduous forests with ponds free of fish.
WHITE TAIL DEER
The Whitetail Deer was designated the State Animal by Act Number 1335 of 1972. The whitetail deer has a reddish-brown coat in the spring and summer and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape.
EASTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL
The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail was designated the official Butterfly of the State by Act Number 319 of 1994. The Garden Club of South Carolina has identified the Tiger Swallowtail of particular interest to South Carolinians because it serves as a pollinator in orchards and gardens. The males are yellow with four black tiger-like stripes on the forewing. It can be seen in deciduous woods, along streams, rivers and wooded swamps and in towns and cities throughout South Carolina.
The Wood Duck was designated the official State Duck by Act Number 58 of 2009. The Wood Duck is often considered the most beautiful duck in North America due to its striking coloring. The Wood Duck is a medium size duck ranging from 17 to 20 inches and weighing 1.5 pounds. Their feet are webbed but also have sharp claws to allow for perching on trees. They tend to habitat in woodland ponds, lakes, swamps and marshes feeding on the vegetation and insects.
STATE GAME BIRD
The Wild Turkey was designated as the official State Wild Game Bird by Act Number 508 of 1976. Wild turkeys have small, featherless, blue heads with males having a red throat. The body is comprised of dark brown to black feathers. They are found in forests throughout the State of South Carolina.
The Bottlenose Dolphin was designated as the official State Marine Mammal by Act Number 58 of 2009. Bottlenose dolphins are found worldwide in temperate and tropical waters. An adult is usually 8 to 12 feet in length and can weigh up to 1430 pounds. They tend to be one of the most recognizable marine mammals due to their widespread use in marine parks and research facilities. The bottlenose dolphin is protected in U.S. waters under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
The Loggerhead Turtle was designated as the official State Reptile by Act Number 588 of 1988, as a result of a request by a fifth grade class from Ninety-Six. The Loggerhead Turtle has a reddish-brown carapace, yellow plastron and can weigh over 200 pounds. Loggerhead turtles are federally listed as threatened. South Carolina’s coast is one of the Loggerhead nesting areas, and nest protection projects have been established along the South Carolina coast to increase hatchling productivity.
The Carolina Wren was designated as the official State Bird by Act Number 693 of 1948. This Act repealed an earlier Act designating the Mockingbird as the State Bird. The Carolina Wren is found in all areas of South Carolina. It is a small bird with a conspicuous white stripe over the eyes. The back of its body is roufus-red and the tail is finely barred with black. The song of the wren may be interpreted as " tea-ket-tle, tea-ket-tle, tea-ket-tle" and may be heard year-round, day and night, in all kinds of weather.
The Boykin Spaniel was designated the official State Dog by Act Number 31 of 1985. The Boykin Spaniel is the only dog that was originally bred by South Carolinians and has developed into a breed of superb hunting instincts and mild temperament. Boykins are currently found throughout the United States and are highly regarded as pets and hunting dogs.
The Striped Bass was designated the official State Fish by Act Number 1333 of 1972. The Santee Cooper Lakes were the original home for the landlocked striped bass. Some of the best striped bass fishing in the world can be found in these lakes, with many stripers weighing 30 to 40 pounds. These great game fish have also been stocked in all of the State's major reservoirs.
STATE HERITAGE HORSE
The Marsh Tacky was designated as the official State Heritage Horse by Act Number 240 of 2010. The Marsh Tacky is a rare colonial Spanish horse breed unique to South Carolina. These tough horses have played a pivotal role in the development and defense of South Carolina and were an intergral part of life in early Lowcountry communities, providing transportation and agricultural horsepower. The Carolina Marsh Tacky Assocation was established in 2007 to preserve and promote the Marsh Tacky Horse. Visit the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association website to learn more about the history and the future of this rare breed.
The Carolina Mantid was designated as the official State Insect by Act Number 591 of 1988. Carolina Mantids vary in color from gray, to brownish-tan to light green and grow to approximately 2½ inches. It was designated the State Insect for the following reasons: it is a native, beneficial insect that is easily recognizable throughout the State; it symbolizes the importance of the natural science of entomology and its special role in all forms of agriculture in helping to control harmful insects; and it provides a perfect specimen of living science for the children of this State.
STATE MIGRATORY MARINE MAMMAL
NORTHERN RIGHT WHALE
The Northern Right Whale was designated as the official State Migratory Marine Mammal by Act Number 58 of 2009. The right whale is a large, bulky baleen whale that is black all over with the exception of its white belly. Adults are generally 35 to 55 feet and can weigh over 100 tons. Females are larger than males. The right whale can be found off the South Carolina coast during the breeding and calving season. Although the right whale has been protected since the 1930s, it is still an extremely endangered species.
The Lettered Olive, Olive Sayana, was designated as the official State Shell by Act No. 360 of 1984. The Lettered Olive was found and named by Dr. Edmund Ravenel of South Carolina. He chose the name for the shell because of its hieroglyphic markings. The shell has a smooth, shiny, cylindrical shape and is typically found in shallow waters near the shore. It is quite prolific along the South Carolina Coast.
CAROLINA WOLF SPIDER
The Carolina Wolf Spider was designated as the official State Spider by Act Number 389 of 2000. At three to four inches, the Carolina Wolf Spider is the largest species of wolf spider in North America. The wolf spider is a skittish, very fast moving spider and generally not aggressive.