Recent rainfall has pros and cons for local wildlife

Recent rainfall has turtles moving to higher ground, which puts them in danger of getting hit by a car (Courtesy: WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It has been pretty soggy here in the Lowcountry the past several weeks. There's been measurable rain at Charleston International Airport 15 out of the past 17 days.

The recent rain has been a good and bad thing for local wildlife.

There are all kinds of reptiles and amphibians in the Francis Marion National Forest. They all need the rain but some benefit more than others from copious amounts of the wet stuff.

"This isolated wetland depression right here in the back is completely dependent on rainfall for it to flood," said Mark Danaher, District Wildlife Biologist.

These wetlands serve as a home and breeding ground for numerous animals including a few rare species.

"The Carolina Gopher Frog, which is a state endangered species of frog, and the federally-threatened Frosted Flatwood Salamander - and matter of fact this is one of only three known populations of Frosted Flatwood Salamanders in South Carolina," said Danaher.

But while the amphibians love all the rain, it has some reptiles moving to higher ground.

"Those species are forced to migrate and try to find drier upland habitats and unfortunately in urbanized areas where there is a lot of roads and traffic - that spells disaster for especially a lot of our slow moving reptiles like turtles," said Danaher.

Danaher himself has moved over 30 turtles off the roadways this spring in an effort to help protect them.

"They are such long-lived species and it takes so long for them to get old enough to where they can reproduce and they have such small home ranges, it's just critically important to slow down, be on the lookout for them, especially after a rain," said Danaher.

So the next time you hit the road, be on the lookout so you don't hit one of these Lowcountry critters.

One of the weather stations in the Francis Marion National Forest has received almost 40 inches of rain so far this year.