Monday, April 16, 2012

Pet-Friendly Ocracoke Island

 Some of the fun Don and I had on our recent honeymoon centered on how pet-friendly Ocracoke Island was. He and I both love animals, or "critters," as Don calls them. Ocracoke was a pet-friendly vacation place. Our motel, the Bluff Shoals Motel, did not allow pets, so we were surprised at the number of families vacationing there that had their dogs with them. The island is home to many feral cats and kittens, or Ocracats as a local rescue calls them. Residents have an active program that cares for them. The program includes a TNR program for the adult cats and an adoption program for the adoptable kittens.

A surprise to us was Ocracoke's Island Ponies. Our first hint that they were there came from the name of our favorite restaurant for breakfast, the Pony Island Restaurant. We had heard of the famed wild ponies of Chincoteague Island in Virginia as well as ponies at Corolla and at Shackleford Banks in North Carolina, but we had no clue that Ocracoke laid claim to some of these majestic animals that are possibly descended from Spanish mustangs. The Ocracoke horses no longer roam the island, however, but stay penned by the National Park Service, both to keep them out of the nearby highway and to keep them from overgrazing the vegetation of the island's fragile ecosystem. We took several pictures of these horses as they were feeding.

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