• Miles of uncrowded white sandy beaches extend to the horizon, separating the clear blue ocean and undulating grass-covered dunes.

    Fire Island

    National Seashore New York

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Pet Restrictions in Effect March 15 through Labor Day

    Dogs/other pets (except for service animals) are not allowed in the wilderness or on any of Fire Island's federally owned oceanfront beaches from March 15 through Labor Day to help protect threatened and endangered beach-nesting shorebirds. More »

  • Backcountry Camping Permit and Access Procedures

    Reservations for required permits must be obtained through www.recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Watch Hill or points west, and involve a 1½ to 8 mile hike. More »

  • Attention Watch Hill Ferry Passengers

    Due to channel conditions, delay or cancellation of ferry service between Patchogue and Watch Hill may occur. For updated ferry schedule information, please call 631-475-1665.

Mammals

Male white-tailed deer, also known as "bucks," regrow antlers each year.

Male white-tailed deer, also known as "bucks," grow and shed their antlers each year.

More than 30 species of mammals either visit or live within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore. These mammals range in size from finback whales and other whales—which occasionally swim close to shore or wash up on the beach—to the tiny masked shrew, which though rarely seen, is very common throughout the island.

Seventeen species of terrestrial mammals were identified on Fire Island during surveys conducted in 1974.

In the mid-1970s, eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) were abundant throughout the Seashore. Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) were very common. Raccoons (Procyon lotor) were far less numerous. The white-footed deer mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) and meadow voles were abundant, and muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus) and Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) were numerous on both Fire Island and on the mainland at the William Floyd Estate. Squirrels were restricted to the mainland.

Other common species identified in the survey included the masked shrew (Sorex cinereus), short-tailed shrew (Blarina brevicauda), and weasel (Mustela spp.). Weasels and mink were secretive but locally common predators throughout the seashore in the mid-1970s.

The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) was one of two bat species identified on Fire Island, while eight species were recorded at the William Floyd Estate.

 
From late winter to early spring, seals may be observed offshore or resting on the beach.

NPS/Alison Sloop

From late winter to early spring, seals may be observed offshore or resting on the beach.

Nineteen species of marine mammals—whales, porpoises and dolphins, and seals—have been recorded within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore. The harbor seal is a regular winter visitor at both Fire Island inlets.

Three species of endangered whales may occur in the waters offshore of Fire Island: fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) and northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis).

 

Feral cats and dogs have been added to the list of mammals on Fire Island. Their impact on native wildlife is considered to be significant.

 

For More Information
Recent studies and inventories of mammals on Fire Island include:


Did You Know?

Piping plover on beach.

The piping plover is a federally threatened and New York State endangered species. It may be delisted when a total of 575 breeding pairs can be maintained in New York and New Jersey for five years. Fire Island National Seashore is currently the home of 15 - 20 nesting pairs of these shorebirds. More...