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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Animals on our Beaches

Many wild and domestic animals visit New Hampshire’s beaches each day. Wild birds frequent all beaches, while deer, beaver and other wildlife find their way to many freshwater beaches. Many beach owners and managers limit access of dogs and horses to reduce fecal contamination. Only service dogs are allowed at state beaches.

photo: seagullBirds
Native bird species (gulls, cormorants, plovers, geese, ducks, etc.) are often seen visiting New Hampshire beaches. Many frequent a specific beach repeatedly due to the presence of a food source. In some cases, their food source includes humans who feed them food scraps. Birds will defecate (some up to 28 times per day) within the area relative to where they eat. This excrement is loaded with bacteria and can wash into the swimming area. This can cause a health threat to swimmers.

Please do not feed birds or other wildlife. Not only is it bad for them, it is unsanitary for you and the people around you.

photo: walking a dogDogs
Before visiting a beach with your dog, make sure dogs are allowed. Some towns prohibit dogs on beaches during the swim season or within regular swimming hours. All state-run beaches prohibit dogs at all times except service dogs.

Dog feces can be a bacteria source to beaches if not properly removed from the beach area. Burying dog feces in the sand is not a solution since children digging in the sand may uncover the waste. Additionally, bacteria in the sand supply bacteria to the water as tides or water levels fluctuate.

If you are at a beach with your dog, please pick up after your dog to avoid bacteria contamination to the water.

photo: woman riding horseHorses
Before visiting a beach with your horse, make sure they are allowed. Regulations pertaining to horses vary during the year at state managed beaches.

Horses are sometimes observed on beaches, especially in more rural areas. People enjoy riding horses in a variety of settings, and beaches are equally attractive to them. Since horses defecate at their own will, beach managers may have rules preventing horses from visiting a beach. As with dog feces, horse feces contain bacteria that are potential health threats to humans.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

copyright 2017. State of New Hampshire