Wild Spanish mustangs used to roam the entire coast of North Carolina. Today, after bounties and development, there are only 100 horses left at the northern end. Fortunately, they now have a protected status and are free to roam.
While they may look tame, they are indeed wild. Always keep at least 50 feet away from them and never feed them. A change in their diet causes painful bloat and can kill them.
The mustangs are smaller than domestic horses we see today. They also run the risk of inbreeding because they are in a small area and they are a small herd. The National Wildlife Refuge and the Wild Horse Fund work to keep the horses healthy, to mange their numbers, and to reduce their inbreeding. These horses are listed as critically endangered.
Above, two stallions fight over the rights to the mare in the foreground. The horses travel around in harems of about 4-5 horses.
Above, an egret rides on the back of a horse while it eats. Egrets and wild mustangs have a symbiotic relationship. The egret feeds on the files that gather around and on the horses.