Corolla Wild Horse Fund Facebook Page

The Corolla Wild Horse Fund posted this picture on Facebook of a foal sleeping on the beach on the Outer Banks in North Carolina.

One of the stranger things tourists see on Outer Banks beaches is wild horses that appear to be dead. Don’t be fooled, warns the Corolla Wild Horse Fund.

Wild horses are apt to doze off on the sand like people, only they are less predictable when startled, the nonprofit says.

“Just like babies of all species, foals sleep a lot!” the fund posed on Facebook. “You’ll very often see them laying down on the beach ... and it’s usually not anything to be worried about.”

The fund shared a photo of a lifeless-looking foal on the beach, and the image was so disconcerting that herd manager Meg Puckett had to assure people the young horse was “fine.”

The wild horses that roam beaches in North Carolina and Virginia are known for being unpredictable and dangerous, including an incident last month in which a woman at Assateague Island National Seashore was kicked by one. In that case, the horse was digging through the woman’s belongings and she smacked it on the rump, McClatchy News reported. The horse responded with a kick that knocked her to the ground, the news outlets said.

Collisions involving the horses and off-road vehicles is a key cause of deaths for the herd on beaches, experts say.

As a result, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund has posted multiple alerts in recent weeks of the dangers posed when the horses sleep on beaches or behind the dunes.

“You never know what’s on the other side of the dune. Could be another vehicle, pedestrians, or a horse,” the fund posted June 26 on Facebook.

“We’ve seen several instances lately where people were at the foot of the dunes trying to get photos and didn’t realize there were more horses just out of sight. That’s an easy way to get trampled ... those horses came galloping over the dunes and the people were directly in their path.”

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