Stay Safe Around Alligators

Seabrook Island is home to a variety of wildlife, some of which are endangered and others that can be dangerous. There are four types of creatures that deserve special attention. On the beach, we are home to turtles, dolphins, and birds. In the freshwater ponds and wetlands, we have alligators.

You might have read recently that a man was attacked by an alligator in Myrtle Beach. Although this is a rare occurrence, our respectful vigilance is needed in order to keep us safe and preserve wildlife habitats. Maintaining a healthy distance from wildlife is needed both for our safety and protection as well as theirs. Town Code for Seabrook Island prohibits harassment of marine life and wildlife. To read the ordinance, click here.

Alligators

Seabrook Island is home to a healthy population of the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), a species once protected under the Endangered Species Act.

To be safe around alligators, remember:

  • Do not feed alligators. Feeding alligators reduces their fear of humans.
  • Keep your distance. Alligators can run faster than you.
  • Do not attempt to move alligators out of the road.
  • It is illegal to harass, throw things at or harm alligators in any way.
  • Do not disturb nests or small alligators. Female alligators are very protective.
  • Keep your pets and children away from alligators.
  • Do not corner, trap or hunt alligators.
  • Be alert around the shore of freshwater ponds or wetlands.
  • Avoid swimming in areas that are known habitats for large alligators.
  • If you have a concern about an alligator, call the Security Gate on 843-768-6641.

The Seabrook Island Property Owners’ Association (SIPOA) has developed a policy for determining whether or not an alligator qualifies as a “nuisance alligator” and therefore warrants removal under the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Nuisance Alligator Program. Removal occurs relatively infrequently. Click here to learn what to do if you have a concern or complaint about an alligator.

Some fun facts about alligators:

  • Alligators have between 74 and 80 teeth in their mouth at one time. As teeth wear down, they are replaced. An alligator can go through 3,000 teeth in a lifetime.
  • Mating season for alligators is mid-April through early June. Baby alligators hatch in August and September and measure about 6 to 8 inches. 
  • Juvenile alligators grow about one foot per year. Adult male alligators measure 11 – 15 feet in length; adult females 8 – 9 feet in length.

To read more about staying safe around alligators, click here. To read the SIPOA Alligator Program Policy, click here.

Tidelines Editors

(Photo credit: nas.er.usgs.gov)

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