Morgan Hart, the Alligator Project Leader for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, posits that the location where you’re most likely to spot an alligator in South Carolina is wherever you search the most diligently.
Hart claims that alligators can be found in any substantial body of freshwater below the state’s Fall Line, which loosely aligns with U.S. Highway 1.
With an estimated population of 100,000, the number of alligators in South Carolina is significantly less than Louisiana, which boasts a staggering 2 million. Wildlife professionals in Louisiana suggest adopting the mindset that if you’re swimming in a lake, you’re sharing the space with alligators.
Although alligator attacks are rare, if you are the victim, statistics become irrelevant. There was a noted rise in alligator attacks in South Carolina in 2022, according to AZ Animals. Five individuals were attacked, with two fatalities.
Michael Burstein, 75, was pulled into a pond by an alligator in Myrtle Beach in June, and Nancy Becker, 88, was assaulted by an alligator in August after she slipped into a pond while tending to her garden in Sun City.
Experts in alligator behavior link the increase in attacks to the growing number of people inhabiting areas close to alligator habitats.
Alligators, once on the brink of extinction in South Carolina, have made a remarkable comeback due to their status as an endangered species. Now, their population is thriving to the extent that the state endorses a restricted hunting season — running from September 9 to October 14 this year. Hunters are selected via lottery to hunt one alligator.
Lake Marion, the largest lake in South Carolina, has the highest alligator population, followed by Moultrie, Hilton Head Island, and Charleston, according to AZ Animals.
A huge alligator was spotted lumbering across a South Carolina road. pic.twitter.com/hRrsraH9bi
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 28, 2024
To stay safe around alligators, follow these rules:
- Never feed them.
- Never approach an alligator or its nest. Alligator mothers remain with their eggs and young for extended periods.
- Maintain a minimum distance of 10 feet from the water’s edge.
- Keep your pets leashed. Alligators cannot differentiate between their typical prey and your cherished pet.
- Never attempt to remove them from a road. They are most mobile in spring and summer during the breeding season.
- Don’t throw things at alligators — not only is it illegal, but it also corners them. Common human activities like water skiing or canoeing might appear threatening to an alligator.
- Be aware that alligators are skilled at ambush tactics. They can see you even when you can’t see them.
- If an alligator approaches, back away slowly. They probably won’t pursue you, but if they do good luck. They can reach speeds of up to 35 mph.
you might find yourself curious about the distinctions between alligators and crocodiles, as they are the same but very different predators.