Alligators are indigenous to the southern states including South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and into Virginia. They are quite common in the Charleston area hanging-out in rivers, marshes, ponds, canals and lakes.
Nearly any water body in the coastal plain of South Carolina may contain alligators. Adult alligators can become quite large at about 13 feet long. The mere presence of alligators in or adjacent to their natural habitat in South Carolina is a normal occurrence. Even though alligators are naturally afraid of humans, never approach an alligator of any size, keep your distance and leave them alone!
In addition, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Never feed alligators. Not only is it illegal in South Carolina to feed alligators, it also teaches them to associate people with food. This can cause alligators to lose their natural fear of humans.
- Don’t dispose of fish scraps or crab bait in the water at boat ramps, docks, swimming, or camping areas. You can inadvertently be feeding alligators.
- Avoid swimming in areas known to have alligators. Don’t swim or play in the ponds, lakes or creeks on Daniel Island at any time.
- Keep pets out of the water. Pets are more susceptible to being attacked as they resemble normal prey items for alligators.
- Don’t approach an alligator, keep your distance and leave them alone. Alligators can move in quick bursts over short distances but normally do not try to run after people. If an alligator hisses, it’s a warning that you are too close.
- If an alligator is in a place where it cannot reasonably be expected to get back to the water without posing a risk to itself or to others, or is in a location that presents an immediate hazard, such as your personal property, road, school, pool, parking lot, etc., contact the local authorities at 911.