Be Cautious of Gators, But They Aren't Usually a Big Threat

We may not see many gators in person often, but there are an estimated 100,000 alligators living from the Midlands to the coast of South Carolina.

Cayce, SC (WLTX) -- Alligators are fairly common from the Midlands to the coast, but the reptiles are usually not aggressive.

Over the weekend, a large alligator was spotted along the Timmerman Trail in Cayce. This prompted officials to close the walk for a while until the gator moved on.

The large reptile did eventually move back into the water, but that alligator is just one of over 100,000 gators living from the Midlands to the coast of South Carolina, that according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

"That's a common thing in that little area," said Justin Ludy. He is the founder and CEO of Palmetto Wildlife Extractors.

He said new construction can displace animals like alligators. "It has kind of pushed some wildlife into that secluded area, and with all of the rain we have gotten, it has probably pushed things to the banks. It doesn't surprise me," said Ludy.

According to the South Carolina Alligator Hunting Guide for 2017, produced by SCDNR, "In South Carolina, they are typically found south of the fall line (which roughly traverses the state from I-20 in Aiken to Kershaw County, then up highway US 1 towards Cheraw in Chesterfield County)."

"There is no evidence that alligator populations reproduce north of the fall line, and it is suspected that many of the alligators found well above the fall line may have been illegally relocated," that according to SCDNR.

Jay Butfiloski is the furbearer and alligator program coordinator with SCDNR. He said, "In most cases, their normal behavior would be to go away from people."

He said, "We have kind of persecuted them for quite a while. In most cases, anytime an alligator is approached, it wants to go into the water."

With any wild animal, humans should be cautious, never try to handle an alligator or even try to feed one. Ludy said, "A fed alligator is a dead alligator. Once it starts connecting food with humans, every time it sees a human, it thinks food and it is going to come up to them."

Ludy tries to avoid removing gators unless they are a real nuisance. He says we should respect the wildlife in our area. He added, "Just let nature, be nature."

We did speak to a number of regular walkers and bikers on the Timmerman Trail Monday. They said they were much more concerned with poisonous snakes than the alligators they frequently see along the banks.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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