BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) -- This year's warmer-than-normal winter has alligators in the Lowcountry awakening earlier from their winter hibernation.

Critter Management owner Joe Maffo told The Beaufort Gazette that his company has already had six calls to remove alligators from homes and other properties. Usually, the first calls don't come until well into April.

Maffo says the warm, sunny weather in recent weeks has lured alligators out of hibernation earlier than normal.

Maffo says his first alligator call was Monday, when a Beaufort County homeowner reported a gator killed a dog and was on a back deck.

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