Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Alligators can be found around South Carolina, even right here in parts of the Midlands.
Jay Butfiloski is an alligator expert for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
“Richland County or Lexington County will have them around here. All these counties from here to the coast would have them but obviously they’re not in the numbers that you would expect as you get closer down towards the coast line,” said Butfiloski.
Gators can be found in a lot of different parts of the Midlands.
“Most people associate them with swamps but really you can find them in just about any kind of fresh water habitat including manmade ponds, farm ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams. They can be found just about anywhere,” explained Butfiloski.
Alligators may even been seen in some parts of Lake Murray.
“There’s probably occasions where some alligators get into Lake Murray but for the most part, you don’t typically find them there. If you do, you’re probably in the upper region of Saluda County and some of those other backwater areas,” said Butfiloski.
You’re not likely to see gators towards the Lake Murray Dam because of how deep the water is.
However, if you come across an alligator, you should stay away from it.
“You should keep your distance. They’re not going to run and chase you down. You don’t have to run in a zig-zag fashion. Just kind of stay back, keep your distance, and let them be,” said Butfiloski.
When it comes to alligator attack fatalities in our state, they're have only been two ever-recorded — both occurred in the last two years.