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Hilton Head and the lagoons of the lowcountry are brimming with alligators. Many get to be feet long. First they started to appear on saltwater beaches, something practically unheard of before. Hilton Head alligator safety Alligators , native to Hilton Head and the Lowcountry, can grow to 12 feet or longer.

They are often found sunning on the sides of ponds or lagoons. The animals are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external sources of heat to regulate their body temperature.

They can grow up to 12 feet in length! During the hot summer months, most alligators stay cool by staying in the water. Jarvis Creek Park, Hilton Head Island — At the center of Jarvis Creek Park is a very large body of water and on warm, sunny days you can always find an alligator or three basking in the sun along the banks or floating in the water.

Florida It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas, with populations present from South Florida and the coasts of Mexico to as far south as Peru and Venezuela.

American crocodile. Alligator Adventure: Located at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, this nature park lives up to its name with hundreds of alligators and crocodiles on the property , including a foot crocodile named Utan and live feeding shows. Alligators belong in the Lowcountry. Long known as a primary breeding ground for many species, the local waters near Hilton Head Island host many types of sharks , including hammerheads, tigers, blacktip, spinners, sharp nose and bonnet-heads, just to name a few.

Some can stay underwater for over an hour. However, they are scavengers and will eat anything they can find, even something dead and decaying! While there are many different species of snakes inhabiting Hilton Head Island , a few stand out. Species that draw the most attention and concern are venomous—copperheads, water moccasins cottonmouths and Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes. While alligator attacks are rare in South Carolina , they are becoming more common as more humans move to alligator-populated areas.

As of August, there were 23 total alligator attacks since , according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. There have been no formal surveys of the alligator population on Hilton Head, but there are probably from 2, to 4, gators living on the island, says Walt Rhodes, the alligator project supervisor for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

If this starts to happen, then the answer is yes, alligators can be dangerous to kayakers. This is why it is so important not to ever feed an alligator!

In South Carolina, alligators have been recorded to reach lengths of more than 13 feet. Alligators live in swampy areas, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. Between St. Andrew by the Sea and Holy Family is a bike path bridge over the lagoon. In the summer this is the place to stop and spot a gator.

As it turns out, saltwater crocs have always been present in southern Mexico. They are actually found on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, as well as in the Caribbean islands and Central America, and as far down as Peru and Venezuela.

Only Louisiana and Florida hold more wild alligators than Texas. The 22 Texas counties with the highest concentrations of alligators so-called core alligator counties in southeast Texas and along the upper and middle coast hold at least , gators, Cooper said.

Crocodiles are often regarded as much more aggressive than alligators. While you should avoid contact with both animals at all costs, alligators in the Everglades tend to be more docile than crocodiles, only attacking if hungry or provoked. Alligators are indigenous to the Myrtle Beach area , and they typically live in our freshwater marshes and rivers, away from people. But, every so often, it is possible that an alligator might make its way to the ocean.

Alligators have been spotted on occasion at the Carolina Beach State Park, and particularly close to the local marina. Sadie Daniel is an adventurer at heart. She loves to travel and explore new places. Her thirst for adventure has taken her all over the world, and she’s always looking for her next big thrill.

Sadie is also a lover of animals, and has been known to rescue stray cats and dogs in her neighborhood. She is a kind-hearted person who enjoys helping others, and she would do anything for her family and friends. Contents 1 Are there salt water crocs in South Carolina? See also Does Georgia border the ocean? See also Can you stay overnight at the beach in South Padre Island?

See also What color is Myrtle Beach water? Load More.



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Crocodiles can also be seen sunning with their mouths open, or «gaping. The diet of the American crocodiles primarily consists of small mammals, birds, frogs, turtles, and fish Fishman et al. Male crocodiles begin courting females in late January and early February. Crocodiles are ectothermic and therefore control their body temperature by basking in the sun, or moving to areas with warmer or cooler air or water temperatures. Courting rituals can be extensive, often lasting for days.

Males initiate courting by quickly and consecutively performing head slaps, and the female will raise her snout and arch her tail if she is interested. The last courting ritual involves the male and female rubbing snouts and submerging under water. Nesting occurs in late April and early May. The soil nests are built on land and above high tide marks.

Females will lay 20 to 60 eggs that incubate for about 85 days. When the incubation period is complete, females will dig the nest up and carry the young to water Mazzotti, n. Historically crocodiles were hunted extensively as their hides were worth a considerable amount of money between and This caused considerable damage to their population rates.

Presently, illegal hunting and habitat destruction are the main threats to the crocodile population Florida Museum of Natural History, n. Habitat destruction occurs in different ways, but the main threat has been humans developing in crocodile habitat. It is illegal to hunt crocodiles in the U. Hydrological alterations in their habitats can cause damage to their eggs as they cannot withstand conditions that are too dry or too wet Florida Museum of Natural History, n.

Crocodile nests also face threats of predation from raccoons, birds, and crabs Mazzotti, n. Other threats include vehicle strikes, disease, and mortality and habitat damage from hurricanes Florida Natural Areas Inventory In , a 6-foot American crocodile made a rare appearance outside Florida — at South Carolina’s Isle of Palms, a common spot for vacationing.

The large reptile was caught in the surf and may actually have made his way up the southeastern coast — from Florida — by swimming, plain and simple. After being caught, the croc — an endangered species, exempt from dispatch — was sent back to Florida to live in the wild or an alligator park.

Outside of the States, these large creatures carve out homes in the tropics and subtropics of the Americas. Common environments for crocodiles include mangrove swamps, creeks, lagoons on coasts, tidal estuaries, mouths of rivers, lakes, damp wetlands, bays with ample mangrove trees, coves and ponds. These relatively meek creatures exist in saltwater and freshwater settings alike. Loss of habitat in their native range from urban development and pressure from shrimp farming are problematic for the species.

Male alligators top out at plus pounds and can grow to a length of 14 feet. Females are smaller, weighing up to pounds and reaching a max of 10 feet snout to tail tip. Alligators grow slower in North Carolina than those living further south because the weather is cooler, and the feeding season is shorter. When it gets cold, they make a den or underground burrow and shut down. As they brumate their metabolism slows, and they stop eating.

Alligators have been observed sticking their snouts out of frozen water to breathe and sometimes become stuck in the ice. Once the ice melts they swim away.

It is easy to see how these adaptable creatures have survived for millions of years. The number of alligators in the state and their range is not fully known. For that reason, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission is asking people who see alligators to report their sightings. Photo courtesy of Alligator Alliance. Their primary tool is to educate the public. The couple says they feel very fortunate to be able to observe alligators in the wild in our state and not just in a zoo or an aquarium.

The McNeills remind us that as an indigenous species to North Carolina, alligators play an important role in our ecosystem. When that happens, they lose their natural fear of humans and are often relocated or euthanized.

If we all use a common-sense approach, we can co-exist with them. This means, be aware that any body of water in our coastal regions has the potential to have an alligator in or near it. It also means stay away from them, do not feed or harass them and of course, keep children and pets away from them. If alligators are left alone they can exist as the wild animals they were intended to be, and we can all continue to enjoy these marvels of nature in their natural habitats.

They have survived for millions of years and this is their home. Even though their numbers have increased, alligators are classified as a threatened species. It is illegal to harass or kill them. Seeing an alligator does not always mean it needs to be removed. Normally, according to wildlife experts, give it time and space and it likely will move on. But, if it is in a place that will cause danger to people, pets or livestock you should call a wildlife officer and let them do the removing.

Cases of alligators in the wrong places at the wrong time often make the news. Two such newsworthy stories in North Carolina include the foot, pound Dare County gator killed when a van hit it in May The van was damaged but drivable, the people in the van unhurt. It took heavy equipment to remove the dead alligator from the highway.

Another story that made the news happened in Swan Quarter, where a man found an eight-foot long alligator in his garage. He did the right thing and called the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and they sent an officer to remove it and return it to its natural habitat. Why it is important to preserve alligators? Like all things in nature, they are part of the circle of life.

They are important to the ecosystem of the coastal wet lands. They provide food for other species that eat their eggs and hatchlings. Their habit of digging dens into banks, ponds and lake bottoms provide other animals safe havens. In turn, alligators feed on and control populations of everything from insects to snakes, birds and small mammals.

Remember, if you see a wild alligator, watch and photograph it from a distance of at least 60 feet.


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