If you ever come across a pond or lake along the coast of South Carolina, it is wise to assume that somewhere in the murky water, or hidden along a sunny bank, an alligator lies watching.
Alligators are extremely common along the coast of the Southeast, and they don’t always confine themselves to standing water; they can venture out into creeks, rivers, even out onto the beach. In fact, you can find alligators in almost any body of water along the state’s Coastal Plane.
Although alligators generally avoid humans and can be rather elusive in the wild, not every alligator has a fear of people, especially if it has grown accustomed to boats or swimmers, or has been fed by people, which is illegal in South Carolina. Regardless of size, alligators are very dangerous animals, in water and on land, and should always be treated with caution.
Just a few weeks ago, an alligator drowned a two-year-old boy at a Disneyworld resort. Most recently, an alligator was spotted on the beach at Sullivan’s Island in Charleston, and an alligator estimated to be about 15 feet long was seen crossing a Florida golf course in a video posted on YouTube. In light of these events, SCDNR has posted a detailed guide to alligator safety on their website.
Among these safety tips include keeping pets out of the water (alligators are more likely to attack pets than people) and avoiding the disposal of fish scraps or crab bait into the water at boat ramps, docks, and swimming areas. Just because an alligator is on land does not mean that the animal is safe; some alligators can run faster than humans over short distances, and a video was recently taken of an alligator climbing a chain link fence.
The easiest, safest way to enjoy the summer and escape the heat is by swimming in state-designated safety areas.