Did You Know? It’s Against the Law to Feed or Harass Alligators!

Alligators are a part of Lowcountry life and at this time of year, they may be present in one of our 40 ponds or mobile, moving from pond to pond. As their mating season approaches, you will find an increased presence of alligators. Always give the alligator the right of way. They do not want to be bothered any more than you do. 

Remember to honor their space as we continue to live alongside our wildlife. 

Keep in Mind: 

It is against the law to feed or otherwise harass alligators. This includes activities, such as throwing sticks or rocks. When people feed alligators, they will begin to associate people with food, creating a very dangerous situation. These animals often have to be destroyed due to this human intervention. 

In light of the above direction, we wanted to share with you a recent interaction with an angler and alligators at Smythe Park. Last week, we received a call about a potential angler harassing or enticing an alligator. Upon further observation, the angler wasn’t harassing nor intentionally enticing the alligator. It was apparent that the alligators have been enticed in the past. The angler caught a smaller fish and repurposed the smaller catch in order to catch a larger fish. Once the angler caught a larger fish, two alligators began charging the larger catch as fast as the angler could reel onto land. Once the catch was on land, one of the two alligators came onto the sunbathing/beach area at Smythe Park and charged after the catch. The alligator snapped the line and took the catch to its apparent nesting area in the reeds off the point from the sunbathing/beach area. Fortunately, no one was hurt from this interaction, but this could have been worse. Based on the behavior of the alligator, it appears to have been enticed by fishing lines or baits in the past. Although some may argue this case, these alligators didn’t exhibit any of this behavior several weeks prior at the Kid’s Fishing Tournament. They stayed in the main body of water and left all anglers alone. Based on this incident and the safety of our residents, especially our children, the Daniel Island POA has contracted our alligator specialist to remove these two alligators. Alligators and residents can coexist within our landscapes, but any enticement of any kind is against the law and ultimately leads to the unnecessary removal of the alligator.  

 

Q: What is a nuisance alligator?
A: A nuisance alligator is an individual alligator that has become a significant public safety risk. This typically occurs when an alligator has been fed and has lost its inherent fear of people. 

Q: What happens when the POA gets a call about an alligator sighting?
A: The Daniel Island POA calls their alligator consultant who is a 25-year alligator specialist and former South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) reserve officer. Based on SCDNR’s and the National Wildlife Control Training Program, the alligator specialist evaluates and tests the alligator. During the evaluation process, the specialist will go through a series of tests to see if the alligator is threatening/aggressive. 

Q: What happens after the evaluation?
A: If the specialist deems the alligator non-threatening, the alligator is left alone. If the specialist deems the alligator threatening, the alligator will be properly removed according to SCDNR’s rules and regulations. Not all alligators have to be removed. 

Q: Why do you have to remove an aggressive/threatening alligator?
A: The POA follows Federal and State guidelines for the removal of tested, aggressive alligators for public safety. 

Q: What can you do as a resident to help?
A: It is critical that people do not feed or taunt alligators so that we may co-exist with native wildlife and meet our public safety needs. This is to include not feeding turtles, geese, ducks, or other waterfowl also because this indirectly entices the alligators too. Please pass the message on to others and to children to not throw anything at the alligators nor feed the alligators at any time. Feeding or harassing alligators is illegal under South Carolina State Law. When feeding the alligators or throwing items at them which simulates feeding, the alligator will associate humans with food and will no longer have a natural fear of humans. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding an alligator, please see below on who to contact: 

  • POA property, please call Chris Hamil at (843) 696-4676 
  • City property, please call the non-emergency dispatch at (843) 743-7200 
  • For your personal property, please call an animal specialist. The POA uses Ron Russell with Gator Getters. You can contact Ron at (843) 509-4472