Keeping Family, Pets, and Property Safe from Alligators

The American Alligator is found throughout the coastal region areas of the Southeastern part of the United States. North Carolina is currently the northernmost habitat.Keeping Safe From Alligators

Throughout the State of North Carolina, alligators can be found in swamps, canals, ponds, rivers, tidal basins, the coastline, as well as inland areas in the eastern portion of the state.

A couple of instances have occurred where alligators have ventured towards or in the ocean. The same goes for the State of South Carolina.

As populations of alligators continue to rise and humans continue removing natural areas where the creatures live in order to construct new homes and businesses, it is more likely for people and pets to come in contact with alligators.

In this guide, you will learn how to keep your family, your pets, and your property safe from alligators.

General Information

Before delving into the steps that may be taken to avoid risks involving  alligators, it is first important to know some general information about the creatures.

In North and South Carolina, male alligators of over 500 pounds and in lengths of 12 to 14 feet have been observed. Female alligators have been found to weigh about half that of males and grow to approximately 10 feet in length; however, given the right conditions, a female may grow even larger.

The alligators throughout the Carolinas tend to grow smaller than alligators in other areas that are further south, such as Florida and Louisiana. This stems from the fact that these states are cooler and the feeding season of the alligator does not last as long.

Alligators are cold-blooded creatures. As a result, they biologically respond to the temperatures of their environment.

Additionally, they “bromate” instead of “hibernate”. This means that they make a den or a type of burrow underground where their metabolism slows significantly, but they do not sleep. It is during this time that feeding stops.

To date, the number of alligators throughout the state is not known; however, calls and sightings have become more prevalent, which leads officials to conclude that the alligator population is growing.

In fact, North Carolina has now made alligator hunting legal throughout the state, but one must pay $250 for the license if they are selected through a computerized type of lottery.

Now that we have covered the basics, it is time to learn how to protect yourself, members of your family, your pets, and your property from alligators.

Protection Tips

To ensure that you, your family, your pets, and your property is protected from alligators, follow the protection tips outlined below:

  • First, you should ensure that you assume that all bodies of water throughout the State of North Carolina and South Carolina have alligators.                                                                      While it is true that these creatures are most known in the eastern and southern regions of the state, population increases among the animals has resulted in their branching out to other areas. If there is water, assume there are gators.
  • If you observe an alligator on land, do not approach it. Though these creatures typically move slow, they are fully capable of running. These creatures run in short bursts that can exceed 10 miles per hour.                                                                                                                             In most instances, these animals only run this fast in engaging in the process of catching prey and do not commonly run like this on large areas of land; however, you should never underestimate their ability or motive.                                                                                                      If you see an alligator on land, do not approach it. In fact, you should move even further away from it.
  • Throughout history, it has been said that if an alligator runs after you, you should run in a zig zag fashion to get away from it. This is a myth.                                                                          Running in a zig zag will not only slow you down, but it may make you more of a target to an alligator. You should run in a straight line, as quickly as you are able to in order to remove yourself from danger.
  • Alligators are naturally scared of people. However, if the creature has been fed by people or is in desperate need of nutrition, they may approach people.                                                                   If you observe a gator that seems to be comfortable around people, you should get out of the area as quickly as possible. It likely means that they associate people with food. They do not know the difference between a person giving them food or the person BEING food. All they know is that they need nutrition and humans have provided it before.                                         The alligators that have lost their fear of humans is considered to be a dangerous alligator. Never give food to an alligator, regardless of how tempting it may be. It is illegal and poses an immense danger.
  • If you will be fishing, swimming, or boating in waters, you should avoid being in or around water from dusk to dawn. It is during this time that alligators feed. You will stand a higher chance of an encounter with these wild animals during this time.                                             Given the lack of light and the fact that not too many people are around during these hours, you may find yourself in extreme danger with little or no hope for nearby help.
  • Alligators are extremely fast and very strong in the water. They are capable of swimming up to 20 miles per hour. If they catch prey in the water, they will engage in a spinning maneuver in order to subdue that which they caught and dismember it. This is referred to as the “alligator death roll”.                                                                                                                                      If you are ever subjected to this or are even slightly attacked by an alligator, you should make as much commotion as possible. The alligator will likely become frightened and move away from the attack – especially if you are kicking, yelling, and hitting it.
  • When fishing or moving along water banks, always remain alert to your surroundings. If you observe an alligator, do not remain in that area.
  • Never walk or allow your pets to drink or move near bodies of water. Because of their size, dogs and cats are attractive to alligators.
  • Alligator courtship starts in April and mating occurs during May and June. July, August, and September are the months when eggs are laid and will hatch.                                                           If you see or hear alligators during this time, do not go close and interrupt their nests as they can become extremely aggressive. It is during these months that gators will display their highest level of aggression.
  • Never allow children to play near or in water where alligators are known to frequent. Just like with animals, they may appear attractive to a hungry gator due to their size.
  • To protect your property, you should ensure that it is enclosed by a fence that is at least four and a half feet in height. While alligators are fully capable of climbing, they will likely avoid climbing fences that are this height or higher.
  • To enhance the effectiveness of a fence around your property, install electrical wiring a couple of inches from the ground around the perimeter of the fence.
  • Be certain to keep potential food sources out of your property. This includes removing items that may put off the smell of food, such as a grill.
  • When using outdoor trash cans, be certain that they are kept shut with a tight-fitting lid. This will retain any smells from the garbage that you place outdoors. Not only will this deter alligators, but, it will also deter other wild animals, such as bears, raccoons, and foxes.
  • If you observe an alligator, you should contact the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to report it. The phone number is 1-800-662-7137. In South Carolina, you may contact the nearest Department of Natural Resources office.

Wildlife Removal

In most instances, a report of an alligator sighting will remain just that – a report. This is because most alligators are observed in their natural habitats. However, there are instances where an alligator is considered a “nuisance” or a “danger” and will need to be removed.

According to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, any alligator that poses safety issues or has caused damage to property may be removed.

For wildlife trapping removal of an alligator within the State of North Carolina and South Carolina, at least one of the following circumstances must have occurred:

  1. The alligator has damaged property
  2. The alligator has caused threats or injuries to pets and/or livestock
  3. The alligator is in close proximity to where humans live
  4. The alligator is posing a threat to the safety of people
  5. The alligator is causing an emergency, such as blocking a road or being found inside of a structure
  6. The alligator is injured
  7. The alligator’s welfare is compromised

We here at Palmetto Wildlife Extractors are officially approved for alligator removal services in South and North Carolina.

If you have a nuisance alligator or feel as if an alligator is venturing a bit too close for comfort, contact us today and provide us with the details of the situation so that we may assist you:






Recent Posts