The very first time Cheryl Woodring saw an alligator in Tyrell County, she and also her husband, Danny, were on the way home native the external Banks. The Tideland EMC member knew world had watched alligators in the canals along us 64 near Manns Harbor. “Maybe us will watch an alligator on our way home today,” she told her husband.

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“Of course, i was no serious and also never intended to check out one,” Woodring says. “We had actually gone across the Alligator flow Bridge when we came roughly a curve and there were every these cars quit on the next of the road, and also people were the end looking at something across the canal! So, us did what anyone else was doing and also we stopped … and over there he was … laying up on the canal financial institution just love the sunshine. I took several pictures and we went on ours way. At that time, I had never check out one simply out in the wild like that.”

American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) have the right to be found throughout the coastal regions the the Southeast, v North Carolina being their northernmost recognized habitat. They thrive in NC swamps, rivers, canals, tidal basins, and even ponds and lakes along the coastline and also eastern inland regions. On occasion, lock will undertaking out into the ocean — as to be testified in June 2015 through two fishermen who photographed one alligator swimming just inside Oregon Inlet.

These creatures were nearly obliterated native the state in the last century. However they’ve since made a comeback, and can now be uncovered as much northwest as gates County and also south come the southern Carolina border.


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Charlie, unofficial mascot of the Battleship phibìc Carolina. Photograph courtesy of battleshipnc.com.

Famous Gator

Perhaps north Carolina’s most popular gator is Charlie, the Battleship north Carolina’s unofficial mascot. Travellers to Wilmington’s Battleship phibìc Carolina Memorial, i m sorry is moored in the Cape fear River, are likely to watch Charlie or Charlene swimming in the water close to the ship.

There is even a Charlie’s Crew children Club. Youngsters who pay the yearly dues will get a t-shirt, sticker, member card and also discounts to unique events. Visit battleshipnc.com for much more information.


A bit about gators

Male alligators top out at 500-plus pounds and can flourish to a length of 14 feet. Females room smaller, weighing approximately 200 pounds and reaching a max of 10 feet (snout to tail tip). Alligators grow slower in phibìc Carolina than those living more south since the weather is cooler, and the feeding season is shorter.

Alligators execute not hibernate together mammals do; they “brumate.” being cold-blooded, castle respond to the temperature of your environment. As soon as it it s okay cold, they make a den or secret burrow and also shut down. Lock don’t go to sleep; if brumating in a burrow underwater they need to surface come breathe. Together they brumate their metabolism slows, and they avoid eating. Alligators have actually been observed sticking your snouts out of frozen water come breathe and also sometimes come to be stuck in the ice. Once the ice melts they swim away. The is simple to see just how these adaptable creatures have actually survived for countless years.

The variety of alligators in the state and also their variety is not completely known. For that reason, the NC Wildlife resources Commission is asking world who watch alligators come report their sightings. This “citizen science project” will aid the commission price the question, “where in phibìc Carolina do world see alligators?” Visitors and residents the the state have the right to upload their photos and also a note about the place of the alligator come inaturalist.org.


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John and also Lisa McNeill started their Alligator Alliance to safeguard alligators in Brunswick County.Photo courtesy of Alligator Alliance.


Protection v education

John and Lisa McNeill established the Alligator Alliance (alligatoralliance.com) to defend alligators in Brunswick County. Their major tool is to education the public.

The couple says castle feel really fortunate to be able to observe alligators in the wild in our state and not just in a zoo or one aquarium. “We truly believe that alligators are our critical living dinosaurs.”

The McNeills remind united state that as an indigenous species to north Carolina, alligators play an essential role in our ecosystem.

“Alligators are naturally afraid the humans and will protect against contact,” castle explain. “The people that are not afraid are the persons that have been illegal fed. This create what is referred to as a‘nuisance’ or ‘food-conditioned’ alligator. When that happens, they shed their natural fear of humans and also are regularly relocated or euthanized.”

The McNeills continue: “For the most part, alligators room misunderstood. If us all usage a common-sense approach, we can co-exist with them. This means, be mindful that any kind of body that water in our coastal regions has actually the potential to have actually an alligator in or near it. That also way stay far from them, do not feed or harass them and of course, store children and also pets far from them.If alligators space left alone they can exist together the wild pets they were intended come be, and we can all continue to gain these marvels the nature in their organic habitats.They have survived for countless years and also this is their home. If we educate, us won’t need to relocate.”


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Sobek the alligator hatchling. Photo courtesy of Alligator Alliance.


When people and also alligators meet

Even though their numbers have actually increased, alligators are classified together a intimidated species. The is illegal to harass or kill them. In fact, the penalty for killing an alligator is a hefty one: a $500 well and/or 2 come 24 month in jail, add to a replacement price of $4,313.

Seeing one alligator go not always mean it needs to it is in removed. Normally, according to wildlife experts, offer it time and space and it most likely will move on. But, if it is in a ar that will cause danger come people, pets or livestock girlfriend should contact a wildlife officer and also let them perform the removing.

Cases of alligators in the wrong places at the not correct time regularly make the news. Two such newsworthy story in phibìc Carolina include the 12-foot, 672-pound dare County gator eliminated when a valve hit it in may 2014. The van to be damaged yet drivable, the civilization in the van unhurt. It take it heavy tools to eliminate the dead alligator from the highway.

Another story that made the news occurred in Swan Quarter, whereby a man uncovered an eight-foot long alligator in his garage. The did the appropriate thing and called the NC Wildlife sources Commission, and also they sent an officer to eliminate it and return it come its herbal habitat.

Why the is important to keep alligators? prefer all things in nature, castle are part of the one of life. Lock are crucial to the ecosystem the the seaside wet lands. They carry out food for other types that eat your eggs and hatchlings. Your habit of digging dens into banks, ponds and also lake bottoms provide other pets safe havens. In turn, alligators feeding on and also control populaces of whatever from insects come snakes, bird and small mammals.

Remember, if you check out a wild alligator, watch and also photograph that from a street of at least 60 feet. Monitor the safety rules and also leave v a good memory.

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Alligator safety Tips and also Regulations

Keep pets on a leash and also do not permit them come swim, drink or exercise in or close to waters wherein alligators have actually been seen.Watch young youngsters closely and also never leaving them unattended near any type of body that water.Be especially cautious in and also around waters where alligators have actually been seen in between dusk and also dawn — ­­times as soon as alligators are many active.Never approach an alligator — no matter its size.Call 800-662-7137 come report one alligator near a home, service or disrupting traffic on a windy road.Visit bit.ly/ncwildlife-alligators for more tips top top coexisting v alligators.

Source: NC Wildlife resources Commission