Safety Tips and Facts To Keep in Mind During Alligator Breeding Season
- Alligators are cold-blooded, which means their body temperature is not constant, but changes with the temperature of the environment. For this reason, alligators are most active during the spring, summer, and fall.
- Be watchful when approaching any body of water or if your vision is blocked by a bank; keep your distance. Alligators can see clearly at night. They have eyes on the tops of their heads due to the fact that they spend a lot of their time in the water. Interestingly, their large eyes provide them with clear night vision.
- Alligators are more active at dusk, so if walking at dusk or after dark, carry a flashlight and be aware of your surroundings. You may unexpectedly encounter an alligator on a leisure trail or crossing a road.
- Mating season is from late April to June. During this time, they are likely to wander from pond to pond as they search for a mate. You may hear a male “bellow” as he tries to attract a female.
- After a courtship in which the male claims a territory and courts a female, the female lays between 20-60 eggs near a body of fresh water and covers them with vegetation.
- Be conscious of nests near water’s edge that are covered and not easily seen. Never come between a female alligator and her nest or young. You will immediately be considered a threat. Alligators aren’t hardwired for aggressive behavior toward humans unless they perceive a threat.
- Sea Pines Security places a sign where they are aware of an alligator nest.
- Eggs typically hatch in August or September and the baby alligators are often taken to the water, one by one, by the female. The young remain with the female for up to a year and are defended by her against predators like wading birds.
- Hatchlings need all the help they can get because their survival rates are dismally low. Eighty to ninety percent of the hatchlings will end up being eaten by a bird, raccoon, otter, snake or mature gator.
Understanding your role
- Alligators are an important part of South Carolina’s ecosystem and are protected by both state and federal law. You can help protect one of the Lowcountry’s most iconic native species by avoiding close interaction with them.
- Never harass or corner an alligator. They can move quickly, so never approach an alligator closer than 60 feet.
- Do not swim in freshwater lagoons and ponds. Never swim in any body of water known to contain alligators or that is a possible alligator habitat. You can assume that all of our lagoons are inhabited by an alligator(s).
- Keep children and pets a safe distance from the water’s edge. Humans are not natural prey for alligators however; an alligator could mistake a dog -or possibly a small child- for prey.
- Never feed an alligator. Feeding alligators is illegal in South Carolina. Alligators fed by humans come to expect food with each human encounter and if they don’t get it they may become aggressive. Since alligators are experts at finding their way home when relocated, any alligator deemed to be aggressive by the authorities are put down rather than relocated.
- If you’re close to an alligator that becomes aggressive, which is rare, back off and run away. The idea of running in zigzags is a myth. Just run in a straight line, directly away from the alligator. Alligators are fast, but only for extremely short distances.
If you encounter an alligator that you believe is acting aggressively, call Sea Pines Security Dispatch at 843.671.7170 to report it’s behavior and location. Do not take any action on your own.
If you see someone in immediate danger, call 911, then report it to Sea Pines Security Dispatch.