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The first time Cheryl Woodring saw an alligator in Tyrell County, she and her husband, Danny, were on the way home from the Outer Banks. I took several pictures and we went on our way. At that time, I had never see one just out in the wild like that.

American Alligators Alligator mississippiensis can be found throughout the coastal regions of the Southeast, with North Carolina being their northernmost known habitat. They thrive in NC swamps, rivers, canals, tidal basins, and even ponds and lakes along the coastline and eastern inland regions. These creatures were almost obliterated from the state in the last century. Charlie, unofficial mascot of the Battleship North Carolina. Photo courtesy of battleshipnc.

Kids who pay the annual dues will get a t-shirt, sticker, membership card and discounts to special events. Visit battleshipnc. Male alligators top out at plus pounds and can grow to a length of 14 feet. Females are smaller, weighing up to pounds and reaching a max of 10 feet snout to tail tip.

Alligators grow slower in North Carolina than those living further south because the weather is cooler, and the feeding season is shorter. When it gets cold, they make a den or underground burrow and shut down. As they brumate their metabolism slows, and they stop eating. Alligators have been observed sticking their snouts out of frozen water to breathe and sometimes become stuck in the ice. Once the ice melts they swim away. It is easy to see how these adaptable creatures have survived for millions of years.

The number of alligators in the state and their range is not fully known. For that reason, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission is asking people who see alligators to report their sightings. Photo courtesy of Alligator Alliance. Their primary tool is to educate the public. The couple says they feel very fortunate to be able to observe alligators in the wild in our state and not just in a zoo or an aquarium. The McNeills remind us that as an indigenous species to North Carolina, alligators play an important role in our ecosystem.

When that happens, they lose their natural fear of humans and are often relocated or euthanized. If we all use a common-sense approach, we can co-exist with them. This means, be aware that any body of water in our coastal regions has the potential to have an alligator in or near it.

It also means stay away from them, do not feed or harass them and of course, keep children and pets away from them. If alligators are left alone they can exist as the wild animals they were intended to be, and we can all continue to enjoy these marvels of nature in their natural habitats.

They have survived for millions of years and this is their home. Even though their numbers have increased, alligators are classified as a threatened species.

It is illegal to harass or kill them. Seeing an alligator does not always mean it needs to be removed. Normally, according to wildlife experts, give it time and space and it likely will move on. But, if it is in a place that will cause danger to people, pets or livestock you should call a wildlife officer and let them do the removing.

Cases of alligators in the wrong places at the wrong time often make the news. Two such newsworthy stories in North Carolina include the foot, pound Dare County gator killed when a van hit it in May The van was damaged but drivable, the people in the van unhurt. It took heavy equipment to remove the dead alligator from the highway.

Another story that made the news happened in Swan Quarter, where a man found an eight-foot long alligator in his garage.

He did the right thing and called the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and they sent an officer to remove it and return it to its natural habitat. Why it is important to preserve alligators? Like all things in nature, they are part of the circle of life. They are important to the ecosystem of the coastal wet lands. They provide food for other species that eat their eggs and hatchlings. Their habit of digging dens into banks, ponds and lake bottoms provide other animals safe havens.

In turn, alligators feed on and control populations of everything from insects to snakes, birds and small mammals. Remember, if you see a wild alligator, watch and photograph it from a distance of at least 60 feet. Follow the safety rules and leave with a great memory. Share Tweet Share Pin Email. Joyce Compton Brown July 03, reply. Angela Flythe Holt August 20, reply. Ivan Orisek December 29, reply. John McNeill January 05, reply. Carolina Country January 05, reply.

Military on the Move April 11, reply. Susan Pearce September 20, reply. Beach Guy December 11, reply. Select a Different Cooperative.

October Table of Contents. Current Issue. Feature Story. July Albert the alligator. Sobek the alligator hatchling. Alligator Safety Tips and Regulations Keep pets on a leash and do not allow them to swim, drink or exercise in or near waters where alligators have been seen.

Watch young children closely and never leave them unattended near any body of water. Call to report an alligator near a home, business or disrupting traffic on a public road. Visit bit. North Carolina is a birding paradise. Get up close to animals in the Piedmont and the mountains. Comments 9. Excellent article. We should keep in mind that alligators, like all moms, are quite defensive of their young. Great work!

I believe alligators deserve our respect and protection! They are vital parts of the ecosystems they inhabit! How do you swim safely in lakes and rivers of North Carolina when there could be a foot alligator swimming with you? I have done it but now, I am not sure. Please advise. Ivan, Thank you for the great question.

We get this question a lot. There is no “safe” way to swim where there are alligators. When you swim in the ocean, you are at risk of having an encounter with a shark. It is the same with alligators and ANY body of water near our coast has the potential of having an alligator Please visit our website alligatoralliance.

Further inland, the chances of encountering an alligator decrease, but the best way to ensure your swimming safety is to stick to pools and stay aware of your surroundings. Thanks for your question. Incoming and long time residents in Onslow and Craven counties are always shocked to learn of Alligators in the area. It should be one of the first things briefed to incoming families as many see the postings near waterways as a joke.

This is something we hear over and over again people moving to our coast and not being aware that we have alligators. We agree that newcomers and residents should be made aware of the potential to come across alligators in ANY body of water.

We also suggest that people who are in charge of HOA meetings in subdivisions make it a point to inform current residents, as well as newcomers, about the dangers of alligators and how important it is not to feed them, approach them, or interact with them. It is especially important to not let children, or pets anywhere near them.

For more information about alligators in NC, please visit our website: www. I am from Northern California and July I had the opportunity to visit Lake Wacamaw with my in-laws and was excited to see the alligators living in the canal. I had only seen them in the zoo, so seeing them in the wild was one of my dreams come true. The people living along the canal saw my excitement I am 53 years old and being careful , they came out and watched me. They are obviously pretty proud of their gators.

 
 

 

Are there alligators in the mountains of north carolina.Alligator Facts – Are There Alligators In North Carolina?

 
If they’ll be in western NC and certainly anywhere west of Charlotte, gators are not a concern, maybe decades down the road if the climate. Alligators are not native to the Uwharrie Mountains, but one was found Monday paddling around in High Rock Lake in North Carolina. That’s more than miles. › › North Carolina Travel Forum.

 
 

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