Are there wild alligators in south carolina – are there wild alligators in south carolina
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The study found female alligators are reproductive far longer than previously thought, 46 years past the onset of sexual maturity in one case.
The American alligator Alligator mississippiensis , a reptile, is a member of the Family Alligatoridae. Alligator populations reached their lowest levels in the early ‘s due to several factors. However, management and conservation actions by state and federal governments as required by the Endangered Species Act ESA allowed the alligator population to increase. They were removed from «total protection» status under the ESA in The alligator is now listed as «threatened by similarity of appearance» because of its likeness to other protected crocodilians worldwide.
This provides greater flexibility for South Carolina and other southeastern states to manage alligator populations. Today, approximately , alligators occur in the state of South Carolina. Alligators are typically found south of the fall line which roughly traverses the state from I in Aiken to Kershaw County, then up U. Highway toward Cheraw in Chesterfield County. There is no evidence that alligator populations reproduce north of the fall line, and it is suspected that many of the alligators found well above the fall line may have been illegally relocated.
However, a small number of individual alligators can naturally show up in these areas. Alligators usually remain in the area where they were hatched for two to three years before establishing their own range. Females generally have small home ranges, while males may occupy a home territory of more than 2 square miles.
Severe drought or flood conditions may cause alligators to move considerable distances in search of suitable waters. They normally are found in marshes, swamps, rivers, farm ponds and lakes in the wild, but also have been found in ditches, neighborhoods, drainage canals, retention ponds, roadways, golf course ponds and sometimes in swimming pools.
Nearly any water body in the Lowcountry has the potential to harbor alligators at one time or another. During the remainder of the year, males prefer open and deep waters while females seek out nesting habitat in secluded areas with shallow water and heavy vegetation. Alligators can live up to 60 years in captivity, but in the wild they rarely live more than 50 years. Male alligators can presumably grow up to 16 feet in length, although footers are rare, whereas female alligators can grow up to 10 feet.
After breeding, females lay an average of 35 to 40 eggs that incubate for about 65 days. Hatchlings are about 8 to 10 inches in length. About 20 percent of the young will survive to maturity. The others fall victim to predators such as raccoons, birds, snakes, otters and other alligators. They grow approximately eight to 10 inches per year for the first few years and will reach sexual maturity at about six to seven feet in length.
Large alligators can reach weights of over pounds. During the first few years their diet consists mainly of small prey such as snails, crayfish, frogs, insects and other invertebrates. They help maintain the population balance of certain prey species and they help shape and modify habitat. During times of severe drought, alligators are known to dig holes «gator holes» to concentrate water.
This helps the alligator survive, and provides a water source to many other species of plants and animals in the area. In , the SCDNR initiated a problem alligator program that allows contracted agent trappers to capture and harvest specific problem alligators greater than four feet in length. A nuisance alligator is one that exhibits aggressive behavior toward humans or domestic animals, has become habituated to people, shows symptoms of some debilitating illness or injury, or inhabits recreational waters intended primarily for swimming.
South Carolina’s alligator hunting season has been designated as a quota hunt where a limited number of hunters are allowed to harvest one alligator 4 feet or greater in length each from a specified hunt unit.
Please subscribe to keep reading. You can cancel at any time. Edit Close. Read Today’s E-Edition. Log In. My Membership. Share This. Alligators in South Carolina. Share this. People are also reading…. Alligators occupy a variety of wetland habitats in South Carolina. During courtship and breeding, from April to May, alligators prefer open waters. Alligators are carnivores and will eat almost anything they can catch.
Agent trappers harvest approximately problem alligators annually in South Carolina. Related to this story. Mother, children — 2 and 4 — die after vehicle hits alligator in Orangeburg County. Notifications Settings. Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device. News Alerts Subscribe. Breaking News Subscribe.
Are there wild alligators in south carolina – are there wild alligators in south carolina –
· None are registered for the control of alligators. Shooting. In South Carolina, nuisance alligators should be reported to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources . · Where do alligators live in SC? Alligators are restricted to the Coastal Plain, which includes the Central Savannah River Area of Georgia and South Carolina. In South Carolina, . · Populations of alligators in South Carolina have done so well, that the DNR instituted a hunting season in There are only two species of alligator, the American alligator .