Is there alligator 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.
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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.
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6 Not-So-Scary Ways to See Alligators in SC – Recent Posts
South Carolina Aquarium More than 5, animals make their home in the Charleston aquarium, among them, the American alligator. Take a one-hour walk with a guide to learn fascinating facts about these cold-blooded creatures. You also can see them in their natural environment, feeding, sunning or cruising through the water in Mullet Pond. Bring your binoculars to get a closer look.
Inside it, the eggs are kept at a constant temperature as a result of heat produced by decomposition of the nesting material. Sex of alligators is determined by nest temperatures during the middle third of embryo development. Females are produced at temperatures less than Decreasing numbers of males are produced as temperatures approach 35oC, a temperature beyond which only females are produced.
Incubation periods average between 63 and 65 days, but can be as long as 77 days. Hatchling alligators average about 24 cm 10 in in total length and weigh g 1. After hatching, juvenile alligators remain together in a group called a pod or creche, which may remain together for up to three years. Both sexes grow to about cm 4 ft by age 5. After this age, female growth begins to slow, presumably channeling energy towards reproduction, while males continue to grow fairly rapidly.
By age 25, males on average measure cm 10 ft 4 in and females average cm 8 ft 3 in. Males can reach lengths greater than cm 13 ft while females rarely exceed cm 9 ft 6 in. Males and females become sexually active when approximately 2. Alligator food habits vary by size class, with prey size increasing as alligators get larger. Hatchlings initially depend upon a yolk reserve but will begin feeding almost immediately on invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans, and snails and on small fish.
As they grow, larger foods such as snakes, larger insects and frogs become common. Adults feed on aquatic organisms and animals that come to the water’s edge to drink. In estuarine habits, the most common adult food item is blue crabs Callinectes sapidus.
Alligators are also known to feed on dead animals or carrion. Once alligators reach adulthood, they are top-level carnivores and have no natural predators. Raccoons Procyon lotor , wading birds, and deer Odocoileus virginianus are prey items of the largest animals. In South Carolina, the harvest of American alligators for both food and leather remained unregulated until the s.
In , alligators benefited from a law, originally intended to protect deer, that banned night shooting. By the early s, in an effort to reduce poaching, alligator trappers were required by law to possess a license and tags.
However, numbers of American alligators in South Carolina continued to decline, resulting in the closure of the season in Poaching continued even after inclusion of the species in the Endangered Species Protection Act of and the Endangered Species Conservation Act of Alligators were also killed because they were feared and misunderstood.
Management plans also began to help increase the number of wild alligators. Alligator farms began to raise alligators for the meat and skin trade so that wild alligators were not killed. With these improvements, the number of alligators in the wild has increased and they are once again a commonly seen reptile in the Lowcountry of South Carolina as well as the rest of their range.
One current major threat to alligators is the loss of wetlands. Many wetlands are being drained, filled in or channelized digging a straight, deeper path for water to flow through instead of flooding land naturally.
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Travel South Carolina. By Meghan Overdeep. Meghan Overdeep. Meghan is a senior staff writer at Southern Living.
Is there alligator in south carolina. American Alligator
Relocation of alligators in South Carolina is illegal. Translocation Translocation of alligators in South Carolina is illegal. Euthanasia Contact the SCDNR for nuisance alligator complaints. . Alligators in South Carolina The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is the only crocodilian native to South Carolina. Though once listed as a federally endangered . May 28, · The American alligator is the only crocodilian native to South Carolina. The range of this reptile includes the Coastal Plain of the Gulf and Atlantic states, ranging as far .