David Love's photo of tagged alligator in Sea Pines

Sea Pines has volunteered to be in a first-of-its-kind alligator research and study program that's being conducted by Clemson University, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Nemours Wildlife Foundation of Yemassee. They're looking into how alligators behave in residential communities.

Alligators are apex predators and play a crucial role in fostering a healthy ecosystem. They can grow to over 13 feet in length, weigh up to a half-ton and live as long as humans. They are highly intelligent creatures. When the weather warms up in spring, and love is in the air, males begin roaming about and fighting for territory. By May, the males are bellowing out deep grunts while agitating the water with their backs. It's an impressive sound and display of prowess as they call out for a mate

The purpose of the study that Sea Pines has joined, along with Kiawah, Fripp and Spring islands, is to better understand the needs of alligators in order to accommodate their habits and behaviors in residential communities.

As part of the study, six alligators have been captured in Sea Pines and have humanly been attached with a GPS device to the back of their necks. Every three hours for the next two years, a signal will track the whereabouts of these six alligators. The full study is being conducted from 2018 to 2022. One of the six alligators was caught in Lake Joe. It was over eleven feet long, weighed over 250 pounds and is thought to be at least 37 years of age. The alligator pictured above was caught in the South Live Oak lagoon. It's over nine feet long, weighing more than 165 pounds and is at least 30 years old.

As part of the project, locals and visitors are encouraged to report sightings of these tagged alligators. TO REPORT A SIGHTING CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK:  www.freshwaterconservationecology.org/alligator-sightings 

The data from this research will help Sea Pines to better understand how our gators move around, their habits and behaviors. This information will help communities to design areas that encourage or discourage the presence of alligators while maintaining the optimum benefits to the local ecosystems.

It's important to understand that alligators have great memories. If they are offered food they lose all fear of people and can become nuisance alligators with attitudes. There's a saying, "IF IT'S FED, IT'S DEAD." It's also against state law to feed or harass alligators.

If an alligator is caught because it's become a nuisance, it is destroyed by state law. Please show common sense and respect by never approaching or feeding them food. Alligators are a thrill to watch from a safe distance and they're an important component to keeping our ecosystem In Sea Pines healthy and productive.

Posted by THE LOVE FAMILY on
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