RALEIGH, N.C. (WGHP) — The North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission has released guidance on coexisting with the alligators that share our coast as they wake up from their winter brumation — a long period in which they don’t eat and stay in their dens.
Alligators occur in North Carolina naturally, and very rarely are they a threat to humans. They can become a nuisance if they’re fed by humans, which can cause them to lose their natural fear of people. Feeding alligators is a violation of state law.
Generally an alligator is no cause for alarm.
“Each year, the Wildlife Commission receives lots of calls from new and lifelong residents, as well as visitors, who are surprised to see alligators in coastal neighborhood ponds and ditches in the spring and summer months. Many of these alligators are just passing through on their way to somewhere else and will likely leave within a few hours or a couple of weeks if left alone.”
If you’re going into alligator territory (the southeastern part of North Carolina), remember to keep your pets secure on a leash and away from bodies of water, supervise all children, and use caution in waters where alligators have been seen, especially around dusk or dawn.
“I always tell people to enjoy the opportunity to see an alligator in the wild but view them from a safe and respectful distance,” Davis added. “How far away should you be from an alligator? A good rule of thumb is the length of a full-size school bus for small alligators and double that for adult alligators.”
To learn more about coexisting with alligators, the public can download an informational pamphlet “Coexist with Alligators” from the agency’s website, and view the American Alligator species profile at ncwildlife.org.