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#06-191 July 17, 2006

Alligator warning signs now available

In an effort to educate and warn the public of the presence of alligators, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources has available a 16”x 20” alligator sign.

The thriving and healthy population of American alligators in South Carolina is an indicative reason to reiterate alligator behavioral habits with the signs, which are ideal for posting in prominent areas where alligators are often seen.

For additional information and to inquire about the new alligator signs, contact S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) offices in Charleston, (843) 953-9856; in Georgetown, (843) 546-8119; in Green Pond, (843) 844-8957; or in Columbia (803) 734-3898. Find out more about the American alligator at the DNR website: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/marine/mrri/acechar/specgal/gator.htm. See video on alligators>>>

The American alligator, which has regained a healthy population level, remains protected under S.C.Gator sign Regulation 123-151.  Increasing alligator presence, combined with coastal and inland development, has created management problems where human land use and alligator presence coincide. DNR oversees a permitting program to control nuisance alligators, in which permits are issued to property owners, homeowner associations and other land managers to remove or contract the removal of alligators causing problems in public and residential areas. Permit holders may contact DNR offices for an alligator sign.

The signs state several important issues to remember about alligators:

Of the more than 750 alligator complaints investigated by the DNR each season, more than half involve small alligators less than 5 feet in length, according to Walt Rhodes, Alligator Project biologist with the DNR based at the Santee Coastal Reserve in McClellanville. Alligators of this size feed on crawfish, aquatic insects, small snakes, frogs and turtles. The average body weight of alligators 3 feet in length is not quite 4 pounds. Four-foot alligators average about 11 pounds, while gators measuring 5 feet average only about 22 pounds.

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