MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officials want to remind people not to feed alligators in community areas.
“Feeding an alligator is terrible. It’s the number one thing that causes real problems,” said David Lucas, spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Lucas later added that, naturally, alligators are afraid of humans and will even slide off into the water when a human approaches, but once you feed them they begin to associate humans with food, which means they remember that when humans were around, there was food in the water, whether it be fish or whatever it is that people might throw at them. It makes them more aggressive towards humans and less likely to swim away when people approach.
Feeding an alligator is a misdemeanor and could lead to a fine in an amount no more than $200 or 30 days in jail.
Lucas gave some more tips when it comes to safety around alligators:
- be aware of your surroundings
- stay around 30-40 feet away from an alligator
- keep pets on a leash especially small ones
- don’t walk small pets by any water where an alligator may be
With the large amount of wetland areas in the Lowcountry, alligator safety is as important as ever.