Nervous residents no doubt paying attention to a recent Disney World tragedy have called Carolina Beach officials in the past two weeks with reports of alligator sightings.
Town Manager Michael Cramer said in a news release Friday afternoon that periodic reports of alligator sightings are not uncommon in Carolina Beach and residents have little to fear. Usually, the animals are seen in the center of the sound around some of the marshy islands. Reports have also been made of alligators observed near the water’s edge and around docks of homes located on the canal.
Cramer said information from the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission indicates it’s perfectly normal for alligators to choose areas like the canal as their habitat. The creatures usually are disturbed by human contact and will swim away if approached.
When alligators start to approach houses, docks and people, however, it’s “probably because they are deliberately being fed or can find food in the area,” the release said.
The recent tragedy at Disney World in Orlando, in which a toddler playing near the shore was grabbed by an alligator and drowned, has “generated more than normal interest in and, for some, fear of these creatures,” according to the release.
The NCWRC will attempt to remove an alligator from an area but only if it is in excess of 9 feet long, crawls up on public or private property, or is blocking a roadway.
“I know that at least for the past three years I’ve been here we’ve had one or two complaints a year about alligator sightings but none have been removed,” Cramer said.
Residents should be reminded that poaching, harming, harassing or intentionally feeding alligators in North Carolina is illegal.
For more information, call the NCWRC at 1-800-662-7137.