A 12-foot alligator came out of the ocean onto the beach at Hilton Head Island, S.C., according to a Wednesday report on Fox 8 WGHP. The unlikely visitor was spotted around 8 a.m. on Monday morning. A bystander reported it to the beach patrol who called in an animal specialist with "Critter Management," Joe Maffo.
Using the normal arsenal of ropes, tape, etc..., Maffo managed to restrain the 800-pound beast in around 40 minutes. He made no secret that the alligator had taxed his strength. He said he was "exhausted" from battling the alligator. Maffo speculated that the approximately 45-year-old alligator was probably returning home from mating season, but the law states that he must be destroyed. He intends to discuss relocation with the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources.
According to NOAA.gov, alligators are not normally found in the ocean environment. They can tolerate the salt water for a few hours and, at the most, for a few days, but they like fresh water. Their normal habitat is places like swampy areas, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds. This was an unusual phenomenon, but not unheard of.
This big alligator has caused a commotion in the Hilton Head beach areas. Swimmers always have the thought of a shark in their mind when entering the ocean, but not so much a 12-foot-alligator! There have been television programs proving that sharks have moved inland to fresh water. Perhaps they have caused the alligators to change their movements, too.
It would be incredibly frightening to see an alligator of this size, (or any size) come up from the shallows beside where you were standing in the waves. The good thing is that it was so early in the morning that there were probably not any small children playing along the edge of the water. It could have been disastrous if there were.