Reports came in on Monday afternoon of an alligator in Wall Pond. This was later confirmed by The Chanticleer student newspaper’s photographer Eden Alon.
According to Alon, the alligator was young, appearing to be 2 to 3 feet long.
Alligators grow about a foot per year, said the Smithsonian National Zoo website, meaning it is possible it is 2 to 3 years old.
From the website, it seems that it would be old enough, at that size, to be separated from its mother. It was likely pushed out of its original home by older alligators and found its way to Wally Pond.
The American Alligator is the only species of alligator in the U.S. It is considered “Federally Threatened by similarity of appearance to the American crocodile,” meaning it is not actually endangered but looks a lot like the American Crocodile, which is endangered.
Alligators are cold-blooded and rely on heat from the world around them. They spend most of their time in the summer sun-bathing and spend the winters in hibernation.
Overall, alligator attacks are rare, unless they are being threatened or have been taught to see people as food.
It seems that this alligator has more to fear from us than we have from it.
“Alligators usually are not aggressive toward humans. Unprovoked attacks by alligators smaller than 5 feet are rare, but unusual behavior does occur,” said the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SC DNR) website.
Biologist Morgan Hart put out a press release on the SC DNR website on May 1, 2019, regarding small alligators.
“While we definitely don’t want to discourage people from calling in any situation they feel could be dangerous, just be aware that smaller gators that are in their normal habitat do not typically pose a problem, so long as people keep a safe distance from them,” said Hart.
David Lucas is a spokesperson for the Coastal Zone of SC DNR.
“A 2- to 3-foot alligator in its natural habitat such as a freshwater pond is pretty normal occurrence for the S.C. Lowcountry,” said Lucas. “The main thing that students or other people need to do is refrain from doing anything that would cause the alligator to associate people with food. That is the root cause of a lot of problems with nuisance alligators.”
It is illegal to feed alligators. They will quickly learn to rely on humans as food source, which is very dangerous.
In an Instagram poll done by The Chanticleer, 81 percent of students who voted by 10 a.m. Aug. 28 said they were not concerned about their safety knowing the alligator is on campus.
We have reached out to university officials for comment and they have not responded. We will continue to update this story.