Wildlife experts swear alligators aren’t moving into the Charlotte area, but sightings continue this spring, the latest of which is in Lockhart, S.C., about 45 miles southwest of the city.
A June 8 story in the Chester County News & Reporter says the biggest was an 8-foot-alligator, seen June 4 near the Broad River area of Lockhart. The other sighting was two weeks earlier, when a baby alligator was seen at the South Carolina Electric and Gas Neal Shoals plant, the newspaper reported. Neither waited around to wildlife agents to trap them, it was reported.
The news comes just over a week after two alligators were run over outside of Charlotte, one near Clover in York County, S.C., and one in nearby Union County. The 6-foot alligator that stepped onto Highway 74 in Union County died at the scene, about a mile outside of Marshville.
The one run over and killed near Clover was about 5-feet long, officials said.
Wildlife experts say alligators found near Charlotte were likely illegally kept as pets, then let loose when they got too big to keep around the house. The reptiles don’t normally live around Charlotte, because the area does not have the extended wetlands alligators need for breeding and raising their young.
Yet, it is clear alligators are living in the area, and worried Charlotteans are drawing parallels to the python population boom that has become an issue in the Everglades of Florida.