Recent gator sightings tied to mating season - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Recent gator sightings tied to mating season

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -

A six foot long alligator was captured off of Jarvis Creek Park in Hilton Head after it had been approaching people for food.

At the Coastal Discovery Museum, seeking gators is normal, but experts say some of the more recent sightings are because of mating season.

The gator captured near Jarvis Creek Park got too friendly with people and had to be relocated.

Joe Maffo, a state certified agent to capture nuisance gators, gets about 15 calls a week about gator sightings. On Saturday, he was called about one roaming the area near Old Cemetery Road on Hilton Head.

"It was probably the heaviest gator I've ever encountered," said Maffo.

With a bunch of manpower, they were able to capture the 12 foot, 1,000 pound gator. They put him into the water at the north end of the island, but that wasn't the last time they ran into it.

"His hormones were raging, and he's looking for a girlfriend, and he came right back to Hilton Head," said Maffo.  

That alligator was eventually relocated to the wildlife refuge.

Maffo said that's exactly why, recently, it seems more and more people are seeing gators roaming far from home. One was spotted at an outlet mall outside of Charleston, and another one was spotted in a neighborhood on Kiawah Island.

To boil it down, gator love is in the air.

"Their hormones are raging, and they're running around," said Maffo. "You'll never see a rattlesnake in your life, and I saw one already this year. Nature is nature."

He also said people are overdeveloping their natural homes, so now they are having to roam farther to find a mate. If you do see one, don't worry. You're probably not its type.

"I've been trying to tell people, it knows where it's going, please just allow it to go where he's going," said Maffo. "Don't ever approach an alligator. Call the experts."

The good news is, mating season is almost over. It ends the first week of July.

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