What to do if you see an alligator in the Lowcountry
A 68-year-old Sun City woman has been hospitalized after she was bitten by an alligator while walking her dog Monday night in her neighborhood, according to S.C. Department of Natural Resources spokesperson David Lucas.
The woman, whose name has not been released by SCDNR, was walking in her backyard around 10 p.m. Monday when she encountered a 9-foot-long alligator between her home and her neighbor’s. The alligator bit her on the calf and wrist, Lucas said, and then ran away.
Her dog ran away during the attack and was not injured, he said.
The woman was treated on the scene and transported to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Lucas said. He said her injury on her wrist was “somewhat worse” than the injury to her leg.
The alligator likely came from a pond about 25 yards from the woman’s home, Lucas said. Around midnight, he said SCDNR crews captured a 9-foot-5-inch, male alligator and euthanized it.
Later Tuesday, SCDNR removed a second, 8-foot-7-inch female alligator from the pond behind the woman’s home.
Lucas said Monday’s attack is different from an Aug. 20, 2018 attack in which a woman in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island was killed after an alligator attacked her dog.
“It doesn’t seem like the gator attacked the dog,” he said. “It seems like she didn’t see (the alligator) in the dark.”
The attack happened on Landing Lane in Sun City, according to a news release from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.
Alligator attacks in South Carolina
There have been two alligator-related deaths in South Carolina since the state began keeping records in 1976, Lucas said in 2018.
Cassandra Cline, 45, was dragged into a lagoon and killed by a 9-foot alligator in August 2018. Her husband is suing the private Hilton Head Island community where she was attacked.
The other fatal attack was in 2016, when a 90-year-old woman slipped and fell down an embankment into a pond and was bitten.
Lucas said SCDNR’s main advice to the public: Do not feed alligators.
“Feeding alligators can quickly make them dangerous to people,” Lucas said in 2018. He said once people do this, the alligators start associating people with food and are more likely to approach them.
Lucas said people should always be aware of their surroundings if they’re in an alligator-friendly habitat — just about any body of fresh water in the Lowcountry — and not throw anything at alligators in the water.
If someone does see an alligator approaching, Lucas advises walking backwards to back away.
In July 2018, an 8-foot alligator attacked a dog in Long Cove Club. The dog was running out of the pond in a backyard when it was bit on both of its back legs. The dog survived and was treated with stitches.
In 2013, a woman walking two dogs near a lagoon in Hilton Head Plantation was attacked by an 8-foot alligator that charged out of the water at her. She slipped and fell when she tried to run away, and the alligator bit her ankle. She kicked it, and it ran away.
In 2009, an Ohio man was playing golf on a Fripp Island course when he leaned down at the edge of a lagoon to pick up his ball and a 400-pound alligator grabbed him by the arm and dragged him into the pond. The man survived, but lost his arm.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.