Untamed Lowcountry

Gator almost as long as an SUV takes a midnight stroll on a Beaufort County highway

Watch: Hilton Head Plantation security removes thrashing alligator from home’s pool

A Hilton Head Plantation security officer calmly removed a thrashing alligator from a resident's pool on Memorial Day. The gator was relocated to a lagoon inside the S.C. gated community.
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A Hilton Head Plantation security officer calmly removed a thrashing alligator from a resident's pool on Memorial Day. The gator was relocated to a lagoon inside the S.C. gated community.

Why did the gator cross the road? We’re not sure, but this one decided 1 a.m. would be a great time to do it.

A monstrous alligator, estimated to be upwards of 14 feet long, was spotted in the eastbound lanes of S.C. 170 near Argent Boulevard in the Okatie area early Thursday morning, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Maj. Bob Bromage said.

He said a trooper with S.C. Highway Patrol noticed a motorist on the side of the road and realized the driver had pulled over because of a gargantuan alligator.

Highway Patrol called the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office for assistance, and Critter Management also responded to help safely move the gator across the road toward the woods.

This isn’t the first time an alligator has utilized Lowcountry roads.

As recently as a few weeks ago, an alligator was escorted off Hilton Head’s Cross Island Parkway four times in one day.

Sometimes, the animals don’t cause too much of a disruption and are able to cross roads without being harmed, like in July when Sheriff’s Office deputies redirected traffic so an 8-foot alligator could cross the road near Compass Road Park on Hilton Head.

A deputy with the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office responds to a call of an alligator on the Cross Island Parkway on Hilton Head.

However, in May 2018, a mother and her two children were killed in a fiery wreck after their car hit an alligator crossing I-95 in Orangeburg County.

Alligators move around most when they’re mating from mid-April through May, according to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory.

So far this season they’ve been spotted all over the county, including on other roadways like U.S. 278 in Bluffton, in Sea Pines at the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing and on golf courses.

Experts warn those who come across an alligator to keep their distance, especially during mating season.

“Although they may look slow and awkward, alligators are extremely powerful and can move with a startling burst of speed on land over short distances,” according to the ecology laboratory’s alligator guide

Reader Jamie Booth shared this video with us of a big alligator crossing Palmetto Bay Road on Hilton Head Island, SC May 14, 2017.

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Lana Ferguson has covered crime, police, and other news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.

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