Untamed Lowcountry

‘I opened the door, and I saw his mouth’: Bluffton woman finds gator on porch

What to do if you see an alligator in the Lowcountry

Tony Mills, education director for Spring Island and host local nature show Coastal Kingdom, talks about the most important things to remember when encountering alligators in the Lowcountry. To learn more about alligators and other animals in the
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Tony Mills, education director for Spring Island and host local nature show Coastal Kingdom, talks about the most important things to remember when encountering alligators in the Lowcountry. To learn more about alligators and other animals in the

When Jo Brunson of Bluffton heard a strange knocking sound at her front door Tuesday afternoon, her first thought was a news report she’d read about a woman finding an alligator on her porch.

Before answering the knock, she told the story to her 15-year-old twins — a son and a daughter.

“They kind of laughed,” she said.

But then she opened the door of her Lawton Station home. And closed it quickly.

“It’s an alligator,” she told her children.

They didn’t believe her.

“No, it literally is an alligator,” she told them.

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Jo Brunson Submitted

She said the gator was 3- to 4-feet long and was looking right at her.

“I opened the door, and I saw his mouth,” she said. “There it was, just sitting there.”

She said the street she lives along was busy at the time.

“People were walking up and down the street ... going to the pool and riding their bikes,” Brunson said.

“He didn’t seem to be afraid of us,” she said.

She called the police and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and she left a message for a local wildlife relocation business. Ultimately, though, she decided to take a wait-and-see approach regarding her gator guest.

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Jo Brunson Submitted

After about 40 minutes, the alligator lost interest in the Brunson family’s porch.

“Later on, it just moseyed over past the garage into the hedges,” Brunson said.

In May 2018, a North Charleston family woke to find an angry alligator stuck on their porch, and the year before, an alligator made it to a second-floor porch in Mount Pleasant.

Brunson said there are several lagoons nearby, and the family has seen alligators there in the five years they’ve lived in the neighborhood.

“We’ve had alligators come up right to the fence,” she said, “but we’ve never had one come to the front door.”

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Lisa Wilson is a breaking news reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. The 25-year newsroom veteran has worked for papers in Louisiana and Mississippi and is happy to call the Lowcountry home.
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