Alligator Safety

American Alligator

Do you know what the most common reptile on and around Hilton Head Island is? The answer is the American Alligator also known as alligator mississippiensis.

In the winter, alligators hibernate in freshwater ponds and lagoons, often digging down into the mud. But in the summer months, alligators alternate between basking out of the water to warm up, and remaining in the water to cool down to maintain the best body temperature for activity. Alligators are protected by both South Carolina state and federal law because they offer necessary services to barrier islands, like Hilton Head Island. Some of these services include digging gator holes, control marine population, and maintain a stable ecosystem.

So while they are beautifully powerful reptiles, alligators can be dangerous. Please do not approach or feed an alligator. They can move very quickly. Don’t harass an alligator or swim in local waters or let your pets swim in the water. And above all, NEVER feed an alligator. Alligators fed by humans come to expect food with each human encounter, and if they don’t get it, may act aggressively. If you observe violations or have concerns contact Shipyard Security at 843.785.4776 and download this information sheet.

To learn more about alligators and our other native reptiles, go to: