Alligator sightings on the rise during mating season

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - You've probably noticed a lot more alligators in the last two weeks.

That's because right now it's mating season, so they're out and about. And sometimes, they're causing problems for people.

The owner of a company that specializes in controlling alligators said he has received approximately 20 calls for nuisance alligators. Prior to two weeks ago, he said he was only getting one call per week.

Mating season is expected to continue into the first week of June, which is when the number of sightings is expected to decrease.

Lowcountry residents have seen more alligators than usual over the last two weeks.

West Ashley resident Hung Vo posted a video of a large alligator crossing his street last week on Facebook.

"It saw a car going by, so what it did is stop, look both ways, and then walk across the street," Vo said.

The video picked up tens of thousands of views in a matter of days, but Vo said alligators in his neighborhood have become incredibly common in recent weeks.

"I'm not sure what it is, it might be mating season, but they're around a lot," Vo said.

Mating season for alligators usually starts in late April or early May, according to Ron Russell, the owner of Gator Getter Consultants Wildlife Services.

Russell said he has been handling nuisance gators in the Lowcountry for almost thirty years.

"I mean how many people can play with dinosaurs as much as I have over the last twenty-five years or so?" Russell asked.

Russell wrangled an alligator in North Charleston that ended up on a homeowner's porch early Monday morning.

Russell said it's pretty easy to stay safe if you come across an alligator.

"If people would just back off and make other people aware of it, the gator will go on about his way," Russell said.

Steering clear of alligators is also a smart idea to protect yourself legally.

"It's actually against the law to put your hands on a gator that you haven't been authorized to touch," Russell said.

Russell said if you do find an alligator that's causing a problem, it's best to call the authorities.

They try to make sure everyone, including the alligator, stays safe.

"If people go at it on themselves, somebody's going to get hurt, and we don't want that at all," Russell said.

Alligator mating season could last into early June.

Because of the cold spring seen in the Lowcountry, mating season was delayed by a week or so, which could shift the time the season usually ends.

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