LAKE MURRAY, SC (WIS) - Donna Faircloth says she found an alligator outside of her home near Lake Murray, and she hopes this recent discovery could prompt the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to see if there are more living there. .
Faircloth posted the photo with the alligator and a tape measure on Jan. 2. She found it in a koi pond on her property, which is not lakefront, but the lake is around them and lies about half to a quarter of a mile away from the lake at its closest point.
“I just fished this 30 inch (two-and-a-half foot alligator) out of my koi pond,” she wrote. “DNR says Lake Murray does not have alligators. So can anyone tell me where it came from if not Lake Murray 🤔 This just means he crawled through our lakefront neighbors yards to get to my koi pond.”
She said she first spotted the alligator when she went to her koi pond and found it dead.
“I got a fishing net and removed him from the pond and we measured it at 30 inches from tip of tail to [the] end of his snout,” Faircloth said. “I called DNR thinking that maybe they tracked alligator sightings in the area.”
She said after being bounced around the SCDNR offices to speak to someone, she discussed the size and was told to bury it. If it was larger, she was told that someone would come and pick it up.
"I said ‘does this mean we have alligators in Lake Murray,’ and the response was, ‘No, Lake Murray is too cold for alligators.’”
After debate continued on her post, she later updated her post saying that it was confirmed that it was an alligator and it would be approximately four years old.
Faircloth said she’s not sure what happened to the alligator, but it may have something to do with the koi pond’s set-up.
“We have five acres, some wooded, some landscaped, the pond is in the backyard next to the house,” she explained. “It was originally a swimming pool which we converted into a koi pond. The sides are vertical which prevented him from climbing out.”
Many commenters on her post insist that it may have formerly been someone’s pet let go at the lake. But it continues the long-debated narrative of alligators and Lake Murray.
According to the SCDNR website, the American alligator, or Alligator mississippiensis, is the only crocodilian native in the Palmetto State. The alligator population has thrived in South Carolina in recent years - so much so, that a hunting season was instituted in 2008.
The SCDRN website says that the American alligator can grow to be 13 feet and can live to be older than 60 years old.