DNR says Lake Hartwell gator pic is a hoax

Releasing alligators in Upstate is a ‘death sentence’ according to officials
Generic alligator photo
Generic alligator photo(Pexels/Generic graphic)
Published: Apr. 26, 2022 at 2:16 PM EDT
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ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said a photo getting thousands of shares on social media claiming to be of an alligator at Lake Hartwell is a hoax. The agency also has a warning for the community about releasing alligators in the Upstate.

Greg Lucas with SCDNR said they were made aware of the photo after it was posted on Facebook on Saturday. A game warden looked at the picture and pointed out white sand is visible in the photo, indicating it was taken in a coastal area and not the Upstate.

“Also, the alligator in the photo was tremendous, in the 10 to 12-foot range,” Lucas said. “An alligator doesn’t grow to that size overnight! If we had an alligator that size in Lake Hartwell, someone would have seen it by now.”

Lucas said most alligators in South Carolina are concentrated in the coastal zone and throughout the coastal plain. Winter temperatures in the Upstate are typically deadly for alligators.

When alligators are found in Upstate waters, Lucas said it’s because someone removed them from the Lowcountry, kept them as pets, and then released them.

“It’s a death sentence for an alligator to release it in an Upstate reservoir,” he said. “That’s an irresponsible and cruel act. Alligators don’t do well in cold waters. Since alligators are not supposed to be here in the Upstate, it also frightens Upstate boaters or lake visitors when they see an alligator.”

Lucas said small alligators are not dangerous to humans and American alligators are generally not aggressive.

Owning a pet alligator is illegal in South Carolina.