COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Alligator experts in South Carolina say this is an especially active time of year for the animals but that it's possible to avoid tragedies with some simple precautions.
"Just be mindful that there's some things you should be doing," said Jay Butfiloski with the SC Department of Natural Resources.
The state estimates there are about 100,000 alligators between the Midlands and the coast, however, alligator attacks in South Carolina have been rare.
Wildlife experts with the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service say most people who live in areas where there are a lot of alligators understand the basic rules.
"Not having unsupervised children and pets around the water. Not playing in the water after dark, not swimming after dark. Not swimming alone. Certainly not feeding alligators, and if you do see an alligator, don't approach it," explained Butfiloski.
"Just as [if] you were in the city with cars, and traffic, and people, you'd want to stay just as vigilant in an area like this, where you don't have the traffic. It looks beautiful and it's very peaceful but there are dangers lurking, just like there are anywhere else," said Marcie Kapsch, manager of the Santee Wildlife Refuge.
The word from alligator specialists is that alligator hunting has actually reduced the number of potentially dangerous alligators, those most likely to approach people.
We're currently in the active season for alligators, between now and August, when the animals are out looking for mates and for food.