Alligators In South Carolina: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Are There Alligators In South Carolina?

Alligators In South Carolina

Yes, there are alligators in South Carolina and you are most likely to see one in the state. Wildlife officials in the state say if you are near any river, lake, or swamp in South Carolina, just believe that there are alligators in the area along with you. 

Historically, in the early 1960’s these dwindling species in the state, were almost extinct in South Carolina due to several factors. Thanks to the efforts put in by many conservative groups, alligators have rebounded in population and were removed from the endangered species list in 1987. 

Today, they are only on the list of “threatened by the similarity of appearance” as they look similar to protected crocodilians. However, this has given the state greater flexibility to handle alligator populations in the state. 

How Many Alligators In South Carolina?

Historically, before the 1960s alligators were not protected by any law in the state and they were hunted to almost near extinction. Even after, listing them as the endangered species there were only a few left in the state. 

With the help of many conservation groups, the population grew, stabilized, and thrived.  Today, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says the estimated population of alligators in South Carolina is more than 100,000.

Where Do Alligators Live In South Carolina?

Alligators are commonly found in the southern of the fall line, which crosses the state on the I-20 highway in Kershaw to Aiken County. They inhabit a variety of wetland areas in South Carolina. They are normally seen inhabiting marshes, rivers, swamps, farm ponds, and lakes in forested areas. 

However, they can be seen in ditches, drainage canals, neighborhoods, retention ponds, golf course ponds, and sometimes even in your swimming pools. Any water body has the potential to hold alligators in the Low country regions, at least one time or another.

Biggest Alligators In South Carolina

The biggest alligator caught in South Carolina was recorded at 13 feet and 6 inches. The alligator weighed around 1,025 pounds. It was caught during a big game by hunter Maryellen Mara-Christian on September 15, 2010, in Lake Moultrie.

How Many Fatal Alligator Attacks In South Carolina?

Alligators In South Carolina

Alligator attacks are quite rare in the state but still, if you are attacked then it means nothing. However, South Carolina saw an increase in alligator attacks in recent years. Fatal alligator attacks had never been reported in South Carolina until the past decade. From 2016 to till date, the state has recorded 6 fatal attacks. This, year in 2023, the state has already recorded a fatal attack that happened in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. 

In, 2022, 5 people were attacked by alligators, of which two died. In June, a man aged 75, was dragged into a pond by an alligator in Myrtle Beach. This was followed by an attack in August when a woman in her 80s, who fell into a pond when gardening in her backyard was attacked in Sun City. Wildlife experts say the major reason for the upsurge in alligator attacks is very simple — individuals reside near alligator habitats. 

Also, Check Our Guide On Alligators In Orlando

How Big Are South Carolina Alligators?

The alligator species found in South Carolina is the American alligator, which is a member of the Alligatoridae clan. They can live up to 60 years when in captivity, however when in the wild they live only a little bit over 50 years. 

A male alligator can probably grow over 16 feet in length, whereas a female alligator can grow over 10 feet in length. They grow 8 to 10 inches every year in the first few years and will reach maturity at 7 feet. A huge alligator can weigh over 800 pounds.

Can You Hunt Alligators In South Carolina?

Though these dwindling species of South Carolina were near to expiration, they have rebounded in population which has made the state, allow an alligator hunting season. It is a limited hunting season that runs only from September to October. 

The hunting season has a designated quota hunt where hunters who have applied for a permit are chosen using a lottery system. The bag limit for each hunter is only a single gator that is 4 feet bigger in length. 

This must be harvested only in their specified hunting unit. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, approximately 300 alligators are hunted every season each year.

Can You Own Alligators In South Carolina?

Yes, you can own an alligator in South Carolina, but they can be kept only when they are permit holders. If held without a permit, then they would have stricter penalties for holding alligators illegally. Also, anyone caught feeding, bothering, or luring an alligator, unless, under the permit provided by state and federal law, the violators will be fined up to $1,000 or jailed for up to 30 days, or both.

Also, Check Our Guide On Alligators In the US


And that was everything you need to know about the Alligator in South Carolina. I hope this article answered all your queries.

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