- Laying on pond edges and basking in the sun
- Moving from pond to pond which sometimes causes them to cross roads, trails and golf courses
- In mating season, males make bellowing sounds and slap their heads and tails in the water and females will hiss to protect their nests
- Lunging out of the water for prey
- approaching humans and fishing lines
Kiawah Island is home to a very healthy population of American alligators. Most of the alligators seen on Kiawah will be between three to eight feet in length, though larger alligators up to 11 feet are present in some areas of the island. Alligators are cold-blooded, which means that they cannot self-regulate their body temperature as humans do. For this reason, alligators are most active during the spring, summer, and fall. They will often be seen basking on pond edges in the sun in an attempt to warm their body temperature, especially during colder weather.
Alligators move from pond to pond on land, which sometimes causes them to cross the island’s roads, trails, and golf courses. Although alligators have a heavy body, they are capable of short bursts of speed, especially in very short lunges. If you see an alligator, stay at least 60 ft. away.
Alligators’ main prey are smaller animals they can kill and eat with a single bite. They may kill larger prey by grabbing and dragging it into the water to drown. Alligators consume food that cannot be eaten in one bite by allowing it to rot, or by biting and then spinning or convulsing wildly until bite-sized chunks are torn off. This is referred to as a “death roll”.
NEVER feed the alligators and remind your families and guests not to do so. Everyone who feeds an alligator puts the community at risk and sets the stage for future dangerous interactions between these animals and humans. If you witness someone feeding an alligator, do not wait, report them immediately to the Town (843-768-9166) during regular business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or KICA Security (843-768-5566) anytime.