Want to ask a question? Click here

Why is there a 3-foot-long alligator in the retention pond behind Sam’s Club?

Amy Hotz

An alligator was spotted in April 2011 in the retention pond near Sam's Club in Wilmington. (StarNews photo by Amy Hotz)

Really, for the same reason alligators are anywhere. Alligators depend on water for survival. According to Hap Fatzinger, curator at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, our area is well within the range of alligators’ normal native habitat. They are often found in retention ponds and golf course ponds.

Although they’re small bodies of water, they provide delicious snacks for any ‘gator including sunfish, frogs, small turtle sand even ducks and geese.

“It’s not that uncommon at all to have an alligator in any water source around here,” Fatzinger said.

He and Andy Wood, education director of Audubon North Carolina, agree that the small alligator probably found his way to the vicinity of Sam’s Club, 412 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this], from Burnt Mill Creek.

“Especially young ones like that are able to travel extensively over land, like a mile or so,” Wood said.

He said it’s very possible this alligator hatched near the creek and needed to get out of harm’s way – away from territorial adult alligators – followed some drainage pipes, culverts and ditches, then settled in at the retention pond. If this pond does not have enough animal life to support a growing ‘gator, he will likely pick up and move again.

“My guess is he’ll be there until somebody complains,” Wood said, in which case the N.C. Department of Wildlife Resources would remove it.

Both men caution, however, that it is against state and federal laws to feed, harass or catch an alligator. Feeding alligator could make it more aggressive toward humans.

User-contributed question by:
Jennifer Lee

Got a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Click here to let us know!

Bookmark and Share

Ask a question

Ask a question

If you’re looking for answers about living in coastal North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. If we don’t have the answer to your question, we’ll find out or try to find someone who does. Hey, that’s our job! So, ask your question below and we’ll do our best to find the answer. Once we do, we’ll post it in an appropriate category.

Can we use your name to credit you by name (no e-mail or other contact information) with this question when we post an answer?
Your question:

Post a comment

Talk to us!

Have a comment about this post or know more about the answer? Use this form to let us know. Note that all comments are moderated and must be approved before they are posted, although you may see your own comments the first time you post them.

Your comment: