PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C., Aug. 3 (UPI) — Authorities in South Carolina said a 7-foot alligator that came ashore on a beach was captured by experts and will be released back into the wild.
Pawleys Island police confirmed the alligator was reported by beachgoers Sunday and Rainer Hengst, who was photographing his family surfing, took photos and a video of the alligator being captured by police and wildlife removal experts.
“The alligator would come in to about knee-deep water and then go back out,” Hengst told ABC News.
“It’s unusual to see alligators in the ocean, but not unheard of. I’ve lived here for 10 years and this was my first time seeing one out there,” he said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says alligators are “primarily freshwater animals” but they “can tolerate salt water for a few hours or even days.”
Police Chief Michael Fanning said the alligator will be released away from the beach. He said the gator was the second to be captured after getting caught in the ocean’s current this summer.