The Official Publication of the Kiawah Island Community Association May 2019 D I G E S T ISLAND WILDLIFE A Practice Alligator Awareness as Weather Warms lligators are a common sight on Kiawah and can be found in just about every pond on the island. Almost everyone who lives, works or visits the island has seen these animals. Now that warmer weather is here, alligators have become much more active and have resumed feeding after the cold winter months. While alligators can appear lethargic and docile, they are capable of great speed, power and agility, especially when pursuing prey. It is especially important to use caution around these animals during mating season. Remember that alligators are more active during this time and will travel pond-to- pond, crossing roads and/or trails. Alligator courtship generally begins in April. Courtship involves a variety of vocalizations, head-slapping on the water’s surface, body posturing, snout and back rubbing, bubble blowing, and pheromone (scent) signals. Mating follows in May and June, and in late June and early July, the females lay their eggs. Check out the safety tips below, as well as some frequently asked questions Alligator Safety Rules • Never approach an alligator. Maintain a distance of 60 feet from alligators unless on an elevated dock or boardwalk. • Do not feed alligators. • Do not poke, prod or otherwise harass alligators. • Do not throw fish scraps or bait into ponds when fishing or crabbing. • Keep children, dogs and other pets out of ponds and away from pond edges. • Do not approach alligator nests or hatchlings. Female alligators are very vigilant and protective of their young. • Do not retrieve golf balls that land in ponds or near an alligator. • Do not attempt to pick up or handle an alligator for any reason.