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Coexist with Alligators

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Tips to Coexist with Alligators

2 May 2022 | Emily Gaydos Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

American alligators are part of the natural fauna in the coastal region of North Carolina, inhabiting freshwater bay lakes, rivers, creeks, marshes, swamps and ponds. While the largest populations of alligators are found in Brunswick, New Hanover, Craven, Onslow and Pender counties, local populations are distributed in patches along the entire North Carolina coast. MCB Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River are no exception and alligator sightings are regularly reported to base wildlife staff.

Despite their intimidating appearance, alligators are relatively secretive and shy — traits that can disappear and make them a public safety issue if they are habitually fed by humans.

It is illegal to feed, harm, harass or poach an alligator in North Carolina. While they rarely pose a threat to humans, alligators can become a nuisance when people either intentionally or unintentionally feed them, which causes them to associate humans with an easy meal.

Follow these safety tips to be a good alligator neighbor:

  • Never feed or approach an alligator — no matter what its size
  • Keep pets on a leash and do not allow them to swim, drink or exercise in or near waters where alligators have been seen
  • Watch young children closely and never leave them unattended near any body of water
  • Be especially cautious in and around waters where alligators have been seen between dusk and dawn — times when alligators are most active
  • Do not feed ducks or geese in waters where alligators are known to live
  • When fishing, don’t throw fish scraps on the ground or back in the water

Alligators become more active as temperatures warm in early spring and will remain active, relatively speaking, through the fall. In most cases, an alligator within the installation will not be relocated unless it is displaying aggressive behavior, causing a public safety issue (blocking a road, in a building, on the airfield, etc.), or if the safety of the animal is at risk. An alligator seen in an unusual place will most often move away on its own within a few hours to a couple of weeks.

Alligator sightings can be reported to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission via a new citizen science website at or the free iNaturalist app, which is available for iPhone and Android. Data collected will provide more information about the distribution of alligators in the state.

Installation personnel with questions about alligators or to report instances of poaching, harming, or intentionally feeding an alligator can contact the Land and Wildlife Resources Section at 910-451-5226 or