Animal Services officers in North Carolina recently handled an unusual call – a request for the removal of an alligator who was “causing a threat” to the resident’s livestock. The odd incident occurred in New Hanover County on the southern coast of North Carolina.
Now, in some states, such as Florida and Louisiana, a call involving gators isn’t at all out of the ordinary. North Carolina, however, isn’t at all the haven for alligators that its fellow southeastern states provide.
With just 1,000 individuals total, the Tar Heel State has the second-lowest gator population in the country. For comparison, Louisiana is home to two million of the scaly species.
That said, though alligator encounters are less likely, they’re not impossible. And every now and then, a North Carolina alligator causes enough of a stir to make headlines.
According to the New Hanover County resident, the alligator in question had lived near her home for years, as the two ponds on her property provide the ideal environment for it.
Recently, however, it got a little too comfortable, venturing away from the ponds and making itself at home in a flower bed near her barn. When she later found the gator in the livestock pen housing her donkeys, she finally decided the reptile had gone too far.
Worried for her animals, the homeowner contacted animal services, who arrived at her home shortly thereafter to relocate the cheeky crocodilian.
“[The resident] said the alligator has been on her property for about five years in her two ponds but now is causing a threat to her other livestock,” the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office explained in a Facebook post.
“Animal Services Unit Deputies responded and took the alligator into custody at the direction of the NC State Wildlife biologist. The alligator was relocated safely into the wild.”
Did the alligator pose a threat to the North Carolina resident’s donkeys?
To be clear, the North Carolina resident absolutely made the right call requesting the alligator’s removal. Maintaining a safe distance from gators means staying at least 60 feet away. Obviously, that’s impossible to do when the reptile is in your livestock pen.
Aside from this, though, were her donkeys in danger from the alligator? The short answer is no, almost certainly not.
The alligator in the picture looks to be around six feet in length. While that isn’t a small animal, by any means, it is on the small side for a gator, a species that typically ranges between 6 and 12 feet in length.
Even for a colossal alligator, a donkey wouldn’t be its first choice of meal due to the livestock animal’s large size. This little guy couldn’t bring down a donkey if he tried. Any chickens or ducks on the property, on the other hand, would make an ideal dinner for the alligator.
As the alligator had yet to eat any of the North Carolina resident’s animals, we can assume it stuck to a typical gator diet up to that point, meaning fish, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and birds.
Thanks to the efforts of wildlife officials, it will continue to do so in its new home, far away from any donkeys.