Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 17th, 2009
WCNC put it concisely: “No one knows for sure how the reptile ended up in Lake Hickory but the weather here is not warm enough for gators to live in.”
We last heard about this “crazy croc” that wasn’t suppose to survive the winter, way back in the spring of 2008.
Granite Falls, North Carolina, resident Len Mendat snapped this picture of a visitor napping on a log behind his back yard on Lake Hickory, on May 8, 2009. Other sightings have followed.
Ragan Robinson at the Hickory Daily Record shares the latest on the new out-of-place alligator sightings from North Carolina:
A Hickory [North Carolina] man said he spotted an alligator in the water near Lake Hickory Campground on Thursday [May 14, 2009].
It’s the second sighting in a week, and Gary Cook of Halifax Road said he doesn’t think this is the same animal.
“It kind of looked like somebody’s pet,” he said. “It was about aquarium-size.”
Granite Falls resident Len Mendat snapped pictures of what appeared to be a larger alligator Friday near his home by the lake. Last summer, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission officials studied an alligator or caiman in the lake but decided to let it be.
Cook, 60, is familiar with gators. He said he used to use a bow to hunt the creatures in Florida for the meat.
He prefers alligator tail to lobster but said he won’t be hunting the animals in Lake Hickory.
American alligators are a threatened species, which means it is illegal to kill them.
Cook isn’t too worried about the presence of an alligator.
“It can come around as long as it doesn’t bite my toe,” he said.
That’s unlikely, said Michael Juhan, a wildlife biologist for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
“As long as nobody’s been feeding them, they’re going to stay away from people,” he said. “They eat things that are the size of a toad or a frog. They’re not out looking for a 4-year-old swimming in the lake.”
His supervisor, wildlife biologist Brad Howard, took some flak earlier this week for saying an alligator in Lake Hickory does not pose a threat to humans or small pets.
Juhan said alligators that attack people or pets are normally 8 feet or longer and are used to being around people.
In photos, the animals spotted in Lake Hickory this year and last summer look smaller than that. Juhan said it is likely they were pets released into the lake when they became too much for owners to handle.
That could mean they have been around people, although Juhan said his office hasn’t gotten complaints about alligators coming into in yards or snapping at dogs.
“You can make assumptions about everything but you just have to treat them as wildlife,” Juhan said. “If they start causing problems, we’ll worry about them then.”
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.