Local News

Alligator spotted in Hope Mills Lake

Posted June 9, 2010

— An alligator was spotted swimming in Hope Mills Lake on Wednesday morning.

“Seems like the whole town’s been out here watching this gator all morning,” resident Alex Smingler said.

A state wildlife biologist for the region was out of the area on Wednesday, but told local officials to monitor the alligator for the next couple of days. A determination will then be made whether to remove the alligator.

“A lot of times, they’ll just leave on their own after a couple of days,” N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission wildlife biologist Thomas Padgett said.

Padgett said he will visit the lake next week. If the alligator takes up residence in the lake, Padgett said he could trap it and move it to another body of water.

Police notified all lakeside residents about the reptile, which appeared to be about 5 feet long. Signs have also been posted near the lake warning of a gator sighting.

“I don’t want to find the gator in my driveway,” resident Chari Rowell said. “I think it needs to be removed.”

Alligator swims in Hope Mills Lake Alligator swims in Hope Mills Lake

Garrett Howell, 8, named the reptile Al.

“I love him,” Garrett said. “This is my favorite animal.”

The lake reopened to the public last year after a new dam was built. Heavy rains washed out the dam in 2003.

Road construction near the lake's feeder stream might have forced the gator to the lake, officials said.

“It’s quite possible the food chain was interrupted and was trying to find another place to go,” Hope Mills Fire Chief Chuck Hodges said.

Until further notice, officials have suspended swimming at Hope Mills Lake. Police said small pets should also be kept away.

Padgett said people shouldn't feed the alligator, otherwise it will want to hang around because it associates people with food.

Alligators are a protected species, and this is their natural habitat, he said.

“There’s nothing to be alarmed about. They’re a big part of our natural heritage in North Carolina,” Padgett said.


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  • haybo61 Jun 10, 2010

    My family has lived along Beaver creek for over 250 years. we still do. Beaver and Buckhead creeks feed Hope Mills Lake. Hardly a day goes by throughout the year that I do not spend some time on one of these creeks. Contrary to popular thought, it is not an isolated occurance to see alligators along these creeks. We have coexisted for hundreds of years. My father, my grand father and numerous relatives have seen them. They were seen moving around in the head of the lake two weeks prior to the most recent sighting. Construction on the creek has caused them to move their habite. They are part of the natural beauty of Beaver, Buckhead and Rockfish creeks. They were here long before you.The head of the lake has ducks, geese, beaver, otter, bear, rabbit, raccoon, fox, snakes all types of fish and many other types of wildlife. It is home to the white wickey plant, one of only a handfull of places in the world. A virtual oasis in the heart of Hope Mills. Leave it alone!

  • readme Jun 10, 2010

    It's the circle of life. I wish we had more wildlife here.

  • gunny462 Jun 10, 2010

    How about have the ppl move? Seems the gator is quite happy where it is.

  • kmichael Jun 9, 2010

    They're just misunderstood, gators are actually very sweet-natured creatures

  • cary1969 Jun 9, 2010

    momma said aligators are mad because they have all those teeth and no toothbrush.

  • paulmichaelowens Jun 9, 2010

    there's gold in that there lake... argghhhhh...

  • kmichael Jun 9, 2010

    They are around, gotta be careful...I live in Cary and had a good sized gator a few years back in my pond, plus occasional water mocassins and rattle snakes.

  • mimser Jun 9, 2010

    Exactly mpheels! If you don't want your kids to be eaten by the alligator, then be a parent and supervise them! It's not the alligator's fault your children look like prey. Just relocate the thing.

    It likely would be happier somewhere else anyway.

  • Skywatch_NC Jun 9, 2010

    Krikee! Look it at that gator!

  • Faceman Jun 9, 2010

    wish the croc hunter was still around..he would have tacked it!!