Nuisance Alligators Responsibility of Property Owners in South Carolina

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The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Alligator Management Program issues permits for the removal and disposition of nuisance alligators to property owners, property owners associations, property holding companies and local governments or their agents.

An estimated 100,000 alligators live from the Midlands to the coast of South Carolina, and the population is not threatened with the removal of a small number of problem gators.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will assist property owners and concerned citizens once a complaint is received. If the complaint warrants, a removal permit will be issued to the property owner, and the property owner can remove the nuisance alligator themselves or contact a wildlife control operator perform this service.

However, in an emergency situation, DNR will dispatch a contracted Alligator Control Agent to remove the animal. Emergency situations are unusual and are considered such only when an alligator becomes an imminent safety threat. The nearest DNR Regional Office should be called in an emergency situation, and a contracted Alligator Control Agent will be contacted to remove the alligator.

When not an immediate threat to public safety, it is up to the landowner’s discretion to determine if the alligator is considered enough of a problem to warrant the removal of the animal. Except in cases involving rare or endangered species, control of nuisance wildlife and animal damage is the responsibility of the individual property owner.  DNR maintains a list of Wildlife Control Operators that provides wildlife control services, and like most businesses, does charge a fee for this service. The amount charged is negotiable between the customer and the Wildlife Control Operator, and will often depend on the distance traveled, number of trips required, time expended, and/or number of animals removed.  The alligator permit is issued to the landowner and they can remove the alligator themselves, or have someone else such as a friend or neighbor do the work as a no-cost alternative to hiring a Wildlife Control Operator. A list of Wildlife Control Operators that have indicated that they will remove alligators for a fee is included with all alligator permits.

If an alligator is causing problems, contact the nearest DNR office. For an after-hours emergency only, call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-922-5431. Call the following numbers if you have a nuisance alligator during normal business hours:

  • (843) 953-9856 (in Charleston)—Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties

  • (843) 546-8119 (in Georgetown)—Darlington, Dillon, Clarendon, Florence, Georgetown, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Sumter and Williamsburg counties

  • (803) 734-3898 (in Columbia)—Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, Lexington, Orangeburg, and Richland counties

  • (843) 844-8957 (in Green Pond)—Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties