A "pest" for gardeners in the Low Country ?

While alligators are not normally aggressive to humans, they can become dangerous if approached or provoked.  There have been reports of a number of attacks, including atacks on gardeners, in recent decades, resulting in loss of limb and even death.

A mother alligator protecting its nest in wooded or brushy areas near a lagoons might attack without provocation.  Nesting is May through August.  The mother protects its hatchlings for one to three years.

Alligators fed by humans come to expect food with each human encounter, and if they don’t get it, may act aggressively.

Alligators are considered “keystone species”, influencing the types of species that live in a ecosystem. On barrier islands like Hilton Head Island, alligators provide fresh water for other wildlife to drink during droughts by digging “gator holes” that bring groundwater to the surface, while providing alligators with a cool, wet place to rest. They help to control the numbers of many of the species they eat.

Note the attractive pine needle mulch which is an excellent mulch for acid-loving trees and shrubs such as azaleas and evergreens. Pine needles tend to interlock and stay in place better than most mulches, especially on a slope. A 2″ layer of pine needle mulch  allows air, water and nutrients to penetrate easily to the soil surface, while retaining soil moisture and reducing the growth weeds.