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    Posted March 20, 2015 by
    ecotraveler
    Location
    Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Spring blossoms

    More from ecotraveler

    Spring Has Arrived and the 'Gators Couldn't Be Happier in Carolina

     

    Alligators are South Carolinas robins, and spring breakers were lucky this year. March in South Carolina means a sudden hot sunny day, then temperatures plummeting back in the 60's again, with plenty of showers for spring flowers.
    As Spring was making its way back to coastal Carolina, on this particular day temperatures sky rocketed and one lone alligator climbed sleepily out of his Winter semi-hibernation state to bask on the sunny bank.

    It's unusual to see an alligator this early, but when the water and the days warm sufficiently to bring these ancient reptiles out of hibernation in Summer, it's possible to see several cruising up and down along the causeway. Tourists love them, and many have never seen one in the wild, and in it's natural habitat.
    Locals and tourists have come to look forward to the first day the alligators begin to emerge from across the pond where they spend the Winters. The Causeway at Huntington Beach State Park is quickly becoming known as "Alligator Alley" on social media. The only way into and out of the park is used by cyclists, pedestrians, and cars and separates a salt marsh from the fresh water pond.
    By Summer, more alligators emerge to swim in the fresh water pond, but occasionally cross over - to the delight of tourists and locals, to clean themselves of parasites and bacteria in the salt water across the road.
    And the only way to get to the salt water and back, is to climb up the rocky bank, onto the sidewalk, and back across the road, where pedestrians and drivers give him a wide berth.
    While this young gator appeared to be napping after lunch by the pond, a raccoon took advantage of the sunshine and low tide to find some shellfish in the salt marsh, on the safe side of the road.
    Fog rolled in as temperatures dipped again in true Carolina style, and created a beautiful sunset.
    Meanwhile, the lone gator desperately seeking Spring disappeared and swam across the marsh. Most likely, he returned to his winter cove with the rest, to emerge again when Spring has permanently brought back warm sunny days.

    PHOTOS

    Approaching warm spring weather lured this sleepy 'gator out of his winter home and onto the sunny bank

    Camouflaged by foliage that hasn't yet turned green, this young alligator appears to be sleeping off his lunch

    By Summer, being at the right place at the right time, may give you an up close and personal glimpse of alligators crossing the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park

    Alligators are given a wide berth to cross the road to and from the saltwater marsh

    The brief respite from the cool rainy March days brought this hungry racoon out into the open to forage in the salt marsh at low tide. On the safe side of the road.

    Alligators slip easily into the pond from the rocky banks

    Fog helps produce a beautiful and unusual sunset after an unusually warm day when temperatures dip as much as 30 degrees or more overnight

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