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Gator causes unique wake up call in Brunswick County

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It was a harrowing scene along Highway 17 in Brunswick County this morning. It was not a car accident that slowed traffic; instead it was wildlife officers trying to catch an alligator.

It was a different type of wake-up call for Pam Johnson and her family Thursday morning at their home on Highway 17 near Supply.

“Quarter to seven the doorbell rings, and someone is at my door asking if I knew that there was an eight-foot gator trying to get into our pond,” she explained.

Johnson did not know, so her daughter called 9-1-1 and wildlife officers were quickly on the scene, along with a dozen or so spectators.

The officers said this time of year alligators move from pond to pond looking for food and mates. “The right-of-way fence was keeping him from getting in it, so that’s why his nose was all cut up real bad,” said Officer Matt Criscoe.

Matt Criscoe and his partner got a rope on the gator and tied it to the fence. However, when they went to secure him and take him away, the rowdy reptile got loose.

The officers stayed calm and quickly caught the eight-foot-long, two-hundred-plus-pound bull again.

“You never know what kind of alligator you’re messin’ with. They could be calm. I’ve wrestled some that they never even opened their mouth; went with me. And you got some just like that that’s a little older, a little more irritable, and they tend to me a little more aggressive,” Criscoe said.

With the help of a deputy and trooper, the wildlife officers taped the gator’s mouth closed and his hind legs behind him. They then loaded him into a truck to release him in Green Swamp; a quiet end to an otherwise eventful morning.

“When that gator started opening its mouth and swirling around, anything could’ve happened,” Pam Johnson said.

Officer Criscoe said it’s important not to feed alligators because it draws the animals toward humans.

If you spot a gator that needs to be taken away, call law enforcement or the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission at 919-707-0030.

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Story summary

videoIt was a harrowing scene along Highway 17 in Brunswick County this morning. It was not a car accident that slowed traffic; instead it was wildlife officers trying to catch an alligator.

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