A 9-foot-long alligator emerged from the surf off Hilton Head Island's Coligny Beach on Tuesday afternoon, shocking and delighting hundreds of beachgoers who stuck around to see the animal captured by local wranglers.
The gator was spotted by swimmers and lifeguards at about 1:15 p.m., forcing hundreds out of the water, said Billy Karijanian, director of operations for Critter Management Inc., the Hilton Head Island firm who trapped the animal.
"A gator turns up on a beach about once a month during the summer months," Karijanian said. "Of course, today (Tuesday) it was the busiest beach on the island."
Karijanian said it took two men, both from Critter Management, about two hours to corner the gator and snare it. The animal would not come close to shore, he said, because it was most likely scared of the hordes of people on the beach.
"He was dipping and moving and popping up 25 yards down the beach," Karijanian said.