Island Critters:

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Are there alligators in the river? Occasionally, but not for long. They don't like salt water very much. Instead, they hang out on the barrier islands, where there is fresh water. There are estimated to be several thousand on Hilton Head, and while folks on Tybee rarely see them, little Tybee has quite a few.

Alligators are similar to crocodiles, except in that their snouts are broader and flatter. Also, the fourth tooth on each side of the lower jaw does not project outside the jaw when closed as in crocodiles. Alligators are predatory animals that spend most of their time in water. Their diet includes fish, frogs, snakes, turtles, birds and mammals (that includes your pet dog or cat). They can grow up to 20 feet long.

If you come face-to-face with an alligator, it is often said that you should run away in a rapid zig-zag motion, since alligators tend to follow the actions of their prey, and they cannot turn as quickly as they can run straight. You will also read that gators can run as fast as a horse for about 30 feet, but that they don't make turns well. Yet, herpetologists say that isn't true, since alligators tend to hide and lunge for their food, not race after it. Stay out of their zone and you will be just fine.

Want to see a picture of the alligator pond on Beach Hammock? Click here".

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