Soggy conditions bring out the gators and snakes

      Cottonmouths are a common venomous snake found in the Lowcountry (Source: Dave MacQueen/WCIV)

      By Sonya

      CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- It's been a wet year across the Palmetto State. It's not even September yet and we are only five inches short of our annual rainfall total.

      All of the soggy weather has brought some critters out of their natural habitats and led to them showing up in some unusual places.

      We've seen a large alligator near the Dunes West Golf Course enjoying a fresh caught meal, another alligator on the beach at Isle of Palms, and another much smaller gator relaxing in a Sullivan's Island tidal pool.

      "Gators will handle salt water. They do more like brackish and fresh water but they will handle salt water," said Raymond Convington with the Nuisance Wildlife Removal. "It's not a problem. They can live in it if need be."

      But these gators do not get to stay for long. Removing them is all in a day's work for Raymond Covington.

      "Anything three to four foot, we can relocate," he said. "Anything six foot or larger, we have to destroy by state protocol."

      But the excessive rainfall has brought out more than just gators.

      "It's flooding a lot of the reptiles out and wildlife and that is why we are seeing more coming to properties, pools and so on," Covington said.

      The Canebrake Rattlesnake and the Cottonmouth are common venomous snakes in the area. The rat snake is not poisonous but is popping up in a lot of unwanted places.

      "Snakes sitting on driveways, garages because the yards are flooding and they are coming to higher land. They are coming on porches, driveways, even in swimming pools," Covington said.

      And when these reptiles come to higher ground, Covington gets the call and heads out to take care of it.

      If you do see one of these critters, it's important to keep a safe distance and call the local Department of Natural Resources.

      Last year, Covington said he received about 75 calls to remove reptiles. This year he has had about 100.

      He said he is always very careful when handling these animals and has never been bitten by a venomous snake.