Two weeks ago, in the calm waters of Crowfield Lake, a crocodile floated on the surface of the water, revealing a terrifying secret.
Someone killed him, cut off Gator’s head, and removed the missing body part, perhaps as some kind of trophy.
The shocking discovery of decapitated creatures has sought an answer from South Carolina wildlife authorities, but so far the investigation has proven to be quite a mystery.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was able to hold a double whodunit in their hands as the two crocodiles were found dead in the same lake within a few months of each other.
SC Natural Resources spokesman David Lucas joins police officers in a popular private lake in the heart of the three Goose Creek districts, where nearly 12 feet of crocodile loses his head and gets angry. He said he was.
Authorities are seeking information from the general public that may help resolve the case, such as whether anyone has seen anything suspicious in the last few weeks.
But, according to Lucas, there is one thing that is certain. That is, what happened to the headless alligator was not a coincidence.
It can also violate state and federal law.
“With the head cut off, it’s very suspicious — very suspicious,” Lucas said. “At this point, I asked if there was any reason to suspect poaching or illegal crocodile hunting, but it certainly is.”
Crocodiles are prehistoric reptiles that haven’t changed much in appearance since the day they roamed the globe with dinosaurs. In South Carolina, these lizard-like creatures grow to over 13 feet in length and can live up to 60 years or older.
Once an endangered species of the federal government, crocodile populations have recovered in recent years. Although still an endangered species, South Carolina conducts public hunting every fall to control its number.
According to Lucas, these gators are specially tagged for hunting. However, the public hunting will begin on September 11.
Crowfield Plantation, a residential development in Goose Creek, including the immediate vicinity of the lake, also does not allow crocodile hunting at any time.
“At first glance, this is illegal,” Lucas said.
But the question remains. Who did it? Did they act alone? Was Gator killed in the lake, or was he killed somewhere and abandoned here?
Further complicating this case is that the headless gator was not the first gator death reported here in the last few months.
In early spring, another mature crocodile, a crocodile over 6 feet long, was found dead in the lake. It turned out to be completely intact. According to Lucas, there were no gunshot wounds, cuts or scars, and wildlife officials thought it was a strange but natural death at the time.
“It was an unusual situation. When gators die of natural causes, you rarely see them. They usually go out into the deep sea, and then fish eat them. Tweaking in the woods. I’ve never seen a dead crocodile floating like that, “he said.
According to Lucas, the deaths of the two crocodiles are unknown, but quite possible. He said they needed more information.
Gator getter consultant Ronnie Russell, who works with Crowfield Plantation to solve the crocodile problem, responded when the Homeowners Association asked for the help of the first gator.
When he found Gator, Russell said he had a hook in his throat. Hook was a sturdy steel leader, he said.
These hooks are most often used when the hunting fish has sharp teeth.
“And I tell you this: it’s not what you normally use to fish in the lake,” Russell said.
He has been working with Gator since he was 10 years old and his father has been running Gator Getters for at least 25 years. Russell said he was worried that a television show about crocodile hunting would make people think that they could solve the problem on their own for these beasts.
“Many people don’t really support them,” he said. “The biggest problem with alligators, especially in lowcountry, is that there is a big misunderstanding of alligators.”
If you have information about crocodile death, we recommend calling SC DNR’s anonymous poaching tips line (1-800-922-5431). Send tips online..