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Tripod, the three-legged alligator

Having only three legs doesn’t seem to have stopped this 4.5′ American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) seen on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

“We tend to think of alligators as having no predators but man. But until they’re about 2 years old, especially young hatchlings, they are small and vulnerable enough to fall prey to a variety of creatures such as other alligators, raccoons, birds and bobcats,” stated a release from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “We don’t know for certain if this gator was born with only three legs, or if one was donated to the charity auction. Explore Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge!”

USFWS advises visitors to “USE YOUR MANNERS and BASIC COMMON SENSE! For the safety of yourself and your family, as well as the wildlife you are viewing, ALWAYS VIEW FROM A SAFE DISTANCE! If you see a change in the behavior of the wildlife (they move away, etc.), you are TOO CLOSE!”

USFWS also reminds that all traffic laws apply on refuge roads. Seat belts, car seats for children, etc. – whatever is required by the state on a public highway is required on the refuge.

For local conditions, review the information on refuge websites and/or call ahead. At this time, the Manteo Office for the Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Complex is staffed for emergency calls and general information at 252-473-1131, ext 224 or email alligator_river@fws.gov for information about all refuges in eastern North Carolina.

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