11-foot alligator with strange device on head found at South Carolina resort

An 11-foot alligator in desperate need of rescue was found at a South Carolina golf resort with a device on its head that looked like a ball cap.

The strange discovery was made by the staff at Fripp Island Golf & Beach Resort and it wasn't easy for them to figure out what happened. The 3,000-acre island is about 85 miles south of Charleston.

“After speaking with them and reviewing the images they sent, it appeared that this alligator had somehow had a tomato cage taped over its head!” The University of Georgia's Coastal Ecology Lab reported in a March 25 press release.

“In situations like this, it is very tempting to intervene and help immediately by removing anything that is attached to the animal. That’s not always the best thing because the animal can often get free.”

It turns out this was not one of those cases.

The well-known alligator, known as King Arthur, was observed to see what happened next, including any changes in behavior.

As expected, the metal strips began to break apart within two days, the lab said.

“However, it was still hanging pretty tightly around his neck. We waited a few more days, but it seemed like he didn't make any further progress and other things started getting caught in the cage,” the lab reported.

“We were afraid that if he couldn't free himself he would get caught on something under the water and drown. … We decided human intervention was necessary.”

The lab sent a capture team to capture the alligator along with Colleen Goff, the resort's chief naturalist. It took several attempts, but the alligator was captured and the cage removed, the lab said.

King Arthur is now living “his best alligator life” again.

It is not known how long the cage was attached to his head, but it was noticed in the third week of March, the lab said.

“Our best guess is that the cage ended up in the water and was washed into a pipe and that as the alligator swam through the pipe, it also swam into the tomato cage,” the lab said.

“This is a great example of why it is so important to dispose of your waste properly. This is just one of many examples where an animal has experienced complications because waste was disposed of improperly.”

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Anna Harden

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