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ELIZABETH CITY, NC (AP) — A close encounter with a 7-foot alligator near the North Carolina-Virginia state line came as a shock to a family fishing on the Pasquotank River near South Mills.

A state wildlife resources agent said Wednesday the sighting indicates milder winters are enticing the massive reptiles farther north.

Laurie Duncan said she was fishing with her husband and 13-year-old daughter about five miles south of the state line Saturday when they noticed the alligator sunning itself on the riverbank.

Duncan says the reptile remained motionless for a while then slid into the water.

Wildlife Resources agent Norman Watts says alligator habitats have crept slowly up the coast as average annual temperatures have risen.

Watts said alligators typically do not display aggressive behavior against humans unless a female with babies is disturbed.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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