Alligator in surf surprises visitors at area beach

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OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — One family vacationing in Oak Island will head home with some unique memories. Tuesday there was a new “Jaws” in town but it may not be exactly what you are thinking.

At Oak Island it is normal to see sights like kids swimming, jellyfish and even sharks at times. But not everyone can say they have seen an alligator take a dip in the ocean.

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“The kids were so excited! They were like ‘mom, mom this is crazy,'” Vacationer, Kelly Edwards said.

Edwards’ family and friends come to Oak Island every summer from Charlotte but they say this vacation is one for the books. While soaking up the sun, they were joined by an unusual guest, a 3 to 4 foot alligator.

Family friend, Avery Worst says her dad saw it first.

“He was just wanting to take a jog around the beach. And then he thought that it was a bag or like a wheel that was in it. But then he got closer and closer. Then he saw it was a tail and something and like it was an alligator,” Worst said.

It was sight to see but one that scared Edwards daughter Mallie-Kate.

“My sister and friends had been playing out in the water that day and it could have been there at any time,” Mallie-Kate said.

It was a rare moment for the Edwards family but one the NC Wildlife Resources Commission says is very common.

“I wanted to make sure everyone was safe first of all, but second of all I mean we are making memories here,” Edwards said. “So I definitely wanted my kids to see it. It’s something we don’t see everyday. It’s something you don’t see anywhere except an aquarium. So we were just kinda taking it all in.”

After Edwards’ friend called for help, Oak Island Police rescued the little guy and moved it to a safe place. Police say this is the fourth call about gators near the ocean this year.

“I’m just happy that all my family is safe and that the alligator is safe. And that they got it in a better home and so it wouldn’t die or get hurt,” Mallie-Kate said.

A safe and memorable vacation and one the Edwards family says they will never forget.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission says they usually get reports of eight to ten alligators on the coast each year. They say the alligators come from the canals along the beach, usually looking for food or trying to avoid their primary predators like larger alligators.