Increased wildlife sightings in residential and commercial areas in Wilmington

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) —As the weather gets warmer, state wildlife officials reminding you to be careful when outdoors.

There has been a rise in the number of snake, alligator, and bear sightings.

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North Carolina Wildlife Resources says one of the reasons is that many of these wild animals who were born this spring, are now starting to venture out, some being seen in downtown Wilmington.

“There’s been reports of bear in downtown, throughout the city of Wilmington. We’ve taken care of and removed several different nuisance alligators that were in the roadways,” said Clayton Ludwick, NC Wildlife Resources master officer.

One man said he is not surprised that bears have made their way into downtown.

“You get right passed the river and then there’s wildlife and actual old bears roaming, so to have a bear in downtown wouldn’t be that far-fetched,” said Dale Tigford, Wilmington native.

Snakes sightings are also becoming more common, and NC Wildlife resources is urging residents to keep a watchful eye when outdoors.

“We have 6 different poisonous snakes in north Carolina, be careful when you’re gardening and looking under shrubs and animals do like warmth so, if they can get out of the water they might go to pavement or some type of blacktop to warm up,” said Ludwick.

Wilmington native, Dale Tigford, shared a story of his own personal encounter with a snake.

“I’ve got one story where I’ve…it was the evening time, and I actually –walking on the boat ramp stepped on, –I thought a rope, went up my pants leg, come back down my pants leg and it scared me to death,” said Tigford. “Because they are here for sure, so be aware of your surroundings. I think that’s the best thing, because they’re not going nowhere.”

North Carolina Wildlife Resources also reminding people to not treat any wild animals you may encounter like pets, and to limit your interactions with them.