Watch: Hilton Head Plantation security removes thrashing alligator from home’s pool
A pair of rafters reported seeing an alligator on the Neuse River near Clayton on Thursday and were rescued after pulling themselves to shore by a tree branch.
The 22-year-old man and 13-year-old boy had tied two inflatable tubes together and launched from the Clayton River Walk, said a news release from town spokeswoman Stacy Beard. Shortly afterward, they say they spotted the large reptile.
They used the tree to pull themselves onto the north shore, where one of them called his mother, who then called 911. The boys then called 911 themselves, the release said.
A Clayton police officer spotted them on the shore opposite the Neuse River greenway, and a fire department rescue boat picked them up.
Neither was injured, and town officials could not confirm the alligator’s presence. The rafters had a life preserver tied to their tubes but they were not wearing any, which the town recommends.
Alligators occupy a coastal territory in North Carolina ranging as far west as Robeson County and as far north as Albemarle Sound, according to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Last September, the commission offered 20 permits to hunt them on the coast.
In 2017, a fishing couple caught a dead 10-foot alligator in the Neuse River near New Bern, according to N&O archives. In 2007, a 5-footer was captured alive in Johnston County near Micro. The county’s Animal Shelter gave it a heated room and a name: Oswald.