MOUNT PLEASANT -- An 8-foot alligator hissed and fussed as he marched back and forth along a privacy fence on the Isle of Palms connector.
"It was just looking for the honeys," said Ron Russell, a state-licensed alligator trapper. This is mating season for alligators, and Russell said he was not surprised to see a male alligator wandering around near the connector.
"There are plenty of places for them here," he said.
The amorous alligator kept a handful of Mount Pleasant police officers occupied Tuesday for more than an hour.
Police were called to the intersection of U.S. Highway 17 and the connector shortly after 5 p.m. for a report of an alligator in the parking lot of a restaurant, a police supervisor said. Officers immediately notified the state Department of Natural Resources.
But this was rush hour on a busy roadway.
It would take some time before help arrived. Officers took up positions on either side of the alligator and kept their distance. The alligator moved from the parking lot and began marching along a privacy fence that separates the back yards of the Sweetgrass subdivision from the highway.
The gator slowly lumbered along the fence, going about 500 yards before turning around and going back the other way. Each time the alligator changed course, police officers changed along with him.
Though there were police cars with flashing blue lights on the side of the road, traffic kept flowing on the busy highway. Some drivers slowed down to see what was happening. A few parked and got out to take a closer look.
Motorists and pedestrians who stopped were aiming their cell phones at the spectacle, capturing the moment in photos and videos. Joggers and skateboarders were directed to go around the area.
About 6:20 p.m., wildlife agent Jeff Day arrived. He looped a snare mounted on a long pole around the alligator's neck. The alligator began spinning around and round. "That's the death roll," Day said later. "Anytime the gator takes prey or gets trapped, it goes into a death roll."
Trappers will allow the alligator to roll again and again in order to wear it down, Day said.
A few minutes later, Russell arrived in his Gator Getter truck and assisted Day with capturing the alligator.
Within 10 minutes, the two men had lifted the gator into Russell's truck.
The alligator will be destroyed, Russell said.