Garner man sticks to story about spotting an alligator at Lake Benson

Wake County News

GARNER, N.C. (WCN) — A Garner man said his eyes did not deceive him when he saw something unusual in the water at Lake Benson. Jim Schug said he saw an alligator at the park Saturday around noon.

His post on social media received more than 100 responses. Garner town officials reached out to state wildlife authorities about the matter.

“This is so shallow, the upper half of his body was completely out of the water,” Schug said. “You could see him from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, you could see all the scales, I could see his eyes, I could see his nostrils, so I knew what it was.”

Schug said he first saw motion in the water out of the corner of his eye, he said it was an alligator about 4 feet long in a swampy area. He said the alligator then swam off into the lake.

“My initial gut reaction, I actually felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up, and then I said what I said, which I can’t repeat, and then I just froze, and I looked at him and I just watched,” Schug said.

Schug said he called animal control when he got home. By the time it clicked to take a picture, Schug said the alligator was blocked by trees and a glare.

Alicia Davis, the state alligator biologist with North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said most alligator spottings are a beaver, otter, or a fish.

“We don’t have alligators in Wake County, so if there is an alligator there it was definitely released by a person,” Davis said.

She said this report is unconfirmed, but confirmed reports are due to someone illegally owning an alligator and releasing it, which happens about once or twice a year.

Schug said he’s not concerned and will continue to walk by the lake.

Davis said there is no need for people to be concerned even if there is an alligator that’s up to 4-feet long at the lake. She said if people see an alligator they should report it, and taking a picture really helps them investigate and confirm the sighting.

In September 2015, Garner officials posted warning signs around the lake about unconfirmed alligator sightings. Back then, there were four reported sightings of an alligator.

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